Friday, September 13, 2013
1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Please stand by for realtime captions.
Ladies and gentlemen thank you for standing by. The conference will begin momentarily.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the guidance on bicycle and pedestrian facility design flexibility conference call. At this time all participants are in a listen only mode. Later, we will conduct a question and answer session and instructions will be given at that time. If you should require assistance during the call, please press star then 0. I'd like to turn the conference over to your host, Miss Shana Baker. Please go ahead.
Good morning and thank very much or I should say good afternoon everyone, my name is Shana Baker. I am the Livability Team lead in the Office of Human Environment. We want to say thank you for joining us for this webinar. The topic of today's webinar, just to make sure everyone has tuned into the right webinar, we are discussing FHWA's Bicycle and Pedestrian Design Guidance. This is a national webinar, and we have our stakeholders on the line with us. Before we get started, and actually get into the webinar I would like to introduce who we have on the line with us. We have many FHWA staff and some stakeholders that are with us.
Gabe Rousseau, Office of Safety; Kevin Dunn, Office of Operations; Christopher Douwes, Office of Human Environment; Dan Goodman Office of Human Environment. We also delighted to have Linda Bailey with NACTO; Jim McDonnell from AASHTO; and we are expecting Mr. Phil Caruso from ITE on the call. These representatives have been very gracious to join us today and are working with us and getting us the resources that we needed and coordinating the information we will be sharing with you. They will be available to answer questions and participate in the discussion after the presentation. We wanted to share a little information with you, just about the drivers behind the memorandum. Just so you all are aware FHWA approved the memorandum. The memorandum expresses our support for taking a flexible approach to bicycle and pedestrian facility design.
There were many drivers behind this memorandum and we thought it was very necessary for FHWA to come out and to include this information. One of the main reasons, as you can see listed on the PowerPoint presentation, is basically direction of the Secretary, former Secretary Ray LaHood, and we are continuing the direction with our new Secretary, as well. We have also noted there has been an increasing emphasis on safety for all modes in particular we notice bicycle and pedestrian trends are increasing and the amount of money we have been spending on bicycle and pedestrian activities are increasing as well. We also notice there has been a major public demand for multimodal design and planning.
So, what we hope to do through issuing this memo is showing our support for taking a flexible approach again to bicycle and pedestrian facility design. We mailed out several resources with this memorandum to our division offices. It was a joint memo from various Associate Administrators within FHWA, the Associate Administrator of Safety; Operations; Infrastructure; and Planning, Environment and Realty. We sent this to division administrators and directors of field services. In addition to the memo, posted on FHWA bicycle and pedestrian website, we sent several resources. We sent out AASHTO's Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, ITE's Walkable Urban Thoroughfares document and we also sent out NACTO's Urban Bikeway Design Guide. We wanted to make sure that our division offices have these on hand and are able to use the information with their local stakeholders as well. In addition, when you pull up the memorandum, you will also see that we did include two case studies to show people how these various designs can take place. With that we wanted to give you a quick overview of what was in the memorandum and just so you know what we are going to talk about. We will also review quickly each of the resources I mentioned. We will have a quick discussion on the working group activities and we would like to leave a sufficient amount of time to be able to take questions and give you answers, and to have a discussion at the end of the webinar. With that we will transition into reviewing some of the highlighted resources and I will turn it over to Brooke Struve.
Hello I am with FHWA's Resource Center. And just to start out, I wanted to mention FHWA has a long-standing relationship with the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials. FHWA and AASHTO work together to develop policies and standards for the development of transportation facilities.
One of AASHTO's Hallmark publications is A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets, commonly referred to as the Green Book. The green book is widely used by state and local agencies I wanted to take a moment for a few reminders about applicability and flexibility of the green book. The green book is FHWA standard for the NHS, the National Highway System, but only for the NHS. Any other state or highway is governed by the standards that are adopted by each state and local agency. The Green Book emphasizes the needs of all users, not just vehicles. It talks about how to design but not necessarily what to design. With the adoption of MAP-21 one of the questions I heard more than once was, with the enhanced national highway system, would agencies have to take out bike trails or pedestrian walkways that they had as part of those roadways, which is absolutely contrary to our position. We want those to be included. The Green Book also has inherent flexibility. The criteria for design values most generally contain a range of values that may be selected from. In addition to that, there's a lot of information in the narrative within the book that talks about making those decisions and balancing the needs of all users.
