The National Academies

NCHRP 15-60 [Active]

Proposed Update of the AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities

  Project Data
Funds: $400,000
Staff Responsibility: William C. Rogers
Research Agency: Toole Design Group
Principal Investigator: Bill Schultheiss
Effective Date: 6/1/2015
Completion Date: 9/1/2017
Comments: Research underway.

The AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities (hereafter referred to as the “Guide”) was released as the Fourth Edition in 2012. It covers bicycle planning and design for on-road and off-road bikeways, including fundamental operating characteristics of bicyclists and geometric design. The Guide was written in 2009 based on a plan developed in 2004. The bicycle transportation field is evolving rapidly so it is important to ensure the guidance is current. Even as the Guide was being developed, new types of bicycle facilities were being considered and installed in the United States. For instance, the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) published Separated Bikeways in 2013 and the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) published the Urban Bikeway Design Guide in 2012 that included several design elements not included or only briefly mentioned in the Guide (e.g., bike boxes, green lanes, cycle tracks, bicycle signals). In 2014, the U.S. Access Board issued a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for shared use paths, which will require changes to the Guide. In August 2013, the FHWA issued a Bicycle and Pedestrian Facility Design Flexibility memorandum supporting the use of the Guide, NACTO Guide, and ITE report to “further develop non-motorized transportation networks, particularly in urban areas.” Many state DOTs would like to see additional research on innovative bicycle treatments so that they can make informed decisions at the project level, including accommodation of different modes of traffic using the road. The Guide is referred to in the FHWA memorandum as the “primary national resource for planning, designing, and operating bicycle facilities” and so there is a need to keep it accurate and current.
The objective of this research is to update the AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities to provide decision makers with current tools to improve bicycle safety and mobility in various contexts. The Guide should address a broad range of issues and needs associated with bicycle facility planning and development, which may include but not be limited to the following:
  • Consideration of the AASHTO balloting comments to the 2012 guide
  • Identification and evaluation of new and existing types of bicycle facilities and treatments being considered or installed in the United States
  • Review of research and practice that complements the objective and addresses any gaps in the 2012 guide
  • Development of a framework for selecting appropriate facility types and design features based on context (e.g., traffic data, land use, expected users, roadway data, speed, flexibility)
  • Development of a tiered approach (i.e., nominal criteria where appropriate, guidance based on the body of knowledge, and information about new and innovative applications)
  • Consideration of users of all ages and abilities, including children
  • Preparation of common definitions of terms
  • Harmonization with applicable standards and guidelines
While the Guide should be directly applicable to most situations, it should also outline decision-making processes and criteria that would assist agencies in identifying flexible solutions.
A kick-off teleconference of the research team and NCHRP shall be scheduled within 1 month of the contract’s execution. The work plan proposed must be divided into tasks, with each task described in detail. The tasks must be divided into two phases. Phase I will consist of information gathering and planning tasks, culminating in the submittal of an interim report. The interim report will describe the work completed in the Phase I tasks and provide an updated work plan for the Phase II tasks and an outline of the updated Guide. A different format for the Guide may be proposed if the research team feels it is warranted. The updated Phase II work plan should address the manner in which the proposer intends to use the information obtained in Phase I to satisfy the project objective. A face-to-face interim meeting with NCHRP will be scheduled to discuss the interim report. Work on Phase II tasks shall not begin until the updated work plan is approved by NCHRP. The project schedule shall include 1 month for NCHRP review and approval of the interim report. The final deliverables will include the guide (suitable for review and balloting by the AASHTO Technical Committee on Non-motorized Transportation) plus a final report that documents the entire research effort and other deliverables as described in the research plan. Deliverables should also include an executive summary and a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation describing the background, objectives, research method, findings, and conclusions. The research team will be expected to present the results at a minimum of two meetings of AASHTO committees or other relevant national organizations to be determined by the NCHRP. Proposers may recommend additional deliverables to support the project objective. After completion of the proposed new Guide, the contractor will be required to address comments received during the AASHTO balloting process.
STATUS: Research underway.

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