Thursday, July 5, 2012

AASHTO Bike Development Guide

Bike lanes, paths, parking and general infrastructure are designed and installed by following local, state and national standards. Just like roads, bike facilities are legitimized and best understood when they look similar. Guidelines, laws, and policies are used to shape what our national bike network looks like on the open road.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SC DOT) has guidelines and recommendations that planners, engineers, construct workers and other use when they plan, design and construct bicycle facilities. Some cities might also have ordinances that provide guidance on bike parking or bike lane installation for a local area. The most influential guidelines come from experts at the national level. 

2012 AASHTO Bike Guide
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, commonly called AASHTO, literally writes the book on bikeways. It’s called the Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, and the updated version came out in June. It’s been highly anticipated and long-awaited in the biking world. The previous guiding document was published in 1999. Bike lanes, parking and paths have come a long way since that time!

This is the bike planning and designing bible. The information found in this books helps professionals design bicycle facilities, gives guidance to help solve unusual design problems and aims to accommodate bicyclists on all types of roads. Since it’s developed by AASHTO, “the voice of transportation,” this book is taken seriously by professionals in the field. Admittedly, this stuff is a bit dry, but it’s the nuts and bolts of how our bikeways are being developed. It’s a design manual, and definitely not a page-turner – unless you’re trying to solve some transportation design riddle.

It’s not available online to read for free (yet), but previous versions are. If you’re interested in knowing a bit more about bike planning, engineering and development, I suggest checking it out. I’d also suggest checking out the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide and the Manual on UniformTraffic Control Devices, commonly referred to as the MUTCD.

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