Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Civil Engineering

Major Professor

Christopher R. Cherry

Committee Members

Lee D. Han, Shashi Nambisan


The success of a city’s urban transit system relies on the efficacy of its pedestrian infrastructure. A functional and access-oriented pedestrian network translates into safer pedestrian travel, increased demand in transit ridership, increases in commerce patronage, and reduced motorized travel (i.e., less congestion, and less vehicle emissions). Prioritization and allocation of sidewalk construction improvements are not always done in conjunction with transit service provisions. As a result, potential destinations are left inaccessible to pedestrians using the transit system. This study is motivated by concurrent research involving sidewalk improvement prioritization methods, within the scope of home-based work pedestrian transit trips. This study focuses on connecting transit to nonresidential origins and destinations. The main methodological approach developed relied on a gravity-based modeling framework. The method was applied to the City of Knoxville and the Knoxville Area Transit system. Land use, transit network configuration, and road network data for Knoxville and Knox County were used to estimate walking paths from transit stops to nonresidential destinations. These walking segments were ranked per a gravity-based potential attraction measure, and were compared to the existing sidewalk infrastructure in order to identify segments of network improvement opportunities. This study presents a methodology that can be used by transportation planners and decision makers for sidewalk improvement prioritization. Identifying key walking segments is an essential preliminary step to developing a pedestrian infrastructure that can effectively support a transit system, thus boosting transit ridership, and improving safety and access for riders.

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