6 Walking and Cycling

Chapter Overview

This chapter highlights the historical context of planning for walking and cycling, including select trends in active transportation. The history and planning context provides a foundation to explore key insights and methods for bicycle and pedestrian planning. The active transportation planning process is defined, including an explanation of the benefits of mode-specific plans, such as higher rates of walking and cycling. Overall, the chapter describes how a complete and connected multimodal transportation network that prioritizes bicyclists and pedestrians provides safe, convenient access for all persons.

Chapter Topics

  1. History of Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning
  2. Elements of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Network
  3. Why Plan for Bicyclists and Pedestrians?
  4. Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Process

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this chapter, readers will be able to:

  • Explain the need for active transportation planning
  • Describe trends in active transportation planning and practices
  • Apply effective methods for bicycle and pedestrian planning to a local community


History of Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning

Walking has been the primary mode of transportation for many people over many years. Cities and towns were designed for the pedestrian and provided access to other modes (e.g., trains) for long-distance travel. In the 1800’s the bicycle was invented and became a widely-used mode of transportation, experiencing a resurgence in the 1960s (Andrews, n.d.; Schultheiss et al., 2018). Automobile use significantly increased in the early 1900s, and again in the 1950s after the development of the interstate highway system (FHWA, 2017). This rise in personal vehicle ownership and the expansion of the highway system led to automobile dependence, sprawl, and myriad other impacts on the built environment and the movement of people.

In the 1970s, after the oil crisis and the intensification of several other environmental issues, there was a shift from planning for automobiles to include a broader range of transportation options (Schultheiss et al., 2018). As a result of this shift, planning practices and policies were developed and implemented to cultivate the benefits of active transportation.

As walking and cycling gradually became more prominent, the benefits of these modes were studied and promoted. Additionally, unsafe conditions resulting from conflicts between bicyclists/pedestrians and motorists gained more attention. As a result, the need for safety interventions was amplified. This led to the formation of advocacy programs focused on active transportation and increased interest in integrating active transportation considerations into new and existing planning movements. For example, the Rails to Trails movement was started in the 1980s, New Urbanism gained popularity in the 2000s, and livability was introduced as a principle for addressing pedestrian and bicycle needs in planning in 2010. Today, Complete Streets policies and Vision Zero initiatives are being implemented to create safe, accessible, and healthy streets for all transportation system users.

Vision Zero

“Vision Zero is a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all.”

Source: What is Vision Zero?

Vision Zero Network



Case Example: Portland, Oregon

Vision Zero Network includes several case studies on Vision Zero programs across the U.S. For example, Portland, Oregon focused on managing speed to improve safety. The case study describes the process implemented in Portland to accomplish the City’s Vision Zero goals. During this process, the City evaluated the effects of speed on crash survival rates with a specific focus on pedestrians and bicyclists. Through an analysis of traffic deaths per mile of posted speed limit, it was concluded that most traffic deaths were occurring on streets with higher posted speed limits. As a result, the City prioritized lower posted speeds, improved street design to support safer speeds, and installed safety cameras on high-injury streets. The following recommendations were included in the case study:

  • Include automated enforcement as part of a speed management program by placing safety cameras on high-crash streets.

  • Consider equity in camera placement so that cameras are not concentrated in any one community.

  • Create options to tier camera fines based on family income and/or ability to pay.

Source: Taming Speed for Safety: A Defining Approach and Leadership from Portland, Oregon

Vision Zero Network


Bicycle and pedestrian planning has a rich history. Throughout the years, planning for bicyclists and pedestrians has gained more attention and has seen significant improvements. Some trends in bicycle and pedestrian planning include the following (Roughton et al., 2012):

  • Increased level of interest
    • After 60 years of auto-dominated transportation planning, walking and bicycling are increasingly being viewed as legitimate modes of transportation. Much of this is due to new research indicating the many benefits of non-motorized transportation.
  • More sophisticated plans
    • Plans are more than just a list of projects with cost estimates. Plans are increasingly supplemented with extensive policy, education, enforcement, and encouragement sections.
    • Better data collection has allowed increased use of performance measures and benchmarks, more detailed descriptions of existing conditions, and more precise projections of current and future demand for walking and cycling.
    • More detailed analytical work involved (e.g. feasibility studies, health impact assessments, and environmental analyses).


