Montgomery County has an interactive tool called the Pedestrian Plan that helps let individuals know where the most comfortable walking areas are in the county.
When people walk along sidewalks, trails and roadways, sometimes it’s comfortable. Sometimes it’s not. A quiet residential street with a 25-mile-per-hour speed limit, very little traffic, and sidewalks separated from the road by trees is a comfortable walking environment for most people. But a six-lane, 40 mile-per-hour suburban highway with narrow sidewalks and no buffer between the sidewalks and street is very uncomfortable to walk along. As a result, fewer people are likely to walk on the latter, and for those who must, the experience is less safe or comfortable than it could be if the street was designed differently.
Pedestrian Level of Comfort (PLOC) was developed by the Montgomery County Planning Department together with Toole Design Group to quantify how comfortable people feel when they walk in certain traffic conditions. The PLOC analysis assigns a comfort level to pathways and crossings based on factors such as traffic speed, number of lanes, and whether there is a buffer between a pathway and the street. When a street receives a relatively poor score, it is a sign that a change is needed to make it a place where more people will feel comfortable walking.
Also available on the web page are a glossary of terms to ensure visitor’s understanding and the ability to watch clips from certain street segments and share feedback.