By focusing on schools, the City hopes to prioritize improvements that benefit students, children, and families when walking to and from school, as well as increase resident access to the parks, community centers, and libraries, often located in close proximity to schools.

The City of Memphis’ pedestrian network includes over 3,400 miles of existing sidewalks. As the City’s public infrastructure has aged, the growing need for repair and maintenance of this network has significantly outpaced the maintenance completed by property owners and the City of Memphis. In the spring of 2013, the City of Memphis initiated a planning process to respond to these challenges and hired a team of consultants led by Alta Planning + Design.

Together, Alta and the City fine-tuned an analytical framework to meet two main objectives:

1) Developing a transparent, data-driven prioritization methodology that identifies sidewalk and pedestrian crossing projects serving public schools, and

2) crafting an implementation strategy capable of delivering high-priority, short-term projects.

The key input to this framework is a methodology scoring every single roadway and intersection for pedestrian suitability, overlaying the results with pedestrian demand, and identifying projects to address unsuitable segments or intersections located where demand is high. Alta conducted an in-depth crash analysis of the entire roadway network between 2007 and 2011. Notable in the takeaways from this analysis were that youth (aged 10-19) were over-represented in the crash data. By analyzing trends from this data, Alta created an intersection improvement prioritization with high-crash locations identified.  Equity scores for were used in this planning process during project development and prioritization.