About the research
Pedestrian assets are vital components of urban infrastructure systems, as they provide residents with safe access and active mobility. Like any other transportation asset, these are vulnerable to aging, severe weather, and inadequate construction practices that may lead to rapid deterioration. Generally, pedestrian assets are ill–conceived as low–risk assets and so, many deteriorated assets go untreated or treated inadequately, resulting in unsatisfactory service levels and maintenance backlogs. As such, pedestrian networks require new and more appropriate approaches for condition assessment to guide budget allocation. Under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is obligated to keep an inventory of pedestrian assets, including sidewalks and curb ramps. MnDOT reports on the compliance of assets each year. Condition rating is one measure of compliance. Condition deterioration of pedestrian assets is not well understood or documented. Understanding how, why, and at what rate pedestrian assets deteriorate will significantly improve MnDOT’s ability to forecast funding needs and will improve project scoping and delivery. Compared to the major transportation assets such as pavements or bridges, pedestrian asset management is still at its early stage. While inventory and condition data have provided a solid foundation, developing performance measures and deterioration models is essential for reliable and informed decision-making. In addition, this project will investigate and document how construction materials, design, and maintenance impact asset deterioration. Deterioration models or assessment frameworks can help determine funding needs and impact asset design and maintenance.