  • Expanded range of accepted facility types
    • Planners are moving beyond the typical five-foot-wide bike lane and exploring new facility types such as bicycle boulevards, buffered bike lanes, and cycle tracks. These are intended to make bicycling an option for more people.
  • Increased expectations for public involvement
    • Token public involvement is no longer acceptable. Increased effort is being given to meaningfully engage a broader range of stakeholders and especially those typically underserved in the decision-making process.

Elements of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Network

A complete and connected multimodal transportation network prioritizes bicyclists and pedestrians and provides safe, convenient access to essential destinations. To do this, it is crucial that transportation professionals evaluate the existing network to identify gaps, barriers, and critical connections. For active transportation, several key elements can be incorporated into the multimodal network to ensure a complete and well-connected system (Brennan Ramirez et al., 2006). These elements include the bicycle network, the pedestrian network, and multi-use paths.

Elements of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Network

The Bicycle Network: The bicycle network consists of bike lanes, bicycle parking, intersections and intersection treatments, bikeway signing and marking, and bike sharing.

National Association of City Transportation Officials. (2011). Urban Bikeway Design Guide. Retrieved from https://nacto.org/publication/urban-bikeway-design-guide/bike-lanes/

National Association of City Transportation Officials. (2020). Don’t Give Up at the Intersection. Retrieved from https://nacto.org/publication/dont-give-up-at-the-intersection

The Pedestrian Network: Elements of the pedestrian network typically consist of sidewalks, crosswalks, and footpaths.

National Association of City Transportation Officials. (2013). Sidewalks. Retrieved from https://nacto.org/publication/urban-street-design-guide/street-design-elements/sidewalks/

Multi-Use Paths: Multi-use or shared-use paths provide recreation and transportation opportunities for a variety of user groups including pedestrians, bicyclists, rollerbladers, and equestrians. These paths are physically separated from motor vehicle traffic with an open space or barrier.

FHWA. (n.d.). The Walking Environment: Shared Use Paths. Retrieved from https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/saferjourney1/Library/countermeasures/08.htm


The Bicycle Network

The bicycle network consists of bike lanes, bicycle parking, intersections and intersection treatments, bikeway signing and marking, and bike sharing. There are two common bike lane types, which include conventional bike lanes and buffered bike lanes (National Association of City Transportation Officials, 2011). Conventional bike lanes are adjacent to the roadway and are delineated with paint and striping. Buffered bike lanes are separated from vehicular traffic (e.g. bollards, wide striping, landscaping, etc.).

The recommended minimum width for bike lanes is 5-feet, but wider lanes are suggested on high-speed, high-volume roadways (FHWA, n.d.-a). There are many benefits to including bike lanes in the multimodal transportation network. Some of these benefits include the following (National Association of City Transportation Officials, 2011):

  • Increase bicyclist comfort and confidence on busy streets.
  • Create separation between bicyclists and automobiles.
  • Increase predictability of bicyclist and motorist positioning and interaction.
  • Increase total capacities of streets carrying mixed bicycle and motor vehicle traffic.
  • Visually remind motorists of bicyclists’ right to the street.
  • Encourage bicycling by contributing to the perception of safety among users of the bicycle network.

Bicycle parking is an important part of a bicycle plan as it provides security for bicycle users at their destinations (VTPI, n.d.). Intersection treatments include bike boxes, intersection crossing markings, and median refuge islands (National Association of City Transportation Officials, 2011). Median refuge islands provide a mid-point stop for pedestrians and cyclists, which allows them to cross one direction of traffic at a time (FHWA, n.d.-b). Bikeway signing and marking are used to identify bicycle facilities and routes.

Bike share is a service that provides users with the ability to rent a bicycle on a short-term basis. Bike sharing gives users the ability to pick up a bicycle at any self-serve bike station and return it to any other bike station located within the system’s service area (Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, n.d.). Planning considerations for bike share programs include placement of stations or docks, coverage area, branding/marketing, and the financial model.