Finally, if the green book does not have sufficient flexibility for a certain condition, FHWA has a defined exception process where an exception from the standards may be documented and approved. While the Green Book emphasizes flexibility for all users, it doesn't necessarily contain all of the detail that people might be looking for when it comes to specific design applications for pedestrians and bicyclists on our roadways. But it does refer to a number of AASHTO's publications which I will turn it over for our next speaker to talk about. I wanted to mention a few quotes from the Green Book that emphasize the flexibility and consideration of all users and this is one quote. "Emphasis is placed on the joint use of transportation corridors by pedestrians, cyclist and public transit vehicles. Designers should recognize the implications of sharing transportation corridors and are encouraged to consider not only vehicular movement but also movement of people, distribution of goods and provision of essential services. A more comprehensive transportation program is thereby emphasized." Here is the final quote: "For urban arterials other than freeways and expressways: the Green Book says that "mobility is often balanced against the need to provide direct access as well as the need to accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users." The Green Book also references, for more information, this AASHTO publication which I will now turn over to next speaker.
Thanks Brooke, my name is Dan Goodman I want to say a few things about the AASHTO Pedestrian Guide and AASHTO Bike Guide. And I want to start off by talking about the bike guide and a lot of what I am going to talk about sort of builds off what Brooke said about the flexibility that is inherent in the Green Book. The AASHTO bike and pedestrian guides serve as the comprehensive design guides for pedestrian and bike facilities. They are the state of the practice of the design but within them there's an inherent flexibility to account for the context of each individual situation. So I am going to start out by talking about the AASHTO bike guide. The current version was put out in 2012 and is the fourth edition. It went through the typical NCHRP, NAS process and it has gone through the formal State DOT balloting process, as I mentioned the AASHTO bike guides serves as the state of practice for on road bike facilities and is also has a good amount of detail on off road facilities. It is consistent with the proposed accessibility guidelines.
So within the document, in the newest version there is a detailed discussion about things like planning, operation and safety, on road facilities and shared use paths. I want to take a moment and let Christopher Douwes say a few things about the off-road path discussion in the AASHTO bike guide.
Thank you, Dan. This is Christopher Douwes, I am the Recreational Trails and Transportation Alternatives person for Federal Highway Administration. The AASHTO bike guide, in terms of the use for outdoor facilities (for a non-highway facility), talks a lot about shared use paths. The AASHTO bike guide certainly is, I would say, the preferred guide for a shared use path which is for transportation purposes; however, and this is a relatively big however, if your entity is proposing a recreational trail, that is really intended for recreational purposes, you need to have your recreational trail in a good context with what is it we are trying to provide. For example, if you want to do a mountain bike trail, the AASHTO bike guide is not the appropriate source for a mountain bike trail, or an equestrian trail or off-highway vehicle trail. Those kinds of resources we have available on the Recreational Trails Program website. We have a publications page, we have links to groups such as the International Mountain Bicycling Association, for equestrian trails, the Forest Service has a big equestrian book. So those are the kinds of documents we would encourage you to look at if you are doing a recreational facility intended for people getting out there and having fun. The AASHTO bike guide is intended for transportation facilities and yes, we highly recommend it for the shared use path for transportation facilities. Back to you, Dan...
Thanks, Christopher. I'm going to say a few things about significant changes in the AASHTO bike guide. The new guide talks about the relationship between roadway context and bicycle facility types through a discussion of things like bicycle level of service, it supports bike lanes and shared use path on roads where the volumes and speed are high. It also warns against wide outside lanes as the standard solution for major roads. There is a lot more guidance on bike lanes, in particular, in the new guide so there is a nuanced discussion of lane width and issues such as dooring, there's also discussion of things like buffered bike lanes and green bike lanes that are emerging in the practice.
There's more discussion of signals and things like bike detection, there is detailed discussion of shared use path, for example where they cross intersections and keeping in mind the caveats [recreational use] that Christopher mentioned certainly apply, the new AASHTO bike guide endorses lane diets and road diets and we know that this is an important part of the flexibility discussion. A few things that are not addressed in the new bike guide are bike boxes, raised bike lanes, and bike signal heads. But the thing I want to emphasize is highlighted in the quote here that sufficient flexibility is permitted.
The next thing I want to talk about is the AASHTO Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities. The AASHTO Ped Guide was put out [published] first in 2004 and that is the current edition right now, it was the first comprehensive planning and design manual for pedestrian facilities and it certainly is the state of the practice right now. That being said it is in the process of being updated so we presented at the APBP conference this week with representatives from AASHTO, ITE, and NACTO. And as part of that conversation, we talked about the things that are going to be in the new updated AASHTO guide in process right now so I want to give you a couple of examples of the new information that will be in the new guide. In chapter two on planning for pedestrians, there is a discussion of things like pedestrian activity as you would expect. But there is also more detailed information on land-use and the effects that building design plays in pedestrian conditions. There is a discussion of things like speed management and in the new guide there will be a lot of sidebars about things like crash modification factors and proven safety countermeasures, which FHWA strongly supports and endorses, and we're working to incorporate them in everything that we do.
