EVALUATING SUITABILITY OF ROADWAYS FOR BICYCLE USE: TOWARD A CYCLING LEVEL-OF-SERVICE STANDARD
Since 1965, traffic engineers and planners have used a measurement known as level of service (LOS) to describe the operating conditions within a traffic stream and their perception by motorists, passengers, or both. Although the most recent edition of the publication that defines these standards, the Highway Capacity Manual, does contain a short section on bicycles, it is more concerned with the effects of bicycles on traffic flows within intersections than with the ability of various types of roads and traffic conditions to provide quality of service to cyclists. In the last several years, some researchers and planners interested in bicycling issues have made attempts to develop an index of roadway operational conditions important to bicycle users. Although there have been several different approaches to the problem, recent work has centered on a method based on five descriptive factors: per-lane traffic volume, speed of traffic, right-hand-lane width (including the width of bicycle lanes or road shoulders), overall pavement quality, and the generation of conflicting travel paths. Taken together, these efforts have come close to developing a practical and meaningful roadway LOS standard for bicycle use. Work remains to be done in several areas: the relationship between LOS values and the perception of various cyclists as to the quality of service provided by a roadway, the role of level of service in cyclist route selection, and the applicability of the methodology to bicyclists with different skills and use needs.
This paper appears in Transportation Research Record No. 1438, Research Issues on Bicycling, Pedestrians, and Older Drivers.
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Design; Highways; Pedestrians and Bicyclists; Planning and Forecasting; Research; Safety and Human Factors; Terminals and Facilities; I21: Planning of Transport Infrastructure; I82: Accidents and Transport Infrastructure
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Dec 1 1994 12:00AM