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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-05-092
Date: July 2006

Lesson 4: Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning

The picture shows six people clustered around a map, taking notes in a planning session.

Lesson Outline

  • Federal surface transportation law and pedestrian and bicycle facilities.
  • Elements of State and local pedestrian and bicycle plans.
  • Bicycle and pedestrian models: demand and facility quality.
  • Bicycle and pedestrian maps.

Federal Requirements

  • ISTEA (1991) and subsequent legislation.
  • States and MPOs are required to address bicycle and pedestrian needs during the planning process.

Federal Planning Guidance

  • FHWA and FTA technical guidance for State and MPO pedestrian and bicycle plans:
    – Incorporate public involvement.
    – Assess current conditions and needs.
    – Include vision statement, goals, policy statements, specific programs and projects, and performance criteria.
    – Identify financial resources needed for implementation.

State Plans

  • Outreach to regional and local jurisdictions.
  • Identification of policies and legal barriers.
  • Development of planning and design guidelines for local governments.
  • Coordination among State agencies.

The picture shows a report cover for the Pennsylvania Statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan.

Regional/MPO Plans

  • Establish regional priorities for funding.
  • Develop planning and design guidelines for local governments.
  • Develop unified approach to land use and bicycle and pedestrian transportation across region.
  • Provide continuous connections across jurisdiction boundaries.

Common Elements of Local Pedestrian and Bicycle Plans

  • Gaining public involvement.
  • Using geographic information systems (GIS).
  • Reviewing transportation and land use policies/regulations.
  • Establishing facility design procedures.
  • Identifying and prioritizing where improvements are needed.

The picture shows six people clustered around a map, taking notes in a planning session.

Forecasting Travel Demand

  • Determine the relative demand for pedestrian and bicycle travel on a facility.
  • Estimate the number of pedestrians and/or bicyclists to use the facility if built.
  • Sketch planning techniques.

Assessing Pedestrian and Bicycle Suitability

  • Models are based on real-time human perception.
  • Models evaluate the comfort of bicyclists and pedestrians in a roadside environment.
  • Conditions are rated on an A–F grade scale based on factors such as speed limit, traffic volume, lane and shoulder width, pavement condition, etc.

Bicycle Level of Service A

The picture shows a 4-lane road, two lanes in both directions, passing cornfields. The road has a paved 9’ shoulder, and a bicyclist is riding towards the camera.

  • 2.7-m (9-ft) shoulder.
  • 4-m (12.5-ft) lane.
  • 88 km/h (55-mi/h) speed limit.
  • 4 lanes, undivided.
  • 8,000 average daily traffic (ADT).
  • 3% trucks.

Bicycle Level of Service E

The picture shows a cyclist riding on the 1 foot paved shoulder of a busy two lane suburban road. There is a truck approaching the cyclist from behind and in order for the cars to pass the cyclist, they must cross the solid yellow center line.

  • 0.3-m (1-ft) shoulder.
  • 4-m (12.5-ft) lane.
  • 80 km/h (50 mi/h) speed limit.
  • 2 lanes, undivided.
  • 8,000 ADT.
  • 7% trucks.

Types of Maps

  • Urban bicycle map.
  • Bicycling guide.
  • Bicycling touring guide.
  • City and county bicycle and pedestrian plan maps.

There is a graphic picture of a GIS drawing of the Lancaster County Prioritized Bicycle System.

Lesson Summary

  • Current Federal transportation laws support pedestrian and bicycle planning.
  • There are similarities and differences between State, regional, and local plans.
  • Methods have been developed to assess pedestrian and bicycle demand and facility quality.
  • There are several types of maps that aid in pedestrian and bicycle planning processes.



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