Another example on the pedestrian facility design side, there is information on sidewalk design as you would expect. But there is also going to be a discussion of things like site design which again we know really impacts the conditions for walking throughout the US. And finally the last thing I would mention on the next slide is facility operation and maintenance. There's going to be more information on things like temporary traffic control devices and it will highlight the most up-to-date FHWA guidance. As far as the schedule and when you can expect that new document to be coming out, as I mentioned, this is going through the NCHRP process right now. It is going to go through the traditional balloting process by AASHTO members and there will be a period to incorporate the comments and update the guide. The publication goal for the new AASHTO ped guide is around spring, 2015. Those two guides are specifically mentioned in the memo. As Shana mentioned the memo expresses FHWA's support for taking a flexible approach. Those are sort of the two basic documents that were discussed. The next two things we want to talk about is the ITE guide and the AASHTO bike guide so I want to pass it back to Brooke to say a few things about the ITE (Institute of Transportation Engineers) document.
The ITE document entitled Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares a Context-Sensitive Approach was developed in collaboration with the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the Congress for New Urbanism. This was done with the support, financially and otherwise, by Federal Highways Administration. It was developed with several objectives in mind. First, to identify how CSS principles can be applied in the processes. For example, network, corridor or project development involved with planning and developing roadway improvement projects on urban thoroughfares for walkable communities. Secondly, describe the relationship, compatibility and trade-offs that may be appropriate when balancing the needs of all users, adjoining land uses, environment and community interest when making decisions and the project development process. Next, describing the principles of CSS and the benefits and importance these principles and transportation projects. Finally, to present guidance on how to identify and select appropriate thoroughfare types and corresponding design parameters to best meet the walkability needs in a particular context. Just one more, provide criteria for specific thoroughfare elements along with guidance on balancing stakeholder community and environmental needs and constraints in planning and designing walkable urban thoroughfares. The intent here was to try and find an approach that would give us more detail and specificity in how to design for our communities. One of the elements of this document is providing a little more detail in describing the types of developments in our community. Instead of speaking of rural and urban, it breaks it down into these different context zones ranging from the natural zone all the way to an urban core or downtown type.
It addresses differences in each of those cells and how we plan for and design for them. It also comes up with a different type of classifying roadways and streets with different terminology referring to a Boulevard or Avenue or Street as different types of facilities that would have different characteristics in terms of bicycles and pedestrians. With that information, there is design guidance related to all of those features based on the context zones, the type of street and what sort of development is along that street and providing information on design choices that might be appropriate to those. Including such features as the intersection curve radius or lane width or target speeds. To develop a roadway that is going to provide an environment that is attractive to pedestrians and bicyclists with that alternative. Back over to Gabe and Kevin.
Thank you Brooke, so this is Gabe Rousseau and I'll be talking about the urban bikeway guide and this stands for National Association of City Transportation Officials, for those of you who do not know, and the urban bikeway guide was one of the three documents that we mailed out to our FHWA colleagues and division offices across the country. And as a resource we think it can help people try to make situations related to bicycling easier for bicyclists. So the NACTO guide was first released in 2011 and was updated about a year and a half later in about 2012 and as indicated in the document itself, the purpose of the NACTO urban design guide was to provide cities with practical solutions that could help create safe streets for bicyclists. If you look at the design guides as an onion you could sort of see the AASHTO green book as the outside layer of the onion and the AASHTO bicycle guide is an inner layer of the onion when you still want more information about how to design things you can consider the urban bikeway guide. So it is building upon the flexibility in the AASHTO guides. So, this is a picture of the information in the NACTO urban bikeway guide that pertains to cycle tracks and FHWA will have some work on that in the not-too-distant future, as you can see the visually engaging format for describing some of the new and innovative types of treatments, cycle tracks being among those, buffered bike lanes, bike boulevards and other bicycle related treatments. If you go to the NACTO website we have some of our colleagues on the phone I am sure they can provide more information here than I can but, around 40 cities have endorsed the NACTO bike guide.
