Creating a Pedestrian Facility Inventory

New Castle County, Delaware, and Cecil County, Maryland

Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC)


There were no complete inventories of pedestrian and bicycle facilities in New Castle County, Delaware, and Cecil County, Maryland before 2002.


WILMAPCO is the Metropolitan Planning Organization for New Castle County, Delaware, and Cecil County, Maryland. In 2002 WILMAPCO partnered with Delaware Department of Transportation, both county governments, and the Maryland State Highway Administration to create a comprehensive database of pedestrian and bicycle facilities in the area.


WILMAPCO identified all pedestrian facilities using high resolution aerial photographs. Analysts reviewed the maps and county development information to create a dataset that tracked the length of sidewalks, the material, and the approximate year the facility was built. The dataset was then put to various analytical uses including:

  • Analyzing existing pedestrian coverage and connectivity in the region
  • Establishing maintenance schedules and cost analyses for transportation agencies
  • Helping analyze congestion mitigation strategies
  • Developing future transportation projects based on needs assessment


WILMAPCO developed a Sidewalk Inventory to provide various agencies with an up-to-date inventory of the non-motorized facilities in the region. The Sidewalk Inventory was created using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology by digitizing the sidewalks using 2002 Delaware State Orthophotos. The dataset shows that the WILMAPCO area has 1,207.65 miles of sidewalk and other pedestrian facilities, made up of 11,841 different segments.

The project itself cost WILMAPCO very little. The greatest cost of creating the Inventory, approximately $5 million for the aerial photographs, was paid for by the Delaware DOT as a part of a state initiative. WILMAPCO paid $400 for a new computer hard drive to store the data, and the remaining expense was staff time to compile the data.

Local civic organizations have expressed interest in using the Sidewalk Inventory to identify where new sidewalks are needed to create a more complete network of pedestrian facilities. WILMAPCO can also use the Sidewalk Inventory to track the installation of new facilities and the impact the new facilities have on reducing congestion.


Alison Burris
WILMAPCO Outreach Manager
850 Library Ave., Suite 100
Newark, DE 19711
(302) 737-3205

Filed in: Plans and Policies, Case Studies

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