Transferability & forecasting of the Pedestrian Index Environment (PIE) for modeling applications

Kelly Clifton, Portland State University


There have been important advances in non-motorized planning tools in recent years, including the development of the MoPeD pedestrian demand model (Clifton et al., 2013, 2015). This tool and others are increasingly requested by governments and agencies seeking to increase walking activity and create more walkable places. To date, the MoPeD tool has been piloted with success in the Portland region using data unique to Metro, the metropolitan planning organization. However, there is increasing interest from planning agencies within and outside of Portland and Oregon (e.g.: City of Tigard, OR; Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities, MN; San Francisco Public Health Department, CA) about adapting the pedestrian modeling tools for use in their own jurisdictions. Local governments desire to apply these tools for a variety of planning and forecasting purposes, not only for regional demand modeling. Unfortunately, other regions often do not have uniform access to the same kinds of pedestrian environment data as Metro, particularly at such a fine-grained scale. 

Important challenges remain in model development that must be overcome if these tools are to achieve widespread application. Among the most critical needs are the standardization and forecasting of model inputs, particularly measures of the built environment. In this next phase of our pedestrian modeling work (see Clifton et al., 2013, 2015), we propose focusing on making our measures, models, and methods more transferable to other locations. Specifically, we will re-evaluate, compare and test our pedestrian index of the environment (PIE) measure using data resources more commonly available to planning agencies across the country. Next, we will re-estimate our pedestrian trip generation and destination choice models using this new PIE variable. The updated MoPeD will then be ready for further validation in Portland and testing in other regions (Twin Cities) and contexts (suburban Tigard). This process will also consider how PIE may be forecast to reflect future planning scenarios. These tasks will balance data availability, scale, computational capacity, and behavioral realism.

This proposed project continues our team’s efforts to advance pedestrian demand modeling tools available for planning analysis and forecasting. In the past 5 years, we have completed 2 projects funded by NITC/OTREC (in partnership with Metro) to improve the representation of pedestrians in travel demand models. As a result of these projects, we have created a framework model of pedestrian demand (MoPeD) that integrates into trip-based regional models (Clifton et al., in press), estimated models for pedestrian trip generation (Clifton et al., 2013) and destination choice (Clifton et al., 2015), and developed a pedestrian index of the environment (PIE) measure (Singleton et al., 2014). This proposed work program represents the next logical step in the MoPeD’s enhancement and is critical to enabling its utility beyond the Portland region. The project team remains the same, continuing an 11-year collaboration on pedestrian modeling between Dr. Kelly Clifton (PI) and Dr. Robert Schneider. 

Project Details

Project Type:
Project Status:
In Progress
End Date:
March 31,2018
UTC Grant Cycle:
Natl Round 3
UTC Funding:

Other Products

  • An exploration of the inter- and intra-regional relationships between the built environment and walking (PRESENTATION)
  • Density Differences: Exploring Built Environment Relationships with Walking Between and Within Metropolitan (PRESENTATION)
  • Transferring the pedestrian index of the environment: models and measures across and within regions (PRESENTATION)
  • Walk don't run (PRESENTATION)
  • Analyzing the relationship of walking and the built environment (PRESENTATION)
  • Assessing the transferability of the Pedestrian Index of the Environment (PIE) walkability measure for pedestrian modeling (PRESENTATION)