U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
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Washington, DC 20590
Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations
|This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information|
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-04-103
Date: October 2004
Characteristics of Emerging Road and Trail Users and Their Safety
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The effectiveness and value of this research is largely dependent on its use by practitioners and policymakers making decisions about roadway and shared use path design and safety programs, respectively. Thus the goal of the marketing plan is to outline how to disseminate the information to transportation professionals, trail designers/coordinators, landscape architects, engineers, public works officials, and other professionals and policymakers. Data from the summary charts and formulas can be incorporated into the existing formats of national guidelines such as the AASHTO Green Book, ADAAG, and the AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, and other appropriate documents.
Since shared use paths, in particular, are designed by professionals from a variety of backgrounds, the marketing plan outlines methods of reaching various types of professionals through publications, journal articles, conference presentations, and other means. With that primary goal established, the first and foremost objective is to get the word out.
Getting the word out on this study is important for several reasons:
Accordingly, this section of the Final Report outlines both the recommended marketing plan (table 24) as well as the needed elements for either revisions to NHI's bicycle and pedestrian facility design courses and the existing AASHTO design guidelines, or the creation of a totally new NHI course and a new AASHTO design guideline (for shared use paths).
Table 24. Marketing plan.
The slide presentation, a Microsoft® PowerPoint® file, outlines how the study developed; how the data collection plan was designed; how well the events ran; the variety of users, abilities, and ages in attendance; and the results and implications. A paper describing the study and findings was submitted to TRB and was presented at the 2004 Annual Meeting. Finally, outlined below are the recommended elements for either revisions to NHI's bicycle and pedestrian facility design courses and the existing AASHTO design guidelines, or the creation of a totally new NHI course and an AASHTO design guideline (for shared use paths). Examples of other venues through which this study can be publicized include:
Design of Shared Use Paths, Street Intersections, and Midblock Crossings
This federally sponsored research reveals that in many cases, neither the bicycle nor the pedestrian is the design "vehicle" or user for shared use paths, their intersections with roadways, or for a host of other features throughout the transportation system of the United States. This is an important discovery, confirming what some professionals have suspected: that a number of our design guidelines need to be changed or expanded, and/or new ones added. This is an urgently needed action. Hundreds, if not thousands, of transportation facilities and signals are being designed and built today that do not, or will not, in the very near future, safely accommodate a growing number of nonmotorized users. While the above outlined presentations may help bring about a general awareness within the professional community of bicycle and pedestrian mode planners, they represent a small portion of the design professionals preparing designs and construction documents of signalized roadway and street intersections, midblock pedestrian signals, shared use paths, roads and streets, etc. These tens of thousands of design professionals need to be aware of the possible implications of this study on transportation system designs.
Furthermore, they need training on the proper design to safely accommodate the growing array of users of transportation facilities (figures 53 and 54), and the operational characteristics of persons using the expanding array of assistive devices.
Accordingly, either revisions are needed to NHI's bicycle and pedestrian facility design courses, the existing AASHTO design guidelines (A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets, Guide to the Development of Bicycle Facilities and the upcoming Pedestrian Facilities Design Guide) and FHWA's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), and/or the creation of a totally new NHI course and a new AASHTO design guideline (for shared use paths) should be created. The information could also be put into the revised Ped/Bike University Course. Regardless of the approach taken, certain recommended minimum elements are needed for courses/design guidelines to ensure the safe design and operation of transportation facilities serving nonmotorized users. The major sections that need to be included or referenced are:
These sections are further detailed below.
Section 1-Design Controls and Criteria
2. Section 2-Elements of Design
3. Section 3-Cross Section Elements
4. Section 4-At-Grade Intersections
5. Section 5-Grade Separated Intersections
6. Section 6-Sidewalks and Sidepaths
Keywords: research, safety, bicyclists, Emerging users, AASHTO, Operating characteristics, Shared use paths
TRT Terms: Pedestrian areas--Design, Bicycle trails--Design, Bicycle trails--United States--Safety measures, Nonmotorized transportation, Trails, Safety