Pedestrian and Bicyclist Standards and Innovations in Large Central Cities

This report is a culmination of a year-long study reviewing the common challenges and opportunities that large central cities share in promoting bicycling and walking, and provides examples of best practices in various cities nationally and internationally. For many years, planning and policy decisions regarding surface transportation in large central cities took place within a framework in which the roadway and transit were central, with pedestrians and bicyclists just two more components that had to be worked in where possible. However, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) began to change this way of thinking beginning in 1991 when it provided new sources of funding for bicycle and pedestrian facilities; these provisions were extended under the 1998 Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21).1

Nevertheless, some fifteen years later, promoting walking and bicycling while ensuring safety and mobility for the overall transportation system, continues to present a challenge, especially for large central cities, which must balance multiple and competing interests while facing limited space and funding. Further, they must address such issues with limited data in a number of areas, including safety, design, and usage.

Funded by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and performed in conjunction with the National Association of City Transportation Officials, Inc. (NACTO), this report is the culmination of a year-long effort aimed at reviewing pedestrian and bicyclist standards and innovations in large central cities. The study involved a literature review and analysis of the challenges facing large central cities when trying to support pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as a review of several promising approaches being taken in various cities. In September 2005, a peer-to-peer session with representatives from ten cities, and several agencies and advocacy groups, was held to fill in gaps related to these approaches and policy concerns. The following report is a compilation and synthesis of the findings from both these endeavors.

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