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Research Projects

STATUS: Complete YEAR: 2022 TOPIC AREA: Public transit, land use, and urban mobility Safety and security Transportation planning, policy, and finance CENTER: PSR

Prioritizing Bicyclist Safety and Mobility: Which Guidance Do I Use?

Project Summary

Project number: PSR-22-09
Funding source: U.S Department of Transportation
Contract number: 69A3551747109
Total cost: $24,997.00
Performance period: 8/15/2022 - 8/14/2023

Project description

Balanced transportation, in which multiple modes serve urban trips safely and efficiently, is achieved in part through promoting bicycling as a viable method of transportation. In recent years, a renewed (or new, in some locations) focus has been placed on raising the priority of bicyclists on transportation facilities. While historically, bicyclists may have been an afterthought and expected to share space with motor vehicles, this outdated attitude is giving way to newer approaches which attempt to allocate user space in a more equitable fashion. Current design standards and guidance documents for bicycle focused infrastructure have taken on a rekindled importance as operators attempt to improve rider comfort and safety through both geometric (cycle tracks, bike boxes, mixing zones, and protected intersections, to mention a few) and signal timing (bicycle signal) treatments. However, the availability of information from such varied resources can cause challenges for practitioners. With so much available, which guidance is the most desirable? Which of these manuals has the most up to date information? Which ideas / treatment / guidance has been vetted by research, as opposed to other guidance which might be experiential in nature? Are there liability impacts of using suggestions and design guidelines in these various references?

To address these issues, this White Paper Proposal proposes efforts in three specific areas: 1. Synthesize available literature and published guides to determine where the state of the practice lies, and determine the roots of the information in various guidebooks (i.e., is it research or experiential based?). 2. Survey practitioners regarding the use of these guidebooks. Proposed topics include, but are not limited to, preferred guidelines for bicycle infrastructure, workplace guidance for using specificreferences, personal preferences for specific guidebooks, liability reasons for selecting guidance, and external forces driving the use of specific guidance, among 3 others. At a minimum, the survey will be distributed to all 50 state departments of transportation throughout the US, as well as to the departments of transportation of at least the most 20 populous cities in the US, and finally any departments of transportations noted as authors of guidance documents identified previously. Lastly, time and budget permitting, follow up phone calls may be made to select survey respondents. 3. Synthesize information from the literature review and survey to provide holistic guidance on information available in various design guides, the efficacy of such information and, which ones might be better suited to specific operational situations or type of agency.


Edward Smaglik
Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Construction Management, and Environmental Engineering
2112 S Huffer Ln
Flagstaff, Aritonza 86011
United States
[email protected]