The Pedestrian Network

Well-planned pedestrian networks are connected, comfortable, convenient, convivial, and conspicuous ─ known as the “5Cs” (Gardner et al., 1996). Elements of the pedestrian network typically consist of sidewalks, crosswalks, and footpaths. Sidewalks can be divided into zones that should be context-sensitive. In other words, sidewalks should be able to accommodate the volume and type of traffic in the area. This is the difference between pedestrian needs in an urban core versus a residential area. Streetscapes often have multiple functions and typically consist of the building frontage zone, pedestrian travel zone, furniture/planter zone, and the curb zone (also called the enhancement/buffer zone).

Streets must take all users into account. It is the responsibility of public and private agencies to ensure that users of all ages and abilities have access to all services and facilities. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) considerations for pedestrian planning include the following:

  • Sidewalk width
  • Sidewalk ramp design/geometry
  • Drainage
  • Crossing time
  • Audible crossing signals
  • Sidewalks are free from obstructions
  • Detectable warnings are incorporated (surface features applied to walking surfaces to warn visually impaired people of potential hazards)

Sidewalk width contributes to the safety and comfort of the walkway for pedestrians. The recommended width for sidewalks is 5- to 6-feet, although wider walkways are sometimes needed to accommodate land uses where larger pedestrian volumes are anticipated (schools, shopping centers, etc.) (FHWA, n.d.-a). When designing the sidewalk network, consideration should also be given to the following elements (FHWA, n.d.-a; Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, 2015):

  • Street lighting
    • Enhance safety and security with adequate lighting
  • Sidewalk placement
    • Ensure a continuous and well-connected sidewalk network
    • Provide setback and or a buffer zone separating pedestrians from vehicular traffic
  • Shade and landscaping
    • Ensure pedestrians are comfortable
    • Attract pedestrians and encourage foot traffic
  • Sidewalk surface type
    • Ensure functionality for all users and provide aesthetic appeal
  • Driveway design
    • Provide a consistent surface for pedestrians
    • Remind motorists that they are crossing a sidewalk
  • Access management
    • Reduce the number of conflict points between vehicular traffic and bicyclists and pedestrians


Multi-Use Paths

Multi-use or shared-use paths provide recreation and transportation opportunities for a variety of user groups including pedestrians, bicyclists, rollerbladers, and equestrians (FHWA, 2006; Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, n.d.). These paths are typically asphalt, concrete, or crushed aggregate surface and are physically separated from vehicular traffic with an open space or barrier (FHWA, n.d.-a). The right-of-way of abandoned railroad lines is often used to create these paths, a process known as rails-to-trails.

Why Plan for Bicyclists and Pedestrians?

Walking is a part of every trip we make – every trip begins and ends as a pedestrian. For example, walking and cycling are necessary for first-mile/last-mile access to other modes, such as transit. To this end, planning for active transportation is vital to create a system that supports multimodal transportation.

Indicators of an Activity-Friendly Community

  • Presence of integration between residential and commercial land uses in dense population areas
  • Availability and accessibility of facilities or natural features for activity
  • Availability and accessibility of competitive transport alternatives and infrastructure (e.g., transit, sidewalks, bike lanes)
  • Presence of attractions and comforts as well as absence of physical disorder
  • Frequency of non-motorized transportation (variation by trip purpose and/or trip distance)
  • Presence of protective social factors and absence of social disorder
  • Availability of local government funds for parks and recreation facilities
  • Availability of local government and highway funds for sidewalks and bike lanes
  • Availability of institutional or organizational incentives for travel by non-motorized transportation modes (e.g., worksite reimbursement, walk-to-school programs)
  • Presence of community-wide campaigns to increase active living

Source: Indicators of an Activity-Friendly Community

 Brennan Ramirez et al., 2006


A well-planned transportation system that supports transportation options can reduce or prevent motor vehicle-related injuries and deaths, prevent chronic illnesses, , ensure equitable access for all persons, and improve environmental health. The benefits of planning for active transportation can be divided into two categories: (1) personal benefits, and (2) public benefits.

