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

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 While historically, bicyclists may have been an afterthought and expected to share space with motor vehicles, this outdated attitude is giving way to newer approaches which attempt to allocate user space in a more equitable fashion.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 specific references, 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.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Funding: $24997
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Department of Transportation

      Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
      1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
      Washington, DC    20590

      Department of Transportation

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology
      1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Managing Organizations:

      METRANS Transportation Center

      University of Southern California
      Los Angeles, CA  United States  90089-0626
    • Performing Organizations:

      Northern Arizona University

      Civil and Environmental Engineering
      PO box 15600
      Flagstaff, Arizona  United States  86011
    • Principal Investigators:

      Smaglik, Edward

    • Start Date: 20220815
    • Expected Completion Date: 20230814
    • Actual Completion Date: 0
    • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01854745
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: National Center for Metropolitan Transportation Research
    • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747109
    • Files: UTC, RIP
    • Created Date: Aug 16 2022 6:51PM