The situation is a little different with states, in informal conversations with states there are several issues that pop up. One is, I think, a number of the states see the NACTO guide as a useful resource, a tool to put in a toolbox for helping communities improve situations for bicyclists. I think some of the State DOT's refer people to the NACTO guide, even if they haven't formally endorsed it at the state level. No State, so far as I know, has formally endorsed the NACTO bike guide however some of the states are updating their own design guidelines, and they are considering some of the treatments in the new guide. Finally, one of the questions that pops up fairly frequently is a question pertaining to how the NACTO guide synchronizes with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and I will turn it over to Kevin Dunn in the Office of Operations who will talk about that next.
Thank you. So, let's look at the relationship between the MUTCD and NACTO guide. From a macroscopic perspective the majority of bicycle facilities are either allowed or not precluded by the MUTCD. Although it does not duplicate design criteria in detail, the MUTCD offers a tremendous amount of flexibility. Simply looking at the table of contents in the NACTO guide shows 22 total bicycle facilities or devices. In the manner that the NACTO guide presents the treatments, a bicycle boulevard is considered one all-encompassing facility for this exercise and the section on colored pavement material guidance is not applicable since it is neither a facility nor device. 17 of the 22 treatments listed on the table contents are allowed or not precluded by the MUTCD. Three of the other five treatments are experimental and these are bicycle signal indications, bike boxes and two-stage turn boxes. Only two treatments in the guide are disallowed by FHWA. One is the combined bike lane turn lane and the second being the unique situation of a HAWK Beacon at an intersection that facilitates a bike crossing movement where bicycles signal indications are used for the cross street.
That being said, although there are only two treatments disallowed by FHWA a microscopic review of the NACTO guide can reveal ancillary elements of the design that are also disallowed or experimental. These are usually individual signs or markings. Examples of these are illustrated at the bottom of the slide. For example, a sign may be disallowed or approved but that does not mean that the MUTCD disallows the facility, there simply could already be a standard sign or marking that already applies.
So what does this all mean? An estimate of the treatments in the table of contents for those that are allowed or experimental loosely approximates 90% of the NACTO guide can be applied when used in compliance with the current provisions of the MUTCD. How would you know if an ancillary element of the design is disallowed or experimental? In general, because MUTCD is a national standard for designing, applying and planning traffic control devices, checking the guidance of the NACTO guide against the provisions of the MUTCD is required by the design engineer. Take the example of the shared lane marking. The design guidance in the NACTO guide states that the shared lane marking may be altered to provide navigational guidance in section 3A.02 of the MUTCD. Altering a standard pavement marking is not permitted and since the NACTO design guidance offers no reference for more information it is unknown why this guidance is recommended to the user of the NACTO guide as opposed to using standard guide signs to provide navigational guidance.
In this example one would have to be cognizant how the NACTO guide is providing support for the facility or design. The design guidance here at the bottom, the NACTO guide references the reader to a study conducted by the FHWA through the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center. The study referenced provides a recommendation for bike lanes based on a study of bike lanes. Bike lanes are specific facility where the shared lane marking is not to be used. As a result the shared lane is flanked by white longitudinal markings that appear to establish a bike lane in the approximate center of a travel lane. This is not in compliance with the MUTCD so this is experimental. For the top two illustrations using green colored pavement in the manner shown is not allowed. The use of these treatments was previously allowed through approved experiments but the FHWA has recently discontinued the practice of approving request of experiments with this treatment.
Based on all this information and what is presented on the slide this can appear overwhelming plus with the current evolving dynamic nature of bicycle facilities in general, how would you know all that if you don't have extensive familiarity with the MUTCD. One useful tool to determine the applicability of the facility or device is a website maintained at FHWA that contains a table providing information on the status of the bicycle facility or device and whether that device is allowed, experimental or disallowed. This is the website listed at the top of the slide. The second tool is the FAQ website on the MUTCD webpage that may provide information on the applicability of the bicycle facility and this is the website shown at the bottom. Both of these websites are regularly updated by FHWA.
Another major focus area allowing an agency flexibility in implementing designs found in the NACTO guide is the MUTCD experimentation process where applicable. Where an agency has a need to implement a device currently not adopted in the MUTCD it is possible to request an approval to experiment. Shown here is the current number of active experiments with the associated devices. Experimentation is valuable to the FHWA so they may use these experiments to propose provisions for devices in a future edition of the MUTCD. Assistance from dozens of agencies nationwide has continued to illustrate the value in this process. This is evident from past experiments regarding green colored pavement and shared lane markings. Additionally experiments with bicycle signal indications to date have shown preliminary success that is anticipated to produce interim approval later this year. The experimentation website indicates the homepage, and it's being redesigned to show more examples, case studies and further guidance on how to continue this process for both the benefit of the requesting agency and the FHWA.
