Guide to Best Practices

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Victoria Transport Policy Institute

1250 Rudlin Street, Victoria, BC, V8V 3R7, CANADA

Phone & Fax 250-360-1560

Efficiency - Equity - Clarity”

Pedestrian and Bicycle Planning

A Guide to Best Practices

3 May, 2018


Todd Litman, Robin Blair, Bill Demopoulos, Nils Eddy, Anne Fritzel, Danelle Laidlaw, Heath Maddox, Katherine Forster


This guide covers all aspects of pedestrian and bicycle planning. It is intended for policy makers, planners and advocates who want the best current information on ways to make their communities better places for walking and cycling. It provides basic information on various planning and design concepts, and offers extensive references to help implement them. It describes general nonmotorized planning practices, how to measure and predict nonmotorized travel, how to evaluate and prioritize projects, and how to implement various programs that support nonmotorized transportation. It covers planning for paths, sidewalks, bikelanes, street improvements, road and path maintenance, road safety, personal security, universal access (including features to accommodate people with disabilities), nonmotorized traffic law enforcement, education and encouragement programs, and integration with a community’s strategic plans and various other programs. There are also appendices that provide more detailed information on planning, design and evaluation.

This is an ongoing project. We welcome your feedback.

Transport planning practices must change if they are to incorporate nonmotorized modes. While walking and cycling have long been recognized as important activities, mobility and access as measured in traditional planning practices focused on motor vehicle travel. There is increasing recognition that balanced transportation choices are important to individual travelers and society overall. This guide presents best practices for nonmotorized transport planning.

Planning for nonmotorized travel can benefit your community in many ways. It can remove barriers to mobility and increase the safety and comfort of pedestrians and cyclists, broaden travel options for non-drivers, reduce conflicts between motorists and other road users, reduce automobile traffic and the problems it creates, increase recreational activity and exercise, encourage nonmotorized tourism, better accommodate people with disabilities, and help create more livable communities. Improved pedestrian and cycling conditions can benefit everybody in your community regardless of how much they use nonmotorized travel modes.
This guide describes how to develop local pedestrian and bicycle plans. It discusses reasons that communities should develop such plans, provides specific instructions for developing your planning process and creating your plan, discusses how to integrate nonmotorized planning into other local planning activities, and provides an extensive list of pedestrian and bicycle planning resources. This guide describes how to use available resources most efficiently to improve walking and cycling conditions in your community.
A pedestrian and cycling plan is not just a map showing paths and trails. It can address a variety of issues including:
  1. Coordination of nonmotorized transportation improvements with other community plans.

  2. Encouraging nonmotorized transport for transportation and recreation.

  3. Nonmotorized safety education programs.

  4. Traffic management and traffic calming.

  5. Improving enforcement of traffic laws related to nonmotorized travel.

  6. Pedestrian and bicycle facility planning and design.

Table of Contents

Abstract 1

I. Introduction: Why Plan for Walking and Cycling 5

II. Transport Planning Overview 7

1.Planning Process 7

2.Scoping and Background Research 9

3.Measuring Current Nonmotorized Travel 10

4.Predicting Potential Nonmotorized Travel 12

4.Evaluating Existing Conditions and Facilities 13

5.Identify and Evaluate Constraints and Opportunities 14

6.Prioritize Improvements 16

7.Budgeting and Evaluation 17

8.Economic Development Impacts of Nonmotorized Transport 20

III. Nonmotorized Transportation Planning 22

1. Integrating With State or Provincial Planning 22

2. Planning Multi-Use Trails 22

3.Dealing With Trail Conflicts 24

4.Facility Maintenance 24

5.Spot Improvement Programs 25

6.Pedestrian and Bicycle Needs At Construction Projects 26

7.Pedestrian and Bicycle Coordinators 26

8.Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) 27

IV. Planning for Pedestrians 29

1.Types of Pedestrians 30

2.Pedestrian Facilities and Planning 31

3.Pedestrian Standards and Improvements 32

4. Universal Design (Including Access for People with Disabilities) 35

5. Pedestrian Safety Programs 37

V. Planning for Bicyclists 38

1.Types of Cyclists 38

2.Integrating Cycling Into Roadway Planning 38

3.Bicycle Network Planning 38

4.Accommodating Cyclists on Rural Roads 41

5.Bicycle Boulevards 41

6.Bicycle Parking Facilities 42

7.Integrating Cycling and Transit 44

8.Roadway Maintenance for Cyclists 46

VI. Safety Programs 48

1.Safety Education 48

2.Traffic Law Enforcement 49

VII. Encouragement and Promotion 50

VIII. Implementation Strategies and Tools 52

1.Comprehensive Plans 52

2.Road Design, Reconstruction and Maintenance Requirements 52

3.Municipal Laws 53

4.Major Projects and Site Plan Agreements 53

5.Working with Neighborhood and Business Associations 54

6.Land Exchange, Dedication of Parkland with Private Developer 54

7.Rural Areas, Utility Corridors, Fire Roads and Rails-to-Trail Opportunities 54

IX. Related Planning Issues 55

1.School Trip Management 55

2. Traffic Management and Traffic Calming 56

3.Roadway Access Management 57

4.Livable Community Planning 58

Appendix 1 Model Pedestrian And Bicycle Plan 60

Introduction 60




The Engineering Department Will: 63

The Parks and Recreation Department Will: 64

Law Enforcement Agencies Will: 64

Public Involvement 64

Appendix 2 Quick Facility Design Guidelines 67

Pedestrian Planning Guidelines 67

Bicycle Facility Design Guidelines 69

Appendix 3 Evaluating Nonmotorized Travel 72

Surveys 72

Crash Data 73

Field Surveys 73

Bicycle and Pedestrian Level-of-Service Ratings 74

The Barrier Effect 75

Cycling Condition Evaluation Techniques 75

Pedestrian Condition Evaluation Techniques 76

Prioritizing Improvements and Selecting Preferred Options 78

Appendix 4 Exemplary Bicycle and Pedestrian Plans 82

Bicycle Plans 82

Pedestrian plans 83

Appendix 5 Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Resources 84

Roadway Design Resources 84

Pedestrian and Bicycle Planning 84

Pedestrian Planning Publications 85

Bicycle Planning Publications 86

Useful Organizations 86

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