VaHi Resident Develops Innovative Tool for Assessing Sidewalks

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By: Peggy Berg, VHCA Safety/Sidewalks Committee

Dr. Randy Guensler and his "Sidewalker"

Did you know that Atlanta, like many cities, doesn’t have an inventory of its sidewalks? We don’t know how many miles of sidewalks we have, where they are or aren’t, or where repairs are needed. This makes planning for pedestrian access, ADA compliance, and efficient use of sidewalk funds very difficult.

Dr. Randall Guensler, Professor in the Transportation Systems Engineering Group at Georgia Tech, ( has developed an innovative new approach to assessing the condition of our sidewalks. Dr. Guensler, a Virginia-Highland resident, fitted a tablet device onto a wheelchair and programmed the rolling contraption to take video, measure cracks and bumps, and upload latitude and longitude coordinates to a mapping system. Volunteers can quickly be trained to maneuver the wheelchairs. That’s right…Atlanta is about to have a cost effective way to collect information on our sidewalks, develop an inventory, and assess sidewalk conditions.

Dr. Guensler will demonstrate his “Sidewalker” at this month’s VHCA board meeting (Monday Feb. 11, 7 PM, Ponce library). Pedestrians, potential volunteers and interested parties are welcome.

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