Experimentation is valuable, not only in providing data for proposing provisions but it can also highlight other unintended elements of the design back in advance of a general design of the facility that benefits all users. An example of a highly successful previous experiment was the use of green colored pavement for bike lanes. This experiment was in Missoula, Montana in 2010. This experiment not only revealed that an approximate 70% of motorists noticed the color enhancement to the bike lane, but where well designed bike lanes that do not experience the occupation of motorized vehicles, these bike facilities can also be highly attractive to pedestrians who use them to avoid crowded sidewalks. If you look closely in the photo at the lower right corner of the slide and look to the background behind the bicyclist, bicycle parking is provided on the sidewalk in front of the building storefronts. During pedestrian peak activity congestion may occur in this area resulting in pedestrian use of the buffered bike lane. Although this has no specific applicability for the MUTCD this information was found to be useful to design engineers, to enhance future standard designs.
The second unintended finding from the experiment revealed pedestrians use of the bike facilities when they patronized parking meters in the lower right corner of this scene here. Those patronizing the parking meter unfortunately are provided no other choice but to occupy the buffered bike lane. Again this had no specific applicability to the MUTCD but this information can be useful to design engineers and future designs of buffered bike lanes.
The FHWA has identified perceived ambiguity may be rectified for the 2016 MUTCD. Here is a tentative schedule for the 2016 edition. It is anticipated that the 2016 addition will propose several treatments in the current NACTO bike lane guide. Until then the FHWA encourages design engineers to use the NACTO guide in conformance with MUTCD and to check the MUTCD or contact the MUTCD team or check the MUTCD webpage. In the meantime agencies have successfully implemented facilities that are substantially conforming with the MUTCD. Gabe has an experience to share with the project with the Michigan Department of transportation successfully permitted using the design criteria in the AASHTO guide and the MUTCD.
Thank you, Kevin. So, I just want to speak briefly about what Kevin had just mentioned and it is a case study that appears at the end of our FHWA design guidance materials that came out a few weeks ago and it pertains to Michigan DOT and their implementation of buffered bike lanes which basically create more space between motor vehicles and bicycles. I think it is typical with any new or innovative roadway treatment educating the public is key to this and its success and I think Michigan did an exemplary job in trying to reach out to the public with modern social media types of means and including YouTube. There is a video which we are not going to show on this webinar, but the link is provided for you to access it. Also, materials to give information to both drivers and bicyclist about how these new facilities work. This is one example of a treatment that is discussed in the NACTO guide and is being implemented by a state DOT to show how things work in the real world. With that I'm going to hand it over to Shana Baker next. Take it away.
Thank you very much. We are going to transition and begin to talk to you a little bit about FHWA's bicycle and pedestrian working group activities. So the memo is just one thing we have been doing and you will be seeing other things as well. Just so you know FHWA has organized a multi-office workgroup. I mentioned some of the members on the phone are part of that workgroup. We are implementing several initiatives to improve safety and accommodations for pedestrians and bicyclists, centered on three recommendations. We've identified near-term, midterm and long-term recommendations. As it pertains to midterm recommendations, we are going to continue to conduct outreach in the form of national webinars, workshops, fact sheets, MUTCD webpages and other resources, sharing that information with you. We hope to, as well, describe the MUTCD experimentation process. Projects being evaluated and schedule for updating the manual and Kevin shared with you part of the schedule with you those are some near-term recommendations we are already beginning some of those with this national webinar. As it pertains to the midterm recommendations we are developing a best practice guide on implementing cycle tracks to address a notable area of conflict between an AASHTO guide and the NACTO guide.
We are in that process making sure that we develop those resources. We will also develop case studies for improving pedestrian and bicyclist safety and accommodation. As it pertains to her long-term recommendations FHWA is going to revise the regulations pertaining to the design of bicycle and pedestrian facilities. And update the MUTCD piece. We are also going to continue to promote the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation joint technical assistance on the title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which clarifies requirements to provide curve ramps when streets, roads or highways through resurfacing. We will continue to promote that information as well. With that, I will turn it over to Dan and we can begin taking Q&A.
Thank you, Shana. I mentioned that part of our goal in having this webinar is to give you all a chance to ask some questions. So you are welcome to type in the question into the chat pod and operator, if you could open up the phone line as well, if people would like to queue in people are calling in and begin entering questions into the chat pod, I thought it would be good to give a chance for Jim McDonnell, Linda Bailey or Phil Caruso to say a few things about the memo and how your organizations have been working with FHWA and what the plans are moving forward. Jim, do want to kick it off and just say something?
