Sidewalk Asset Management – Investigation into the Financial Management of and Overlooked Transportation Asset

Sidewalk Asset Management – Investigation into the Financial Management of and Overlooked Transportation Asset

Americans walk less per day and are more likely to suffer from obesity than people from many other countries. By creating community environments that stimulate physical activity, such as walking, the prevalence of chronic illnesses and premature death may be reduced, and perhaps replaced with healthy aging and improved mental health. Pedestrian trips also help relieve vehicle congestion and promote local economic development. Proper management of sidewalks as assets preserves these essential connections for community members, but many cities are failing to meet the demand for repair and access. Sidewalks near residences, centers of employment, or schools may be in a state of disrepair, unsafe, or simply missing. Large backlogs of necessary sidewalk projects stymie decision-makers and rarely see an adequate influx of investment. Meanwhile, cities continue to grow and age, generating more opportunities for barriers to walking to develop when asset management practices are not keeping pace. The proposed research examines the financial state of the practice for sidewalk asset management in the United States. Next, it will analyze current operations in Atlanta, GA to estimate a total cost of ownership for pedestrian infrastructure. Finally, it will offer alternate funding scenarios that may provide greater overall value or cost reduction at a macroeconomic level. Economic, social, and legal costs will be considered. Analysis of these practices will provide necessary insight for cities that are failing to make meaningful progress towards implementation of an ADA Transition Plan or general sidewalk repair plan.

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