PERS or pedestrian module
Co-developed in partnership with Transport for London, Pedestrian Environment Review System (PERS) is a dynamic software application to assess the quality of any pedestrian environment. PERS can assist in the identification of opportunities to improve pedestrian walking routes and public spaces, whilst supporting the effective targeting of resources.
There is little defined best practice in the evaluation of pedestrian provision: how to prioritise areas for improvement; or what on-street provision is most appropriate and effective. With a standard and consistent methodology PERS is set to change all that. It will help in the promotion of walking as a viable transport option, especially in terms of value to health, sustainability, local economic viability and reduction of car use.
PERS creates a systematic framework so that pedestrian provision can be assessed, reviewed and audited.
Why use PERS?
- Identify deficiencies in levels of service and provision of suitable pedestrian support.
- Systematically assess pedestrian needs and prioritise improvements.
- Strengthen objectivity in the decision making process.
- Produce focussed and transparent project proposals based on a clear and consistent evaluation framework.
How does PERS work?
PERS is a powerful software tool that is flexible enough to help quickly capture and structure traditional pedestrian issues such as town centre access, safe routes to school and the establishment of home zones. Individual assessment of each link in the pedestrian route and crossing acts to create a comprehensive environment review and includes ‘rating’ a variety of criteria on a seven-point scale. This allows for positive and negative deviations and the flexibility to assess the perceived importance of individual elements. The type of pedestrian environment to be reviewed defines each specific link, so a town centre may be categorised into several links for walkers as the environment and surroundings change. The pedestrian environment is then assessed using a set of parameters.
These parameters include the surface quality, lighting, conflict with traffic, pedestrian facilities, obstructions, cleaning and drainage. Crossings are assessed in terms of crossing type, deviation from the desired route, refuge quality etc. Surveys of a particular route also cover additional assessment criteria such as rest points, public spaces and permeability and other factors such as road safety. PERS also includes assessment frameworks for public transport waiting areas such as bus stops and taxi ranks, public spaces and interchange spaces.
All these aspects are combined by PERS to provide a comprehensive, quantitative assessment of the pedestrian environment and its key elements. The entire analysis enables objective comparisons of the level of service for pedestrians along different routes and for different public spaces, so that effective strategic decision making and targeting of investment at a town and borough level can be made towards a best value approach. PERS is not just an appraisal tool, it provides a graphical output suitable for public consultation.
PERS is adaptable and flexible to meet the needs of pedestrian situations providing high rates of return. For example, in reviewing the pedestrian environment around a school, assessment areas such as safety can be given a greater weighting in order to place increased emphasis on the importance of this factor on a walking journey to school. Similarly, in assessing a home zone, the headings can be appropriately adapted to be of relevance to this sort of walking environment.
The TRL streetaudit approach consists of three integrated components:
- A comprehensive handbook for users giving guidance on the physical review.
- Data collection sheets for use on-site.
- Specially designed and developed software to allow for quick analysis and comparison of routes and spaces.
With PERS, reviews are quick to conduct and present a cost-effective method for assessment of pedestrian provision with information that is consistent, easily comparable and clearly presented. PERS from TRL is available now and has been used to assess over 30% of Transport for London's Road Network (TLRN).
TRL wish to acknowledge the support and contribution of the London Borough of Bromley and Transport for London in developing and refining PERS.
Further Information & Case Studies