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Measuring what Matters: New Metrics for a Multimodal Future

Cities across North America have historically used narrow metrics, like vehicle traffic counts, to measure a given street’s capacity and performance. Now, cities are breaking that paradigm and are starting to use more effective and holistic measurements that capture the entirety of multi-modal activities taking place on urban streets, citywide.

Simply put, some modes are more efficient than others when utilized to their full capacity. Person throughput or metrics for economic and social activity, instead of vehicle throughput, helps cities see their streets’ full potential for mobility.

Hear from Seattle, whose mobility plan will measure mode share as a proxy for people-moving capacity; Portland, which has extensive methods for counting bicycling; New York City, which recently released a comprehensive Mobility Report; and San Francisco, which has replaced level-of-service analysis with a transportation sustainability program. Also, hear about NACTO’s Intercept Survey Toolkit, designed to help cities better measure and understand the detailed demographics and perceptions of people riding bikes, using bike share, or walking.