Sure we are very pleased to see the memo come out and we participated with FHWA, NACTO, and ITE representatives at the APBP conference on Tuesday in Colorado. We look forward to collaborating more. AASHTO guides as many of you probably know there's slightly different processes within each of the organizations that have been mentioned that have guidance out there for developing and then publishing the guidance so some of the guidance by the very nature of the way it is developed will be slightly different. I think that is where some of the inconsistency my lie. One of the things mentioned was the cycle tracks, that is something over it the past five or six months AASHTO put together a research proposal that we were going to present on cycle tracks we saw that FHWA had moved forward with a cycle track research project and we did not want to be redundant so we are collaborating in the near future with FHWA on that cycle track guidance. We look forward to continuing the dialogue about trying to make sure we have the best guidance out there for all the designers and users of the facilities.
This is Linda Bailey if I could say a couple words. We are really excited about the memo from Federal Highway. We are so glad Federal Highway's leadership is promoting safe cycling facilities. In terms of the NACTO background I would like to mention we base our guidance on input of 26 cities on our steering committee made up of city traffic engineers and planners. We are really looking at a safety problem on our streets for cyclists. Where many cyclists don't feel comfortable cycling in mixed traffic, we are trying to develop safer cycling facilities, similar to those considered the standard in countries that have extremely high rates of cycling. Basically the separated facilities also called cycle tracks and really trying to put what is the state of the practice in cities around the United States. In developing our guidance we spent a lot of time teaching people to assess situations of the correct way as well as giving specific items, like guidance on coloring or use of specific traffic control devices. Generally we are in compliance with MUTCD as Kevin just covered.
In cities we have a lot of sign clutter sometimes it is hard to make signage really visible for users on our streets. In any case we look forward to keeping our process going with Federal Highway and working with everyone involved. I did want to mention the Georgia DOT has referenced the NACTO guide. I know Washington state DOT has referenced it as well and we have several other state DOTs that have been considering it. I know things move slowly at that level but we are looking forward to working with states on the line and we welcome any questions or inquiries from those states who I know have called into this webinar as well to discuss adoption or endorsement or reference in your own guidance.
Thanks, Linda. I will start with questions and answers that we have a few already. There was one asking me to clarify the discussion about wide outside lines in the AASHTO guidance. Just a couple quick things about that. The AASHTO guide includes several warnings against using wide outside lanes as a standard solution for major roads. I think that is an important distinction it certainly talks about them being appropriate on roads with lower speeds and roads with good sight distances and bicycle friendly drainage grates but it's really a question of larger roads. And then it talks about some of the other dynamics that happen with the wide outside lanes like the fact that cars may go faster or heavy vehicles may prefer the wide outside lane. So it includes the statement that when sufficient space is available, bike lanes or paved shoulders are the preferred facility which is an important change from the last AASHTO guide. And with that to Kevin did you want to answer a question from a DOT about MUTCD?
(multiple speakers) the state of Montana, to my knowledge I am not familiar with this slightly different markings but I will take a look at that but from what I do remember is that they are substantially close enough to be in compliance.
Thank you. Operator? Do we have any questions on the phone lines?
If you want to ask a question over the phone lines they need to signal by pressing star one, that is star one if you would like to ask a question over the phone. A voice prompt will let you know when your line is open. That is star one if you have a question today over the phone. No questions over the phone at this time, sir.
Okay, thank you.
Do we have additional questions in the chat pod?
We have one we were just discussing I can read it out loud, if that would be helpful?
Sure, thank you.
Is there any legal guidance that can empower local municipalities to use these guidelines? We work with an MPO and some concerns about numbers is the liability of providing ped and cycling facilities.
I think that is a more of a higher-level policy issue outside of the scope of this guidance memo. I think I should not speak for Kevin but working in conformance with MUTCD helps alleviate some of the liability.
With liability, yes. And.
This is Linda Bailey and again one of our member's cities, New York City has actually been sued for not providing a safe bicycle facility so there is liability on both sides. Our general guidance, based on working with all the different legal departments in cities we represent, have been that following and explaining engineering judgment in the design document is really critical and that is the basis for all kinds of design, not just relating to pedestrians and bicyclists but also to let's just say intersections that may be from pre-existing conditions in older cities.
This is Jim McDonald with AASHTO. There's also the National Cooperative Highway Research Program. NCHRP did a study a couple years, 2010, on liability aspects of bikeways and it looks into the liability of public entities for bicycle accidents on bikeways as well as on streets and highways. That report is, if you want to write it down, it is NCHRP legal research digest number 53. That can be googled on the web.
Okay, thank you, Jim. Operator? Do we have any calls on the line?
No, sir. No one has queued up at this time.
