In 2009, Gehl Architects prepared a study entitled Public Space Public Life (2010) that considered how people use public spaces and streets in central Christchurch. This precedent study resulted in Christchurch City Council's adoption of A City for People Action Plan (2010), which includes 66 related actions based on the recommendations in the study.
Some of those actions were addressed by this project, which was delivered in two stages.
Stage 1 involved developing a methodology to measure existing Level of Service (LOS) for each signalised pedestrian crossing in the study area, allocating a LOS score to each signalised pedestrian crossing, and identifying tools for improving pedestrian LOS. There were 32 signalised intersections within the study area, equating to 110 signalised pedestrian crossings under consideration. The improvements considered for the project were restricted to changing traffic signal operations and adjusting signal hardware. We are not aware of a methodology measuring LOS for pedestrians at traffic signals that goes beyond delay. This is the new aspect stemming from our work. Several methods were investigated to improve the existing pedestrian LOS.
Testing of these methods indicated that the largest improvement to LOS would be gained through the reduction of the cycle time.
Stage 2 was a detailed analysis of every intersection considering pedestrian/vehicle conflict risk, crossing distance, delay, green time ratios, and the most appropriate changes. An existing and proposed LOS score was generated for all intersections. The effects of the proposals were modelled in Paramics.
With the proposed changes, the average LOS for pedestrian increases from LOS D to LOS C while the overall network performance for motorists remains fairly unchanged. A fantastic result!
The deliverables included a spreadsheet, modelling report, and project report.
The methodology is easily transferable to areas outside of the central city, and is applicable to other cities. Another major city has already expressed an interest in applying the methodology.