ITE Journal - July 2020 - 39

in mind that comfort and stress are inversely related, agencies can
consider these "types" of bicyclists as they evaluate different bikeway
options and determine where higher quality facilities are needed
most within their bicycle network. For example, high-comfort and
low-stress networks, or, those networks with lower exposure to high
motor vehicle speeds and volume, are appealing to the most people;
low-comfort and high-stress networks are appealing to the least when
comparing relatively similar options from Point A to B.

Trade-Off Decisions in Practice
Bikeway selection is a context-sensitive decision that involves a
planning- and engineering-based analytical process. Sometimes
once a preferred bikeway type has been identified there are
real-world conditions like available right-of-way and budget that
may require adjustments to preferred design values or eventually
downgrading the facility to the next best bikeway type and/
or providing a parallel bikeway. Other factors involved in the
discussion of trade-offs may include traffic volume and mix;
parking and curbside activity; driveways and intersections;
vulnerable populations; connectivity gaps; transit considerations;
and more.
For instance, a conventional bike lane may yield high comfort
when vehicle speeds and volumes are low, but the design also relies
upon perfect driver and bicyclist behaviors to avoid crashes. A
separated bike lane or a sidepath with protected intersections may
be the most comfortable for bicyclists due to separation from motor
vehicle traffic, but visibility may be reduced due to parking, which
would then require vehicle parking restrictions.

FHWA

10k
9k

Bicyclist Design User Profiles.

8k

As the Guide introduces each bikeway type and important
considerations, it draws on research where available, and
encourages Guide users to employ engineering judgement, design
flexibility, documentation, and experimentation. The efficacy of
each bikeway type is dependent upon factors like traffic volume,
traffic speed, intersection design, and land use. Consideration of
road context (i.e., rural, suburban, or urban settings), project type
(i.e., new construction, reconstruction, or retrofit), and project
purpose all help further refine the menu of bikeway options. For
example, retrofit projects often have more constraints, so it may be
more challenging to implement the preferred bikeway type.
Despite the expanding toolbox of bikeway facilities, intersections
remain a challenging component of bikeway design, so while the
mechanics of intersection design are not the focus of the Guide, the
Guide summarizes the intersection performance characteristics
for each bikeway type (i.e., safety, visibility, predictability, etc.) and
explains the relationship between bicyclist comfort and exposure at
different types of intersections. Bikeway design should be consistent
and continuous from midblock locations through intersections. For
example, it is not in keeping with best practices to design midblock
separated bike lanes that transition to shared lanes at each intersection as this breaks the continuity of the bikeway and exposes
the bicyclist to motor vehicles. For more information on specific
strategies at intersections, NACTO's Don't Give Up at the Intersection
details different geometric designs and signal phasing strategies.5

7k

Separated Bike Lane
or Shared Use Path

6k
5k

Bike Lane
(Buffer Pref.)

4k
3k
2k
1k

15

20

25

30

35

40

45

50

55

FHWA

0

Shared Lane
or Bike
Boulevard

Notes
1
2
3

Chart assumes operating speeds are similar to posted speeds. If they differ, use
operating speed rather than posted speed.
Advisory bike lanes may be an option where traffic volume is <3K ADT.
See Section 4.4 for a discussion of alternatives if the preferred bikeway type is not
feasible.

This chart provides guidance for how motor vehicle volume and
speed can be taken into consideration to determine a preferred
bikeway type for urban, urban core, suburban, and rural town
contexts. The Guide includes a separate chart for preferred shoulder
widths on rural roadways. Section 4 of the Guide describes many
other considerations that will arise in the bikeway selection process.
w w w .i t e.or g

J u ly 2020

39


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