In order to encourage bicycling, cities have been constructing new infrastructure that physically separates cyclists from motor vehicle traffic. Without these facilities, increasing the number of people who bike for transportation may be difficult. However, when trying to build safe bike facilities, many cities are challenged by high-speed arterials cutting through downtowns. These arterials are prime locations for protected bike lanes and may also be state highways. This provides an exciting opportunity for states to work with cities to improve multimodal opportunities on state-owned roads that travel through dense urban areas.
FHWA has released its Guidebook for Developing Pedestrian and Bicycle Performance Measures. Establishing performance measures that go beyond delay, congestion, level of service, and safety for drivers—especially including good metrics for non-motorized modes—has been a difficult but important goal for many transportation agencies. This publication is a big step forward to help states, regions, and communities in both project selection and progress toward community goals.
While cities and developers have recognized the value of transit oriented development for quite some time, the advantages of proximity to and amenities building on active lifestyles and transportation are just beginning to emerge. Active Transportation and Real Estate: The Next Frontier, a new report from the Urban Land Institute, looks at the rise of residential, office, and mixed-use developments built around active transportation infrastructure and amenities.
When bike sharing first began, many commentators and critics expressed concern that shared bicycle systems would lead to high crash and injury rates. Yet the injury and overall crash rate for bike share use has been extremely low. The researchers at the Mineta Transportation Institute examined why this is so.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report addressing the recent increase in deaths and injuries among pedestrians and bicycle users. The report outlined the causes, responses from transportation agencies, and remaining challenges to address the disparity in crash trends between car drivers and those using non-motorized transportation. The report also acknowledges historical road design practices as a major contributor to current safety trends.
In June 2012, Dr. Gerald Brett Weiss, a nationally known neurosurgeon, was killed when he was hit from behind while riding his bicycle in the community of Indian Wells, CA. In mid-November of this year his family won a $5.6 million judgment against Indian Wells, claiming that the city was negligent in not providing sufficient width for bike lanes or lighting that would have prevented the crash.
Alta Planning + Design is now using a modified bicycle, termed the “Frankenbike,” to assess bike trail conditions. While vans equipped with specialized measurement devices are used extensively by transportation agencies to assess roadway pavement conditions, the condition of bike trails has not generally received the same level of attention.
At the November 4 Moving Together conference on healthy transportation, MassDOT will unveil their new design and planning guide for separated bike lanes. Lou Rabito, Complete Streets Engineer at MassDOT, thinks this is the first state guide to reference the CROW design manual from the Netherlands, considered by many advocates as the global gold standard.
Tennessee DOT recently announced the creation of a $30 million Multimodal Access Fund to support local projects that improve pedestrian, bicycle, and transit access to state routes and transit hubs. A handful of states have implemented new mechanisms for funding multimodal projects in light of insufficient federal funds, but Tennessee’s dedication of existing revenues shows a unique commitment to providing transportation choices in the state.
This report provides infrastructure cost estimates for pedestrian and bicycle treatments, infrastructure, and amenities from across the country. Costs vary widely, but the report includes high, low, and median costs from a variety of sources.