Guide to Best Practices

II. Transport Planning Overview

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II. Transport Planning Overview

  1. Planning Process

Any planning should be based on an overall problem statement, vision, and general goals. The vision and goals help determine specific objectives. This also determines the evaluation criteria that will be used for prioritizing actions, programs, projects, and tasks.
Problem Statement, Vision, and Goals

(examples: safety, health, mobility, equity, economic development)


(examples: teach safety, improve roadway and trail facilities, increased nonmotorized travel)

Evaluation Criteria

(examples: crash/injury rates, Bicycle Compatibility Index, nonmotorized travel rate)

Actions, Programs, Projects, and Tasks

(examples: adopt design standards, provide safety program, implement road and trail projects)

An effective planning process involves various stakeholders, including staff from other related agencies, potential users, and other groups who may be impacted by the plan. This process can provide long-term benefits and support the plan’s implementation by educating officials and community members about pedestrian and cycling issues, establishing communication between technical staff and users, addressing potential conflicts, and creating an on-going framework for pedestrian and cycling planning. Below is a list of typical steps in a planning process.
Typical steps in a planning process:

  1. Establish problem statement.*

  2. Scoping and background research.

  3. Develop planning process.

  4. Establish vision, goals, objectives, and evaluation criteria.*
  5. Identify constraints and opportunities.*

  6. Prioritize projects and programs.*

  7. Develop implementation plan and budget.

  8. Program evaluation.

  9. Update and modify plan as needed.*

* Requires public involvement

Coordination With Other Planning Activities

Nonmotorized planning requires coordination among various municipal and regional planning activities. Table 1 shows some of these relationships. When developing a planning process, other appropriate agencies should be consulted. For example, transportation agencies should be contacted early in the planning process, invited to participate in technical committees, consulted concerning issues that affect provincial highways, and have a chance to review draft plans.
In general, pedestrian improvements are planned at the neighborhood level, since that is the scale of most walking trips. Pedestrian improvements tend to be centered around focal points such as schools, residential, commercial, and high-density areas. Because cyclists travel farther, bicycle planning requires more coordination between jurisdictions to create an effective regional bicycle network. Grants may be available to fund some local planning activities and special projects.

Table 1 Activities To Be Coordinated With NMT Planning

Type of Planning


Community “strategic,” “comprehensive,” and “sustainability” planning.

Include nonmotorized transportation and pedestrian/bicycle friendly development strategies as a component of community strategic and comprehensive plans. Use nonmotorized transport to help achieve sustainability objectives.

Regional and local transportation

Ensure that pedestrian and cycling facilities integrate with regional facilities and attractions, including roadway construction and reconstruction, transportation terminals, transportation demand management, and transit planning.

Neighborhood plans

Ensure that neighborhood traffic management projects include sidewalks, bicycle routes, and traffic calming and traffic safety features that benefit walking and cycling.

Municipal and zoning bylaws

Ensure that zoning laws incorporate suitable sidewalk and bicycle parking requirements.

Street and new subdivision design standards

Develop pedestrian and cycle friendly street designs. Incorporate paths and connecting links when possible. Locate public services, such as schools, colleges and, local shops, within easy bicycling and walking of residences.

Land preservation

Incorporate trail and public greenspace development when planning land use and agricultural and other land preservation.

Traffic enforcement

Establish bicycle traffic law enforcement polices and pedestrian safety programs.

Economic development

Provide suitable pedestrian and cycling facilities to tourist attractions. Create trails that are tourist attractions and seek to provide public transit access to the trails and other tourist attractions.


Develop walking and cycling routes to public parks. Look for opportunities where parks can be included in walking and cycling networks.


Perform pedestrian and cycling audits around schools. Identify funding sources to improve pedestrian and cycling access to schools and related destinations. Encourage safe route to school programs.

This table illustrates examples of other community planning activities that could be coordinated with pedestrian and bicycle planning.

Public Involvement

Public involvement is an important component of nonmotorized planning. It broadens the scope of concerns, solutions, and perspectives to be considered in the plan, and can help identify potential problems early in the process. It can also help gain support for the plan’s implementation.
Public Involvement Techniques6

 Advisory committee

 Audio-visual presentation

 Discussion paper

 News release, brochure and mail-out

 Open house (public information drop-in)

 Public meeting

 Site tour

Small group meeting

 Survey and questionnaire

 Public workshop


Planning and Public Involvement

Desmond Connor, Constructive Citizen Participation: A Resource Book, Connor Development Services (, 1997, 232 pages.

Innovations in Public Involvement for Transportation Planning, Federal Highway Administration, (Washington DC), 1994.

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