I noticed there is another question in the chat pod, who is the contact with FHWA to discuss or receive guidance on pedestrian accommodations for situations that fall outside of desired design standards and features? I would just comment that the first place to start perhaps is your division office, talk to them. Is it a question about it specific project, particularly if they have oversight on the project, definitely would want to be working with them. If you're talking more in general wanting to develop a city approach to something, folks in headquarters or the resource center might be your best contact in terms of helping you develop your own the city policies and in those situations probably the division office with your first point of contact they can put you in touch with the right people, those of us on this call. I don't know if you have anything more you would like to add to that?
That's great I think that's it. We have another question. Can you tell us anything about interim approval of bicycle signals in the year 2013? Kevin? Maybe you could say something about that?
Yes. Again the interim approval is anticipated by the end of the year. It will go through a whole risk assessment and go up to leadership for approval. That is all I can really share. I understand the relationship, how it impacts projects in development but they still continue to be experimental and so submit a request. In the event it is approved an interoperable is issued the experiment will be terminated and there'll be some sort of mechanism put in place to allow the design or collection of devices to exist in the field.
Okay, thank you. I think we've got another question about defining more clearly the near, mid- and long-term recommendations Shana?
Sure, no problem at all to see now we've been working on these actual recommendations since the beginning of the year, maybe early summer or early spring. So when we are defining near-term recommendations, we have actually currently undertaking is now also beginning in September both are a recommendations that we have started to roll out. As it pertains to the midterm recommendations, these are things you will begin to see happen in 2014. As we mentioned about the research project, we know that we will not have any data to share with you this year but in 2014. For the long-term recommendations, it is really hard to put a date on those long-term recommendations because it deals with updating guidance as well and that process too. So, we don't have a specific date for revising a regulations, but we know that it will be done in the future but we just don't have a specific date to say that we can start this in 2014, but we hope to start as soon as possible. I hope that provides clarity. Again, near-term, the things we are doing now, and what we started pulling out with this memorandum and you'll see more things to come this year and out next year as well but the midterm recommendations as it pertains to the cycle tracks project you should begin to see more information about the rollout in 2014.
Okay, great, thank you, Shana. We've got two questions in the chat pod signals a lot intersections to assist safe bike [Indiscernible--low volume] as long as the signals are associated with that is the question would you like to answer that?
That is correct however there is a provision in Part Four HAWK signals should not be installed at an intersection so if there is a documented need to deviate from a provision as the MUTCD has been worked in the past. That provision is what it is as long as the bicycle signal indications on the cross street is not used is what I was referring to earlier.
There is a second question here what is the expected timeline for possible allowance of two stage turns beyond experimental status? That's a good question this is kind of a news item as of recently. If anyone noticed the website, when it updated last time, those devices were previously not experimental. What happened was as we were organizing documents and making outlines for future provisions of the MUTCD we do not have any data on two stage turn boxes so at this point we cannot propose it for the next edition of the MUTCD. We changed the status on the website to ask any agencies out there using it to send us any data so we can propose provisions. That is what that is all about. So, it is on the list of things to be proposed for the next edition of the MUTCD.
Okay, thank you.
I have one more here, as the 2016 edition gets underway, are there any specific changes or recommendations FHWA working on? Yes. The FHWA is going to work with the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices to essentially advance them what I just described. The outlines and some major things we are going -- specific changes or recommendations that should be in January. So, those are not ready yet but you will hear more information as an outcome of that meeting. January 2014 in Arlington.
Thank you. I understand Phil Caruso is on the line, but he is probably dialed in with participants. Operator, could you explain to him how to signal you.
Yes ma'am he needs to signal by pressing star 0 and I can get his line open.
Thank you. Phil, if you are still on and if you would like to say a few words please dial star 0.
One moment, I will get his line open --
While his line opens there is a question. Is there evidence to suggest bike and pedestrian facilities are increasing exposure to environmental issues such as historic preservation, storm water runoff, or tree removal? I am not aware of any broad studies discussing that. Certainly it is a case-by-case basis I think it would need to be weighed against other potential public health benefits and things like that. There is certainly trade-offs in all situations, it is likely a case-by-case situation. Now we've got another question, can you repeat or go back to the slide with the bike ped reference manual? I guess I would refer people to the pedestrian and bike webpage that is where the actual manual is posted, where the memo is posted and the memo provides a citation to the AASHTO bike guide, AASHTO ped guide, ID document and NACTO bike ride. Those are the four references mentioned specifically in the new memo and that is why we are focusing on them right now.
Also, we just typed into the chat pod the link to where the documents are posted.
This is Phil Caruso? Can you hear me?