As described by Roughton et al. (2012), personal benefits include improved personal health, increased mobility and access (particularly for children, older adults, and low-income households), lowered transportation costs, reduced social isolation, and support for mental well-being. Public benefits include the following (Roughton et al., 2012):

  • Increased transportation options
  • Improved safety for all road users
  • Reduced traffic congestion
  • Improved access to public transit
  • Decreased air, water, and noise pollution
  • Support of climate change emission reduction goals
  • Economic development
  • Increased opportunities for tourism
  • Revitalization of urban areas
  • Decreased road maintenance costs
  • Reduced need for costly roadway/transit capacity expansions

Planning for active transportation is effective in supporting these benefits. Mode-specific plans, which have been found to encourage higher rates of walking and cycling, are described in the next section.

“Almost one in four adults in the United States report that they do not engage in any physical activity outside of their jobs. Sedentary lifestyles are an important reason that two of every three adults in the United States are overweight or obese.”

Source: Active Transportation

FHWA, 2015


“For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.”

Source: Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2018


“Almost 1/3 of Americans who use public transit meet their daily requirements for physical activity.”

Source: Walking to Public Transit: Steps to Help Meet Physical Activity Recommendations

Besser & Dannenberg, 2005


Effective Planning for Pedestrians and Cyclists

The bicycle and pedestrian planning process is most effective when it prioritizes links to key destinations and maintains continuity within and between modal networks. Bicycle networks include bike routes, bike lanes, and off-street bikeways. Pedestrian networks include sidewalks and footpaths. The bicycle and pedestrian network may also consist of joint use bike-pedestrian paths or multi-use trails. Together these networks provide both connectivity and continuity to key destinations and to the broader transportation system.

Biking and walking to buses are important parts of multimodal trips. For example, bicycling is more than recreational, many use bikes to get to land uses within a few miles of their home. Longer commute trips using this mode can be made using public transit that supports bicycles. Appropriate bike access (ingress/egress) for transit stops, activity centers, and institutional uses, such as schools and universities supports cycling trips and multimodal connectivity.

Planning for Bicyclists and Pedestrians along School Routes

Children are considered a vulnerable population group in transportation. School routes should include sidewalks, bikeways, and paths that are a part of a well-connected transportation system to ensure that children who walk or bike to school can do so safely

Source: Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, 2015

Supporting facilities and features make walking and biking more convenient, comfortable, and appealing. For example, the presence or absence of street trees and landscaping not only make walking and cycling more visually appealing, but they also provide shade in warmer months. Bicycle facilities include bike parking. Good locations for bicycle parking can be identified through consultations with local bicycle groups or other cyclists identified through various mechanisms such as transit rider surveys.

Walkability Indicators for Sidewalk Networks

  • Connected – do walking networks provide good access to key destinations?
  • Comfortable – does the path width, surface, landscaping, and adjacent scale of development provide an attractive walking environment?
  • Convenient – can streets be crossed easily, safely, and without delay by all pedestrians?
  • Convivial – are routes interesting, clean, and free from threat?
  • Conspicuous – are walking routes set out in a coherent network, clearly signposted, and are they published on local maps?

Source: Gardner et al., 1996

Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Process

Active transportation master plans can focus on one mode as seen in bicycle master plans or pedestrian master plans, or they can address both modes in combined bicycle and pedestrian master plans. Mode-specific planning reduces generalizations that limit the range of potential actions, creates a comprehensive blueprint for improving active transportation, and facilitates implementation, monitoring, and evaluation (Roughton et al., 2012). Roughton et al. (2012) describe the process of developing a mode-specific plan as a benefit in itself to achieve the following goals:

  • Establish a community vision,
  • Build support for adoption and implementation, and
  • Prioritize improvements through a systematic process.

