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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-05-130
Date: July 2006

Lesson 23: International Approaches to Bicycle and Pedestrian Facility Design

Zebra crossing in London with zigzag approach markings and Belisha beacons. This photograph shows a pedestrian crossing with continental-style pavement markings, a median refuge island, and small posts with a globe that glows when activated by pedestrians (belisha beacon).


Lesson Outline

  • Comparison of walking/biking levels.
  • What can U.S. learn from other countries?
  • Examples of pedestrian facilities.
  • Examples of bicycle facilities.

Bicycling and Walking Levels

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What Can the United States Borrow from Other Countries?

  • Better facilities for bicycling and walking.
  • Areawide traffic calming of neighborhoods.
  • Urban design oriented to people, not cars.
  • Restrictions on motor vehicle use.
  • Better traffic education and enforcement.

Pedestrian Facilities

  • Pedestrian crossings:
    – Zebra.
    – Pelican.
    – Toucan (bikes + pedestrians).
    – Puffin.
  • Pavement messages.
  • Pedestrian signal displays.

Pedestrian Crossing Treatments

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Pavement Messages

  • Used in London and Salt Lake City.
  • Prompts tourists and other pedestrians to look in correct direction for traffic.

The photograph shows a marked pedestrian crosswalk with a text message 'LOOK RIGHT' painted on the pavement surface right next to the curb. Several people are crossing in the crosswalk and two vehicles are waiting in back of the crosswalk.


Animated Eyes

  • Used in Canada.
  • Now included in 2003 MUTCD.
  • Prompts pedestrians to look for turning vehicle traffic.

The animated eyes display has two lighted blue eyes at the top of the box, a hand (not yet flashing) on the left side, and LED lights outlining a pedestrian on the right.


Pedestrian Zone/Mall

  • Used on downtown streets.
  • Some U.S. examples exist.
  • Restricts motor vehicle traffic.
  • Permits bicycles, buses, and taxis.

This photograph shows a street in Germany that operates as a pedestrian mall during daytime areas. Many pedestrians can be seen crossing or walking in the street and a bicyclist is crossing the street.

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

Bicycle Lanes—The Netherlands

  • Red pavement color.
  • Wide enough for two bicyclists.
  • Extensive network.
  • Marked through intersections.

This photograph shows a wide bicycle lane that has a red pavement color. Three bicyclists are shown riding single file in the lane, with another dismounted bicyclist in the foreground of the photo.

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

Bicycle Signals— The Netherlands

  • Red, yellow, green signal indications for bicyclists.
  • Special signal phases for bicyclist turning movements.

The photograph shows a bicycle signal with a bike symbol and an arrow. The bicycle signal is considerably smaller than a standard traffic signal and is mounted on a mast arm pole.


Shared Bus and Bicycle Lane—Germany

  • Shared lanes are  4.5 meters (m) (15 feet (ft)) wide.
  • Shared lane signing and marking.

The photograph shows a travel lane in Germany being shared by a bus and a bicyclist. Pavement markings in the lane have the text 'BUS' on the left side of the lane (inside of the road) and a bike symbol on the right side of the lane (outside of the road).

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

Bicycle Parking—Germany

  • Common at transit stations.
  • Sheltered parking.
  • Bicycle rentals common at transit stations.

The photograph shows a bicycle parking area at a transit station in Germany. The bike parking has a covering of steel frame and glass to protect bikes from weather elements.


Narrow/Contraflow Lanes—United Kingdom

  • Narrower than AASHTO standards.
  • Contraflow used on one-way streets for bicyclist convenience.

The photograph shows a contraflow lane that is separated from the motor vehicle travel lane by a wide solid stripe. A double stripe has been painted between the curb and the bike lane. Two bicyclists are riding in the bike lane counter to motor vehicle traffic flow.

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

Bicycle Trails and Sidepaths

  • Used throughout Europe.
  • Some on abandoned rail right-of-way.
  • Used more along high-speed roadways.
  • More crashes at road intersections.

The photograph shows a bicycle path that parallels the main road. There is physical separation between the road and bike path with has been planted with grass.

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

Lesson Summary

  • Some design concepts have migrated to the United States:
    –Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) "Alternative Treatments for At-Grade Pedestrian Crossings."
    –ITE "Innovative Bicycle Facilities."
  • Policy and culture are more difficult to change; they take more time.

 

FHWA-HRT-05-130

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