The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 53-12 [Final (Synthesis)]

Practices for Adding Bicycle and Pedestrians Access on Existing Vehicle Bridges
[ NCHRP 20-05 (Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Staff Responsibility: Trey Joseph Wadsworth
Research Agency: Texas Transportation Institute
Principal Investigator: Joan Hudson
Effective Date: 12/22/2021
Completion Date: 6/22/2023
Comments: Published as NCHRP Synthesis Report 604.
Fiscal Year: 2022

Final Scope
Many state departments of transportation (DOTs) have created plans for improving or expanding existing bicycle/pedestrian networks to increase active transportation options along their state-owned roadways. Expanding these networks on roadways might be accomplished by reallocating roadway space to dedicate space or by constructing new facilities to safely accommodate active transportation users. However, since many vehicle bridges were not originally designed for active transportation users (e.g., no sidewalks or shoulders), they represent one source of gaps in existing and potential active transportation networks. Closing these gaps across an existing vehicle bridge is a common problem for state DOTs with no “one size fits all” solution.
The objective of this synthesis is to document the practices employed by state DOTs to provide or improve access to existing vehicle bridges for active transportation users. The synthesis will only focus on existing vehicle bridges and not on new construction.
Information to be gathered includes (but is not limited to):
  • Practices for state DOTs to consider in retrofits (bridge identification, scoping, and funding, known ADA accessibility barriers, statewide bicycle/pedestrian plan, safety issues, policy changes requiring active transportation accommodations, etc.);
  • Characteristics of the bridges where access has been added (e.g., tolled/non-tolled, historic, superstructure, original lane layout, average daily traffic, or another unique characteristic that enabled success);
  • Techniques and standard details that DOTs have used, are using, or have considered using to improve active transportation access to existing vehicle bridges (e.g., separated bicycle lanes, shared bicycle/vehicle lanes, sidewalk extensions, new sidewalks, cantilevered sidewalks, dedicated bridges, or other treatments);
  • Considerations for successful deployment (ADA compliance on and off the bridge, scoping processes, funding strategies, project coordination and timing with other infrastructure owners and operators, etc.);
  • Practices on knowledge transfer between state DOTs and other infrastructure owners and operators (identifying successes, overcoming barriers, design criteria, and policies, etc.);
  • Practices on state DOT bicycle/pedestrian coordinator roles in bridge retrofits;
  • Case studies of selected state DOT practices and projects to exhibit (minimum three).
Information will be gathered through a literature review, a survey of state DOTs, and follow-up interviews with selected agencies for the development of case examples. Information gaps and suggestions for research to address those gaps will be identified.
The final report is available at: https://doi.org/10.17226/27063.

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