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Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

 
Report
This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-05-110
Date: July 2006

 

Lesson 13: Selecting Bicycle Facility Types and Evaluating Roadways

1) This photograph shows a bicyclist riding in the right third of a vehicle lane, and a vehicle has crossed the roadway centerline in order to pass the bicyclist.

2) Bicyclists in a wide curb lane. This photograph shows two bicyclists riding single file in a wide curb lane. Vehicles are passing the bicyclists in the same lane but are not crossing the road centerline.

  

3) This photograph shows a bicyclist riding in a bike lane, which is separated from the vehicle travel lane by a solid white tranverse pavement marking. A bike symbol pavement marking is also visible in the bike lane.

4) This photograph shows a shared use path that has a pedestrian area separated from a bicyclist area by a solid white line. The bicyclist area on the path is divided into two opposing directions by a white dashed line.

(Some of these pictures show bicyclists not wearing helmets. FHWA strongly recommends that all bicyclists wear helmets.)

Lesson Outline

  • Bicycle facility type selection.
    – Comparison of approaches.
    – AASHTO guidance.
  • Roadway evaluation.
    – Bicycle compatibility index.
    – Bicycle level of service.

Bicycle Facility Types

  • Shared road with regular lane width.

    – Most existing roads.

  • Wide curb lane.

    – Shared outside lane.

1) This photograph shows a bicyclist riding in the right third of a vehicle lane, and a vehicle has crossed the roadway centerline in order to pass the bicyclist.

  

2) Bicyclists in a wide curb lane. This photograph shows two bicyclists riding single file in a wide curb lane. Vehicles are passing the bicyclists in the same lane but are not crossing the road centerline.

(This picture shows bicyclists not wearing helmets. FHWA strongly recommends that all bicyclists wear helmets.)

Bicycle Facility Types

  • Bike lane.

    – Dedicated road space with dividing paint stripe.

  • Separate path.

    – Dedicated path or trail.
    – Significant separation.
    – Mostly shared-use.

3) This photograph shows a bicyclist riding in a bike lane, which is separated from the vehicle travel lane by a solid white tranverse pavement marking. A bike symbol pavement marking is also visible in the bike lane.

  

4) This photograph shows a shared use path that has a pedestrian area separated from a bicyclist area by a solid white line. The bicyclist area on the path is divided into two opposing directions by a white dashed line.

(This picture shows bicyclists not wearing helmets. FHWA strongly recommends that all bicyclists wear helmets.)

How to Select Facility Type

  • No national standards.
  • Different State and local guidelines.
  • Common factors:
    – Vehicle traffic volumes.
    – Vehicle traffic speeds.
    – Other road cross section or traffic variables.

Comparison of Approaches

  • 2002 Review of North American and European guidelines.
  • Shared roads: low volumes/speeds.
  • Wide curb lanes: moderate volumes/speeds.
  • Bike lanes: higher volumes/speeds.
  • Separate path: special case.

This bar chart shows the trend that bike lanes or shoulders are used more often for high speed roadways (30 mi/h and above) and at lower traffic volume thresholds. The chart also indicates that for roads with lower speeds (25 mi/h and less), normal or wide lanes are used more often than bike lanes.


AASHTO Guidance on Facilities

  • Facility selection is essentially a State/local policy decision.
  • It may be based on several factors:
    – Specific corridor conditions.
    – Facility costs.
    – Bicyclist skill level.
AdvancedBasicChildren

The picture on the left shows an advanced bicyclist, or Type A bicyclist.

The picture in the middle shows a Type B, or basic, bicyclist.

The picture on the right shows several Type C (children) bicyclists.

 Source: PBIC (Dan Burden), www.pedbikeimages.org

Roadway Evaluation

  • Integral to planning: an inventory of existing conditions.
  • How suitable are certain roads for bicycling?
    – Bicycle compatibility.
    – Bicycle level of service.
    – Bicycle suitability.
    – Bicycle stress level.
    – Other names.

Bicycle Compatibility Index

  • Product of 1998 FHWA study.
  • Empirical model that uses:
    – Presence and width of shoulder or bike lane.
    – Vehicle traffic volume and speed.
    – Presence of vehicle parking.
    – Type of roadside development.

Bicycle Level of Service

  • Product of 1997 study in Florida, with subsequent testing and validation.
  • Empirical model that uses:
    – Road width.
    – Presence and width of shoulder or bike lane.
    – Vehicle traffic volume, speed, and type.
    – Pavement surface condition.
    – Presence of vehicle parking.

Applications for Evaluation Tools

  • Documenting existing conditions.
  • Comparing alternatives.
  • Identifying design configurations for improvements to existing roads.
  • Prioritizing/programming improvements.
  • Creating bicycle maps.

Lesson Summary

  • No national standards for facility selection:
    – Use State/local guidelines.
    – General principles.
  • Roadway evaluation tools:
    – Two commonly used models.
    – Numerous applications.

 

FHWA-HRT-05-110

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