Monitoring pedestrian activity is an important process that should be used to understand if interventions are working for pedestrians, track progress towards goals, and identify trends in travel patterns for planning purposes. This section explains why it is important to monitor pedestrian activity. Information on where, when and how to collect data on pedestrian activity is described in more detail in the Measuring pedestrian activity section.

PNG: Measuring pedestrian activity

Evaluate functionality

Observing how pedestrians move through and spend time in a space post-implementation helps to understand whether the intervention is meeting the needs of pedestrians and informs adaptations to the infrastructure. For example signal timing could be modified, seating or street furniture could be relocated, or wayfinding changed to address issues identified.

Ongoing monitoring of the quality of paths, crossings and spaces that pedestrians use is critical to ensure the walkability and functionality of the space does not degrade over time. There are a range of methods that can be used to assess the walkability of an area or route as described in the Measuring walkability section.

PNG: Measuring walkability

Further guidance on tools and techniques for monitoring walking and cycling can be found at this Waka Kotahi webinar recording.

Monitoring walking and cycling webinar

Track progress

At the onset of a project or programme of work it is important to establish strategic objectives, define indicators of success, and develop a plan for collecting and reporting data to track progress towards meeting the strategic objectives and monitoring the outcomes of the project. This information is typically documented in a monitoring plan. Monitoring plans can be used for short-term projects or large scale programmes.

The Auckland Transport Active Modes quarterly snapshot is a good example of a large scale ongoing monitoring and reporting programme. The quarterly snapshot provides an overview of what is being done to make it easier and safer for people to walk, ride a bike, or make use of micro-mobility options in Auckland. It also includes a summary of projects that have recently been completed, community initiatives, and a look at what’s coming up in the following quarter. There is also an annual survey that captures insights into active modes perceptions and uptake.

Auckland Transport Active Modes Monitoring(external link)

Further guidance on developing appropriate indicators for pedestrians is available in the Planning methods section.

PNG: Planning processes

Identify trends

Identifying trends in pedestrian activity helps to inform traffic operations and future investment decisions. For example, by knowing when the morning peak for pedestrian activity is, you can schedule activities that conflict with the flow of pedestrians (eg deliveries) outside of those peak hours.

In addition, trend analysis can be used as an evidence base for demand/propensity modelling/forecasting. For example, understanding the impact that completing a gap in the pedestrian network has on the number of people who choose to walk can help make the case for future projects of a similar nature.