About the Pedestrian Portal

This portal is more than the interactive map. It’s the sidewalk inventory data, map portal and the analysis which could lead to building more sidewalks. DVRPC is undertaking this multilayered project with the goal to help communities build more sidewalks to the places we need to go! 

Over the next few months and years, this portal will include more analysis and more information about where the region’s pedestrian facility gaps are, priorities for where the most crucial gaps are, and how we can fill in those gaps so that our neighborhoods become more connected, which helps the region to become more connected. 

Click the “+” sign below to learn more about each topic.

DVRPC’s Regional Sidewalk Inventory project created a new dataset for understanding, evaluating, and prioritizing pedestrian accessibility in Greater Philadelphia. The Pedestrian Portal is intended to make that data easily available and useful for local planners, officials, and members of the public to inform and inspire pedestrian improvements. The portal allows for easy maintenance and local ground truthing of the regional sidewalk inventory data, and provides a space for collaboration between local, county, and regional planning partners working on pedestrian improvements. 

In 2017 DVRPC hired a consultant to develop a pedestrian facilities network (previously referred to as the “sidewalk inventory”) for the Greater Philadelphia region. This GIS dataset inventories the presence of sidewalks, as well as locations where curb ramps and crosswalks are or should be. This inventory allows DVRPC and its planning partners to do things like map and measure the mileage and connectivity of sidewalks in the region or a local area, identify gaps in sidewalk infrastructure, set grounded targets for sidewalk network buildout, and can serve as a starting point for the development of priorities to address sidewalk gaps in the most appropriate places. 

This GIS data is available through our easy-to-use online map, accessible here, or in DVRPC’s GIS Data Portal, accessible here.

DVRPC hired a consultant to create a seamless, standardized GIS dataset of the sidewalks in the region, along with crosswalks and curb ramps. Due to the large scale of this undertaking and available resources, the dataset has been developed in phases. The GIS network was created using heads-up digitizing (tracing features in GIS), utilizing 2017 aerial imagery in our suburban southeastern PA counties, and 2015 aerial imagery in our NJ counties. The data in Philadelphia was developed using high resolution 2018 imagery, also referencing existing datasets.  

Three pedestrian facility feature types were collected for this project: sidewalks, crosswalks, and curb ramps.

The sidewalks and crosswalks are represented as lines in the network and depict where features existed the year of the location’s aerial imagery. Curb ramps are represented as points in the network and indicate where a ramp is present or should be. None of the features in the network have been verified in the field.

Because the features have not been field-verified, and because our collection method used older aerial imagery, DVRPC is seeking your help in improving and maintaining our network, using updated aerial imagery and Google StreetView tools available in our Edit webmap.

Detailed methodology for the pedestrian facility network, authored by Century Engineering (our consultant on this project) is available here.

Explore! Want to explore pedestrian facilities in your neighborhood? Click “Explore” to view sidewalks, crosswalks, and curb ramps on an interactive map. Click on the features to view its attributes.

Edit! Help us improve our inventory and keep it up to date by clicking on “Edit.” Once you have registered as an editor by creating an account, you can log in to edit and add features to our regions inventory. If your edits are approved by DVRPC staff, they will be incorporated into our official dataset on a monthly basis.

Plan! Are you involved in land use or transportation projects in the DVRPC region? Click “Plan” and register as a planner in the Portal. Once you are verified by a DVRPC staff member, you’ll have access to additional tools to sketch projects and share them with other verified planners.

The sidewalk inventory data is based on previous years’ imagery. So as you explore the data, you may find that the data looks “wrong” in places where facility improvements have been made in recent years. New sidewalks, crosswalks, and curb ramps have been constructed since the data was created. Additionally, this dataset has not been field-verified. Features such as curb ramps were difficult to identify using aerial imagery.

To improve and maintain the pedestrian facilities inventory, DVRPC hired a consultant to develop online mapping tools that allows editors to modify the GIS data using the “Edit” component of the Pedestrian Portal.

Additionally, the “Plan” component of the Pedestrian Portal allows for the collaboration between local, regional, and state planning partners by providing a platform to share their pedestrian facility priorities. Only DVRPC-verified users have access to this portion of the site.

Every trip includes a pedestrian trip, including trips by car, which begin and end on foot. A walkable built environment is the foundation of good community planning. As a result, pedestrian planning and the consideration of pedestrian needs are integral elements of nearly all of DVRPC’s planning activities. To learn more about DVRPC’s many pedestrian planning and counting activities, visit our Pedestrian Planning page www.dvrpc.org/Transportation/Pedestrian.

The Pedestrian Portal presents countless new opportunities to evaluate pedestrian accessibility in the Greater Philadelphia region and to plan for the future. Citizens, officials, and planners can, for the first time, understand pedestrian safety and accessibility at a regional level. To see how DVRPC staff are beginning to analyze the region’s pedestrian network, visit our Analysis page (coming soon).

In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, sidewalk construction and maintenance are typically the responsibility of individual property owners along a road frontage. New sidewalks are often added to the network through the local land development approval process, or through competitive grant funding programs (see the Resources tab for details on common funding sources).

As our regional sidewalk inventory dataset and connectivity/gap analysis shows, this has resulted in a considerable regional pedestrian network, but one with critical local gaps that often make pedestrian accessibility, especially for those with mobility challenges, much more circuitous than street network access by car. This unequal access across modes has negative impacts on community safety, health, and overall well being, with these impacts often disproportionately burdening communities of concern.

Using our sidewalk inventory, pedestrian portal, and initial gaps analysis work as a starting point, DVRPC is working to develop new technical assistance programs to support the development of more pedestrian facilities to close important local gaps, leveraging existing discretionary funding programs and pursuing new opportunities. 

Want to help us develop and refine these new approaches? Contact Greg Krykewycz (gkrykewycz@dvrpc.org), Associate Director of Multimodal Planning, to begin a conversation.