The State of the Practice
NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide
The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) have developed design guidelines for urban bikeways based on treatments field tested in some of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States. The design guidelines describe standards for bike lanes, cycle tracks, intersections, traffic signals, and signs/markings, with the overall goal of making it easier for cities to create streets that are complete, safe, attractive, and enjoyable for cyclists.
New York City has implemented many treatments described in the guidelines, and the result is an improvement in safety for all road users: cyclists, pedestrians, transit users, and drivers. The guidelines can be accessed free-of-charge at NACTO’s website.
NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide website
How do these innovative designs, treatments, markings, and signage fit with the canon of traffic engineering? FHWA’s page on Bicycle Facilities and the MUTCD helps answer that question.
Bikeway Design Guides
Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities
is a national manual published by the American Association
of State Highway & Transportation Organizations
(AASHTO, for short). Many states use this Guide as their
own manual for bikeway design details. In those states,
towns and cities are expected to do so, as well.
Other states have their own design guides.
Cities and towns in these states would be expected to use
the state guides as their main source. However, they may also
refer to the AASHTO Guide as an additional reference.
Below are some examples of state bikeway guides:
Florida Bicycle Facilities Planning and Design Handbook
Oregon Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan
Vermont Pedestrian and Bicycle Facility Planning and Design
Wisconsin Bicycle Facility Design Handbook
Does your state use the AASHTO GUIDE or their own guide? The
to find out is to contact your state bicycle coordinator.
For a list of state bicycle coordinators, click
Pedestrian Design Guides
AASHTO Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation
of Pedestrian Facilities is a new
(2004) national manual published by the American Association
of State Highway & Transportation
Organizations (AASHTO, for short).
Since it was only just published in 2004, many states
had already created their own design manuals. Some may
replace their manuals with the AASHTO Pedestrian Guide
(as Arizona did with their bikeway
guide). However, others may stick with their own manuals.
Below are some examples of state pedestrian design guides
and Vermont guides listed above also cover pedestrian topics):
Pedestrian Facilities Planning and Design Handbook
Pedestrian & Streetscape Guide (PDF Format - 3.87M)
State Pedestrian Facilities Guidebook
Does your state use the AASHTO Guide or their own guide? The
to find out is to contact your state pedestrian coordinator.
For a list of state pedestrian coordinators, click
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires agencies
their transportation systems "accessible" for those
with disabilities. How do the ADA and related laws, standards,
and guidance comes into play in bicycle and pedestrian work?
Most often, they affect the design of sidewalks, ramps, street
crossings, trails, and the like. Here are some resources to
consult when designing such features. Two primary ADA resources
are the U.S. Access Board and the Federal Highway Administration.
The U.S. Access Board is an "an independent Federal
to accessibility for people with disabilities." It publishes
guidelines, standards, newsletters, and other helpful resources.
The Board also has staff who can help with training, provide
answers to questions, and more. To visit the Access Board's
home page, click
The Board offers numerous publications. To view a list, click
Two resources of particular interest are:
Public Rights-of-Way Design Guide
a True Community: Accessible Public Rights-of-Way
The Federal Highway Administration also publishes accessibility
resources. Here are some of particular interest:
Sidewalks and Street Crossings and Informational Guide
- A short and simple guide that deals with the basics. (PDF
Format - 644K)
2) Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access - More detailed
information on the subject.
Part I: Review
of Existing Guidelines and Practices
Part II: Best
Practices Design Guide