Cycleway Design Toolbox, New South Wales, Australia

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Cycleway Design Toolbox, New South Wales, Australia

Designing for cycling and micromobility

Balancing the movement of people and goods with the amenity and quality of places becomes more of a challenge as the population grows. Transport for NSW initiated Movement and Place, a cross-government framework for planning and managing roads and streets across the state. It considers the whole street by addressing the needs of all users, including pedestrians, bicycle riders, deliveries, private vehicles, and public transport.

Aurecon developed the Cycleway Design Toolbox, one of the guides within the framework, to be used by practitioners, designers and evaluators. It provides guidance on desired outcomes for cycling and other forms of micromobility. Based on an integrated approach to planning, the design principles and recommendations aim to address the desired movement and place functions, and traffic speed and volume of the location.

Demonstrating the positive impact for people cycling

There are five internationally recognised design principles that cycling-friendly infrastructure need to meet: safe, connected, direct, attractive, and comfortable. The toolbox includes an additional principle: to be adaptable. Adaptability is ensuring that cycling infrastructure can change over time to accommodate the evolving needs and demands of its users.

These design principles assist practitioners to effectively integrate cycling facilities into urban and suburban environments in ways that balance the differing needs of cycleway users, and their movement patterns.

By providing infrastructure that is suitable and accessible for all ages and abilities, cycling and micromobility can become a viable mode of transport for a wider range of potential users.

Designing cycling-friendly infrastructure

When creating the toolbox, Aurecon considered the outcomes and experience of all road users in the context of cycling infrastructure. It is both a transport planning task and an urban design task to maximise the propensity of people to walk and cycle. Cycleways should be designed to be as wide as possible, to allow for safe rest spaces, overtaking, future growth in ridership, and to accommodate riders of all ages and abilities.

Aurecon’s approach ensured the toolbox was headlined by a simple method to identify preferred cycleway facility types, centred on three key factors:

  1. Movement and place typology
  2. Speed of motorised traffic
  3. Volume of motorised traffic

The toolbox also highlights key additional factors influencing cycleway design outcomes, such as the local context, available space, frequency of driveways and side streets, on-street parking, level of pedestrian activity, and predicted demand for the cycleway.

A practical guide for cycleway design

Within the toolbox, practitioners have access to a range of design options and treatments for cycleway facilities. It includes a suite of optimal road and intersection configurations across a range of cycleway facility types, with accompanying design considerations and best practice examples.

Developing attractive cycleway outcomes is also part of a design process that requires consultation and engagement between a range of design and engineering specialists, as well as meaningful engagement with the community to ensure that any solution meets their needs.

Temporary measures for cycleways and road safety

As the COVID-19 pandemic changed our travel habits, ‘pop-up’ (temporary) cycleways emerged across cities in Australia. It was a way to offer more people an alternative mode of transport.

The pandemic is only be one of various reasons motivating the case for the temporary cycleways. The toolbox sets out the instruments for redistributing road space within short timeframes in favour of cycling.

Temporary cycling infrastructure should aim to connect disparate sections of the existing network, accounting for future connectivity and demand.

Quality cycling infrastructure for the future

Cycling and the investment in quality cycleways can bring benefits to both users and non-users, including:

  • Health and wellbeing through increased physical activity
  • Reduced local air and noise pollution
  • Reduced congestion and improved journey time reliability
  • More efficient use of limited road space
  • Improved community access to local shops, services, employment and parks and recreational activities
  • Enables active transport to local schools

The Cycleway Design Toolbox provides clear guidance on when there is a need to protect bicycle riders from motorised traffic, and how to provide priority for riders at signalised and unsignalised intersections.

This approach is critical as it puts cycleway users at the centre of transport planning and delivery. It offers a common language and core process of collaboration to support meaningful discussions with communities about how to address our future transport challenges.

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