Yes we can.
Finally. Sorry about that. I have been with the webinar from the beginning but was not connected. If I may, I don't want to interrupt Shana if you want to go to the question process, but I did want to say a few words whenever you feel appropriate.
Please do right now is a good time.
Okay, what I did want to mention is number one, we really welcome the opportunity to work with other organizations in addressing this issue. This document, in particular, we view it as a milestone in the sense that it was a document that was put together in cooperation with not only FHWA, EPA, but also CNU and ITE. One of the things I think is pretty important to point out is it did come out as a recommended practice. Therefore, it is not only intended to help our membership better understand how you can integrate CSS principles in traffic engineering practices in accordance with AASHTO green book, but also as a recommended practice, it is basically an accepted practice within the profession. I think that is pretty important to note because we do view this document as a very important guide. It really integrates CSS into traffic and transportation engineering.
Thank you, Phil. Operator, do we have any other calls in the line?
Yes, sir we have one question in queue. Caller, one moment your line is open.
Hello, this is Jason Sally with Illinois DOT. I had a question concerning funding. What seems to be decreasing funding availability because either people are driving less, increased inflation, whatnot, but there is a bigger push obviously for sustainability, complete streets. There seems to be infrastructure needs and accommodation needs by those users that aren't necessarily paying into the roadway funds. So, is that being looked at?
This is Christopher Douwes, I am responsible for two of the funding programs that deal a lot with [programs used for pedestrians and bicyclists through the] Federal Highway administration. One thing I think you should know is that federal funds, gas tax funds, are only responsible for a portion of the money that goes into highway facilities and many of the local facilities, especially facilities used by pedestrians and bicyclists very often our local roads that may not have any federal funds. They may not even have state funds and they are paid for with local taxes, property taxes. I am a property taxpayer, I pay in and there are people who are pedestrians, who are bicyclists, that pay local property taxes. That is part of the funding mix. So, we have to realize we have to have a balanced transportation system that is paid for with a variety of funding sources. The gas tax is not the only funding source (multiple speakers), we have to accommodate everybody. Pedestrians were there long before motor vehicles.
I'm not disagreeing with you, however, short of a local road system I'm not disagreeing without the property tax or sales taxes not the way that goes into state or federally funded improvements. That's an argument beyond the scope of this memo. What we are talking about today is very much concentrating on the design guides. The funding questions really were not intended to be part of this discussion today.
I guess I'm just curious if someone is looking at that, however.
We thank you for bringing that to our attention we assure you as the workgroup continues to work together producing materials, we begin to explore the question at our level. It may be being explored at a higher level, but we will definitely consider what you have said and work to address that.
Do we have any other questions? in the queue?
No further questions over the phone line, sir.
Dan? Christopher: I want to say one other item I want to reply a little bit more to the question about the pedestrian facilities increasing exposure and to issues such as historic preservation, stormwater runoff, and tree removal. I think it's very important when we design facilities (and we have been talking a lot about context sensitivity including pedestrian and bicycle facilities as part of the context sensitivity), that includes a historic preservation, stormwater runoff, bicycle and pedestrian facilities can be designed with in context sensitivity in mind. They can be designed as green facilities, another thing you can consider is how you design your facility? Do you design from the traffic lanes out or do you design it from the right-of-way lines in and first consider the pedestrians and bicyclists? Do we necessarily need all these lanes for the motor vehicles? That is part of what the road diet is, which is one of the Federal Highways proven safety countermeasures. You can take a look at that. It is not a one-size-fits-all with any of these designs. We have to look at the whole context including our historic preservation, including stormwater issues and tree issues.
Okay. Thank you, Christopher. It doesn't seem like we have any more questions at this time and I think we are about out of time. Shana, would you like to say a few last words as we wrap up?
Sure, we would like to thank everyone in particular we really appreciate Linda Bailey with NACTO being on the line, AASHTO, Jim McDonnell, as well as Phil Caruso with ITE. This is again, the beginning of more information that you will see that FHWA will be producing that shows our support for taking a flexible approach to bicycle and pedestrian facility design. The recording of today's webinar has been recorded, it will be posted on FHWA's bicycle and pedestrian website. It will include the recording as well as the PowerPoint presentation. If I am not mistaken I did see a request for the actual closed captioning transcripts. We will look into seeing if we compose that as well. But if you would give us about it week at the latest, we should hopefully have this information posted on the bicycle FHWA bicycle and pedestrian website. Again we thank you all for participating and we look forward to you working with our division offices and continuing to look and work with our partners in providing flexibility design for bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Thank you.
That does conclude our conference for today.