The elements of bicycle, pedestrian, and combined master plans are shown in Table 6. 1. Most plans address one or more of the following outcomes (Roughton et al., 2012):

  • A bikeway network, bicycle parking, and/or pedestrian network
  • Policies that support walking and/or bicycling
  • Education of bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists
  • Encouragement programs
  • Enforcement programs
  • Evaluation and monitoring programs
  • Design guidelines and/or engineering standards that recognize the needs of bicyclists and/or pedestrians
  • Increased public and financial support for walking and/or bicycling
  • Increased levels of walking and/ or bicycling for transportation and recreation
Table 6. 1. Common Elements of Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Combined Master Plans
Bike Plan Pedestrian Plan Combined Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan
Potential Policy Elements
  • Roadway maintenance policies related to bikeways (striping and re-striping bike lanes, clearing debris, filling potholes)
  • Bicycle/transit integration policies
  • Updates to roadway performance evaluation methodology
  • Bikeway encroachment enforcement policies
  • Maintenance policies
  • related to sidewalks and crosswalks
  • Land-use planning and development regulations/
  • Incentives that promote walkability
  • Crosswalk enforcement policies
  • Complete Streets ordinances
  • Street connectivity standards
  • Traffic calming, road diet, and speed reduction programs
  • Travel demand management programs
Potential Program Elements
  • Bike to work/school programs
  • Bicycle safety education programs
  • Bicycle mechanics and maintenance classes
  • Bike sharing
  • Walk to work/school programs
  • Pedestrian safety education programs
  • Senior Strolls program
  • Safe Routes to School
  • Ciclovia or Open Streets events
Potential Project Elements
  • Bikeways
  • Multi-use paths/Trails
  • Bicycle traffic signals
  • Bicycle boxes
  • Bicycle parking and end-of-trip facilities
  • Way-finding for bicycles
  • Sidewalks and pedestrian pathways
  • Multi-use paths/Trails
  • Crosswalks and pedestrian refuge islands
  • Streetscape improvements
  • Way-finding for pedestrians
  • Sidewalks and pedestrian pathways
  • Bikeways
  • Multi-use paths/Trails
  • Grade-separated crossings
  • Transit stop facilities for walkers and bicyclists

Source: Roughton et al., 2012


The Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Process

  • Initial preparation
    • Initial background research, establishing the need for the plan, securing funding, defining the scope of the plan, determining how the plan will be integrated with other plans
  • Public engagement
    • Identify stakeholders, assemble advisory committees, reach out to non-traditional populations
    • Communication with the public should be absent of any jargon. Visual communication such as photos, maps, and renderings of proposed recommendations are useful and accessible.
    • Some public involvement strategies include stakeholder interviews, walking and bicycling tours, focus groups, surveys, open houses, and town hall meetings.
  • Vision
    • Craft a clear vision for the plan
  • Goals & objectives
    • Generate goals and objectives; revise based on public input
  • Existing conditions
    • Inventory existing data, describe existing conditions including gaps and deficiencies in the bike/ped network, assess current and future needs, identify opportunities and constraints
  • Recommendations
    • Develop evaluation criteria, develop potential policies, identify priority networks, prioritize links to key destinations
    • Generate list of potential projects and programs, consider updating design guidelines
    • Select and prioritize policy, project, and program recommendations
  • Implementation plan
    • Develop a budget, get the plan adopted, continue public outreach, and educate staff on how to use the plan

Source: Creating Walkable + Bikeable Communities

Roughton et al., 2012


Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Considerations

A healthy transportation system gives adequate consideration to proximity and access, density and intensity of development, land use mix, street connectivity and street design, and distance from sources of air pollution (ChangeLab Solutions, n.d.; FHWA, 1999). Proximity and access relate to the location of development and people’s ability to access daily needs by driving, walking, biking, or riding transit. Communities that prioritize active transportation have fewer vehicle miles traveled (VMT), which is associated with air pollution and increased crashes (ChangeLab Solutions, n.d.). These communities are also less likely to have high rates of obesity and other diseases resulting from physical inactivity (Besser and Dannenberg, 2005). In addition, active transportation can improve community cohesion by facilitating opportunities for social interactions (Maurer Braun et al., 2016).

Chapter 4 discusses the relationship between travel behavior and the built environment as documented in previous studies. This section reviews some additional considerations. Density and intensity of development increase the likelihood of physical activity – as density increases, the amount of physical activity is likely to increase. Increased density has been found to decrease VMT and air pollution (Cervero and Kockelman, 1997; Yang and Diez-Roux, 2017). This also improves safety because drivers are more likely to be alert in higher-density neighborhoods.

