Construction of Pedestrian Infrastructure along Transit Corridors


The availability and quality of pedestrian infrastructure play key roles in enabling access to transit. Many transit operators face challenges in facilitating this access, however, because they lack land use authority and encounter other institutional and programmatic impediments to effecting changes in the pedestrian environment. This report identifies the barriers to pedestrian access to transit in suburban communities located in the Pace Suburban Bus service area in northeastern Illinois and suggests potential solutions to overcome these barriers. The research team led several activities to collect data, including: conducting an academic literature review; reviewing pedestrian plans, policies, and programs in the region; surveying and interviewing key stakeholders; reviewing pedestrian funding sources; surveying and conducting case studies of peer transit agencies; conducting physical audits of pedestrian infrastructure; and interviewing residents of six municipalities about their transit access experiences. Lack of adequate funding, difficulties planning across jurisdictional boundaries, and conflicts in transportation priorities are major impediments to building pedestrian infrastructure. While planners and decision-makers tend to value pedestrian planning, challenges such as funding constraints and the need to retrofit suburban infrastructure are key barriers to implementation. Peer transit agencies face similar barriers to Pace and use strategies such as plan and policy development, diverse funding opportunities, and collaborative partnerships with stakeholder agencies and advocacy groups to overcome these barriers. Transit riders generally reported positive experiences with pedestrian access to transit in their communities. Many locations had robust infrastructure, but common deficiencies included poor sidewalk connectivity, incomplete crossings, lack of lighting and transit shelters, and deficiencies in Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) infrastructure. A suite of policy recommendations for Pace and other partners that focus on planning, policy, funding, interagency coordination, education and training, infrastructure prioritization, and transit amenities address the full range of physical and institutional barriers identified in the research.

Jesus M. Barajas
Jesus M. Barajas
Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Policy