Guide to Best Practices

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

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

Special agreements may be negotiated between government agencies and private organizations for permission to use utility corridors, fire roads, or railway beds for bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Abandoned rail line and other right of way may be obtained by purchase or through agreements with landowners.

IX. Related Planning Issues

This section describes a number of specific planning issues that closely relate to nonmotorized transportation planning.

  1. School Trip Management

School trips are often made by walking and cycling, and so deserve special attention in nonmotorized transportation planning. But this can only occur if school sites are selected and designed for pedestrian access. A study in South Carolina found that the portion of students walking to school is far higher in older (pre-1970) schools than in schools that were built recently because the newer schools tend to be located at the urban fringe.52 An access plan should be developed for every major educational facility, from grade schools to universities, which addresses constraints and problems to nonmotorized travel.
In recent years, an increasing portion of school trips have been made by automobile. This creates a number of problems, including traffic congestion, parking, and neighborhood disruption problems around schools, reduced exercise for children, and environmental impacts. The resulting vehicle congestion and increased collision risk further degrades conditions for nonmotorized modes, encouraging even more driving. Some schools now encourage the use of “active” (i.e., walking and cycling) modes in order to:

  • Increase physical activity and exercise.
  • Encourage healthier lifestyle habits.

  • Reduce congestion and parking problems around schools.

  • Create safer and calmer streets and neighborhoods.

  • Protect the environment.


School Trip Management

“Active and Safe Routes to School” (Ottawa; 888-UB-ACTIV; 613-562-531; is a Canada-wide program to encourage the use of active modes of transportation to and from school.

Ministry of Transportation and Highways, Safe Crossings: Guidelines for School Crossing Programs, Road Safety Program, ICBC (Vancouver; 604-661-6643;, 1998.

Joseph P. Savage, et al., A Guidebook for Student Pedestrian Safety, Washington State Department of Transportation (Olympia; 1996.

SUSTRANS Safe Routes to School Project ( is a demonstration project in the United Kingdom to show how children can be encouraged to cycle and walk to school.

School Travel, School Travel Advisory Group, (, 1999.

Way To Go! School Program, “small steps towards a big difference,” (Vancouver; 1-877-325-3636; provides resources and support for school traffic reduction programs, including a variety of safety education strategies and materials.

2. Traffic Management and Traffic Calming

Traffic management includes strategies to control the amount of traffic on particular streets, including street layout, traffic routing, and traffic control devices. Traffic calming is the name for road design strategies specifically intended to reduce vehicle speeds and volumes.

Traffic management and traffic calming programs are often a critical component of pedestrian and bicycle planning. Virtually any traffic calming measure enhances the pedestrian environment by reducing traffic speeds and volumes. Traffic calming can be used to create a network of streets that encourage cycling. When traffic volumes and speeds are sufficiently reduced, for example, through residential neighborhoods, the need for special bike lanes or separated bicycle trails is reduced.


Traffic Management and Traffic Calming

APA, Traffic Calming (1995), American Planning Association (

Dan Burden and Peter Lagerwey, Road Diets; Fixing the Big Roads, Walkable Communities (, 1999.

Stephen Burrington & Veronika Thiebach, Take Back Your Streets; How to Protect Communities from Asphalt and Traffic, Conservation Law Foundation (Boston;, 1995.

Congress for the New Urbanism’s Narrow Streets database ( provides information on narrower street standards adopted in various communities.

David Engwicht, Street Reclaiming; Creating Livable Streets and Vibrant Communities, New Society Publishers (, 1999. David Engwicht Communications ( provides information on “street reclaiming.”

Institute of Transportation Engineers (Washington DC; publishes a number of useful traffic calming and pedestrian planning documents. Residential Street Design and Traffic Control, provides detailed guidelines for neighborhood traffic management. Traditional Neighborhood Development Street Design Guidelines, 1997. Traffic Calming: State of the Practice. 1999, has a collection of case studies.

The Local Government Commission ( provides a variety of useful material including Street Design Guidelines for Healthy Neighborhoods by Dan Burden.

The city of Portland ( provides excellent information and materials on traffic calming and pedestrian planning.

City of Seattle (206-684-4000, Fax: 206-684-5360; has an outstanding neighborhood planning process that includes traffic calming resources. Making Streets that Work is a particularly useful document

Transportation Association of Canada (Ottawa; 613-736-1350; publishes the Canadian Guide to Neighborhood Traffic Calming and sponsors traffic calming workshops.

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