Land use mix affects the ease with which people can walk or bike to educational facilities, offices, restaurants, parks, community services, grocery stores, and other destinations. Mixed-use development is associated with shorter trips, transit ridership, walking, biking, and an overall increase in physical activity (ChangeLab Solutions, n.d.; Cheng, 2010). People living in walkable, mixed-use communities are more likely to get the recommended amount of daily exercise than those living in auto-dependent communities (CDC, 2022; ChangeLab Solutions, n.d.). Neighborhood mix is also associated with decreased VMT and traffic collisions (Swift et al., 1997).

Street connectivity and design affect VMT and safety. For example, traditional grids disperse traffic, thus lowering VMT (ChangeLab Solutions, n.d.). Lower posted speed limits improve safety, as do speed-reducing design features such as sidewalks, narrower lane widths, and other traffic calming features. Lower speeds are associated with reduced risk of fatality in collisions between vehicles and bicyclists/pedestrians (Bunn et al., 2003; Ewing and Kreutzer, 2006; Vision Zero Network, n.d.).


Factors that Influence Non-Motorized Travel

  • Link Characteristics
    • Measurable characteristics of a link in a road or path network (e.g., traffic volume, lane width, or pavement quality).
  • Link “Friendliness”
    • The overall acceptability of a link as a bicycle or pedestrian route – a function of link characteristics. Also varies by user characteristics (e.g., experienced vs. novice bicyclist).
  • Network Characteristics
    • Characteristics of a network of links (e.g., connectivity) that determine its overall acceptability or “friendliness” to the user.
  • Network “Friendliness”
    • A general measure of how acceptable the local road/path network is for bicycling or walking.
  • Supporting Policies
    • Other programs, policies, facilities, etc., that affect the acceptability of bicycling or walking (e.g., bicycle parking, showers/lockers, and educational programs).
  • Population Characteristics
    • Characteristics of the local population that relate to the likelihood of bicycling or walking (e.g., socioeconomic characteristics, or attitudes).
  • Climate/Weather
    • General propensity to walk or bicycle, as a function of climate/weather.
  • Characteristics of Other Modes
    • Relative travel times and costs of bicycling or walking vs. other modes, as well as safety, comfort, or other factors that influence choice of mode
  • Land Use
    • Density and distribution characteristics of population, employment, shopping, and other activities that affect where people travel, how many trips are generated, trip length, etc.
  • Total Non-Motorized Trip Making Overall level of non-motorized trip making in an area as a result of the above factors.
  • Link-Level Trips
    • Non-motorized trips on a specific facility or link as a function

Source: Guidebook on Methods to Estimate NonMotorized Travel:  Supporting Documentation

FHWA, 1999


Evaluating Bicycle and Pedestrian Needs

Many tools are available for use by planners to evaluate the quality of the bicycle and pedestrian system and identify deficiencies. The findings from using these tools support the identification and implementation of appropriate improvement strategies. Simple checklists, such as that provided by AARP in their Walk Audit Tool Kit are growing in popularity as a method to engage local residents in the system evaluation (AARP, 2022). A few other tools are described in this section. Additional guidance on evaluating system performance is provided in  Chapter 8.

Walk Friendly Community (WFC) Assessment Tool

The Walk Friendly Community (WFC) assessment tool uses a questionnaire to engage community members in evaluating existing pedestrian infrastructure and policies. The tool includes eight sections to develop a community profile and assess walking conditions, planning considerations, education programs, infrastructure design, enforcement activities, evaluation activities, and the community’s prospects for designation as a Walk Friendly Community (Walk Friendly Communities. Community Assessment Tool available at https://walkfriendly.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/WFC_Assessment_Tool.pdf).

Walkability Rating System

A walkability rating system is based on characteristics of the street environment that support walkability. Factors that make places more walkable include presence of street trees for shade, narrower streets that are easy to cross, lower speed traffic, small blocks or good street connectivity, presence of on-street parking or other buffers from traffic, a diverse mix of land uses, and buildings facing the street. The City of El Paso included a five star walkability rating system in the 2012 Plan El Paso Comprehensive Plan. The rating system is designed to “describe the degree to which these characteristics need to be applied to achieve walkable streets” (City of El Paso, 2012, p. 4.35).

