Cities Unveil New Urban Bikeway Design Guide

April 04, 2011

Submitted by Conor Semler & Jamie Parks

For an industry that cherishes standards and regulations, transportation engineers have long operated without clear guidance and direction in bikeway planning. Thanks to the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), this has finally changed.

Earlier this month the coalition of transportation commissioners from major American cities launched a new design manual for bicycle-friendly streets. NACTO is an association that shares transportation practice and experience among its members and represents cities in national transportation issues.

NACTO undertook development of the Urban Bikeway Design Guide because many of its members found existing design manuals inadequate for promoting bicycle transportation.

To create the Guide, officials from NACTO cities and a team of top planners and designers conducted an extensive survey of expert knowledge, existing guidelines from countries and cities around the world, and innovative projects in the U.S.

Kittelson worked on the project team, which was led by Alta Planning + Design, and led the development of the bike signals section and provided support and input on all of the other treatments.

The focus of the guide is street facilities, including cycle tracks or protected bike lanes, which provide more separation between cyclists and motor vehicle traffic. The online Guide includes detailed plan drawings, three-dimension renderings of the designs, and pictures of actual projects from around the country. The NACTO Guide can be adopted by individual cities, counties, or states as either a stand-alone document or as a supplement to other roadway guidance documents.

The Urban Bikeway Design Guide is an interactive document that can be found online at

($3) This article was written by Conor Semler (left), an Engineering Associate, and Jamie Parks (right), a Senior Planner. Both Conor and Jamie work out of the Baltimore, MD office of Kittelson & Associates, Inc. and they also are working on a variety of bike-related projects across the country.

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