Pedestrian Bridge Design: Why it Matters

Pedestrian Bridge Design

You may not realize it, but pedestrian bridges are everywhere. Although we take them for granted, eye-catching pedestrian bridge design is vital. Pedestrian bridges across the world are known to be aesthetically-creative and innovative in bridge design.

People crossing a space, body of water, or geographical feature on foot or bike use pedestrian bridges without a motor vehicle. These bridges and their structures are highly visible to both tourists and citizens where the bridge is located. Thus, functionality and aesthetics are a crucial part of pedestrian bridge construction.

We’ve built pedestrian bridges of all sizes all over the world. This post will discuss U.S. Bridge’s pedestrian bridge design process and why it’s essential for bridge construction.

Considerations for Pedestrian Bridge Design

Pedestrian bridge design consists of a combination of structural engineering and architectural design. With each bridge, there is a new opportunity to design something beautiful. However, most importantly, these pedestrian bridges must be functional and long-lasting to avoid devastating disasters.

While these are not all of the considerations for bridge design, below is a brief summary.

Span Dimensions

As with any bridge, the layout begins with the width and length dimensions of the pedestrian bridge. This includes abutment constraints, flood marks, and other investigatory measures in the initial dimensions. Also for consideration is the width — how wide is the trail or sidewalk, and how much traffic will the bridge handle?

Deck Type

Each bridge serves a different purpose, and the same goes for decks. The selection of deck type will impact the dead load of the structure, maintenance, and longevity of the bridge. U.S. Bridge has several bridge decking options for our bridge construction.


Railing is a critical part of your pedestrian bridge aesthetics. Not only does it affect the dimensions and details of your pedestrian bridge, but it will impact the entire look. Additionally, ornamental steel railings for pedestrian bridges can be a great look. At U.S. Bridge, we take every bridge design individually to highlight the features of the construction.

Seneca Bridge

Bridge Arch

To add to the visual appeal and increase the clearance under the bridge, U.S. Bridge can add a bridge arch, or a camber in a pre-fabricated bridge. Additionally, bridge arches are useful in offsetting dead loads. Bridge arches can especially be useful for pedestrian bridges that may go over a roadway. As an example, our Seneca Bridge design uses a top chord arch.

Abutment Structure

Substructure is also crucial for pedestrian bridge design, and it never goes overlooked. Performing a geotechnical evaluation to determine soil types and strength parameters is an early step that will inform the rest of the process. Working with our teams of engineers and designers, the abutment structure for a long-lasting and safe bridge can be determined.

Long-Lasting Pedestrian Bridges

All of our constructions are built with American-made steel, certified by the American Institute of Steel Construction. This not only lowers up-front construction costs compared to other materials, but it also lasts longer. Our steel is made to sustain years of heavy use and weathering and requires less maintenance than other materials.

Additionally, steel is lightweight, making to easier to construct on-site with less-costly equipment. This is a big benefit if you are choosing accelerated bridge construction.

Keeping Pedestrians Safe

While pedestrian bridges are great in rural settings for trails, many are being used to keep pedestrian safe from traffic on roads. In developed areas with heavy traffic, building a pedestrian bridge rather than a crosswalk can keep pedestrians safe for years to come. In turn, these bridges can be a eye-catching piece of infrastructure for hospitals, universities, or other businesses with large campuses.

With beautiful design, a pedestrian bridge can be a notable part of your community for decades to come.

Let’s Build Together

U.S. Bridge has been engineering and manufacturing steel pedestrian bridges for decades. Our stunning pedestrian bridge designs are in use through parks, trails, and private properties throughout the world. If you would like more information about U.S. Bridge and what we can do for your pedestrian bridge design, please contact us today.