Bicycle and Pedestrian Count Tools

Bicycle and pedestrian count tools are used to quantify the number of people walking or cycling on a roadway, sidewalk, or path. These methods support safety studies and other analysis by helping agencies determine how many people are using active transportation and monitor changes to bicycle and pedestrian activities over time.

Gap Analysis

Gap analysis involves using geographic information system (GIS) or other mapping software to identify deficiencies in a system, service, network, or across modes. After gaps are identified, an agency can take action to improve connectivity and continuity. A system or service gap demonstrates unmet needs or a difference between demand and supply in a community. A network gap analysis identifies gaps within the pedestrian or bicycle network that can create barriers to walking and bicycling between areas.


Key Takeaways

Interest in a multi-disciplinary approach to bicycle and pedestrian planning is increasing. Planners, engineers, public health officials, and professionals in many other disciplines are working together to make active transportation safer and more appealing, and educate the public on the benefits of walking and cycling. Bicycle and pedestrian planning has gained an increasing level of interest, more sophisticated plans are being developed, new facility types, such as bicycle boulevards, are being developed, and a broader range of stakeholders are being involved in planning processes. Key takeaways from this chapter are:

  • A complete and connected multimodal transportation network prioritizes bicyclists and pedestrians and provides safe, convenient access to destinations.
  • The bicycle network consists of bike lanes, bicycle parking, intersections and intersection treatments, bikeway signing and marking, and bike sharing.
  • Elements of the pedestrian network typically consist of sidewalks, crosswalks, and footpaths.
  • A well-planned transportation system that supports transportation options can reduce or prevent motor vehicle-related injuries and deaths, prevent chronic illnesses, ensure equitable access for all persons, and improve environmental health.


Self Test



Bike Share: A service that provides users with the ability to rent a bicycle on a short-term basis.

Buffered Bike Lane: Bike lanes that include a buffer space, separating bicyclists from vehicular traffic.

Complete Streets: Streets designed and operated to enable safe use and support mobility for all users. Those include people of all ages and abilities, regardless of whether they are travelling as drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, or public transportation riders (U.S. Department of Transportation, 2015).

Vision Zero: A strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all.



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ChangeLab Solutions. (n.d.). The planning perspective on health: Community health as a goal of good design. https://changelabsolutions.org/sites/default/files/documents/Factsheet_PlanningPerspective.pdf

Cheng, I. (Ed.). (2010). Active design guidelines: Promoting physical activity and health design. https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/planning/download/pdf/plans-studies/active-design-guidelines/adguidelines.pdf

City of El Paso. (2012). Plan El Paso: City of El Paso, Texas comprehensive plan. https://www.elpasotexas.gov/assets/Documents/CoEP/Planning-and-Inspections/Plan-El-Paso/Plan-El-Paso_vol1_adopted_for-web.pdf

Ewing, R., & Kreutzer, R. (2006). Understanding the relationship between public health and the built environment. https://www.usgbc.org/sites/default/files/public-health-built-environment.pdf

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Additional Resources

FHWA. (n.d.). FHWA course on bicycle and pedestrian transportation. Lesson 3: Bicycle and pedestrian planning overview https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/PED_BIKE/univcourse/pdf/swless03.pdf

Kuzmyak, J. R. and Dill, J. (2012). Walking and bicycling in the United States: The who, what, where, and why. TR News. https://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/trnews/trnews280www.pdf

Sandt, L., Combs, T., and Cohn, J. (2016). Pursuing equity in pedestrian and bicycle planning. United States Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration and Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center. http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/cms/downloads/PBIC_WhitePaper_Equity.pdf

Schultheiss, W., Sanders, R., & Toole, J. (2018). A historical perspective on the AASHTO guide for the development of bicycle facilities and the impact of the vehicular cycling movement. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2672(13), 38-49. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0361198118798482

The League of American Bicyclists. (2018). Bicycling and walking in the United Staes: Benchmarking progress https://data.bikeleague.org/





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