Photo by Chris Jordan

The State of the Practice

Design Guidance

NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide

NACTO 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
http://nacto.org/cities-for-cycling/design-guide/

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.
http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bikeped/mutcd_bike.htm


Bikeway Design Guides


The 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 Handbook
- Wisconsin Bicycle Facility Design Handbook

Does your state use the AASHTO GUIDE or their own guide? The best way
to find out is to contact your state bicycle coordinator. For a list of state bicycle coordinators, click here.

Pedestrian Design Guides


The 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 (the Oregon
and Vermont guides listed above also cover pedestrian topics):

- Florida Pedestrian Facilities Planning and Design Handbook
- Georgia Pedestrian & Streetscape Guide (PDF Format - 3.87M)
- Washington State Pedestrian Facilities Guidebook

Does your state use the AASHTO Guide or their own guide? The best way
to find out is to contact your state pedestrian coordinator. For a list of state pedestrian coordinators, click here.

Accessibility Guides

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires agencies to make
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 agency devoted
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 here.

The Board offers numerous publications. To view a list, click here.

Two resources of particular interest are:
1) Accessible Public Rights-of-Way Design Guide
2) Building a True Community: Accessible Public Rights-of-Way

The Federal Highway Administration also publishes accessibility resources. Here are some of particular interest:
1) Accessible 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