Lessons from the Green Lane: A Comprehensive Evaluation of Protected Cycling Facilities

Principal Investigator

Christopher Monsere, Portland State University

Co-Investigator(s)

Jennifer Dill, Portland State University
Kelly Clifton, Portland State University
Nathan McNeil, Portland State University

Summary

Cycling is on the rise across the U.S. and its popularity has grown beyond the usual leaders - Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, Davis, CA, Minneapolis, MN and Boulder, CO. New York City, NY Chicago, IL and Washington, DC are among those cities making significant investments in bike infrastructure in recent years and have realized substantial growth in people taking to the streets on two wheels. Most of those involved in the planning and design of bicycle infrastructure agree that as cities move to expand sustainable transportation options, protected cycling facilities are an important component in providing high-quality urban infrastructure for…

Cycling is on the rise across the U.S. and its popularity has grown beyond the usual leaders - Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, Davis, CA, Minneapolis, MN and Boulder, CO. New York City, NY Chicago, IL and Washington, DC are among those cities making significant investments in bike infrastructure in recent years and have realized substantial growth in people taking to the streets on two wheels. Most of those involved in the planning and design of bicycle infrastructure agree that as cities move to expand sustainable transportation options, protected cycling facilities are an important component in providing high-quality urban infrastructure for non-motorized modes. Few U.S. cities have direct experiences with their design and operations, in part because of the limited design guidance provided in the past.

In the North American context, there is limited research on protected cycling facilities but preliminary evidence suggests that they can both improve the level of comfort of cyclists and potentially improve the number of people cycling. We propose to add to the growing body of practical experience with a rigorous assessment of the safety, operations, economic impacts, user experience, and perceptions of new protected bikeways in six cities U.S. cities (Austin, TX; Chicago, IL; Memphis, TN; Portland, OR; San Francisco, CA; and Washington, D.C.). These cities were selected from forty-three applications to participate in Bikes Belong\‘s Green Lane project.  Bikes Belong, a group focused on promoting cycling and a collaborating partner in this proposal, created the Green Lane project to assist cities in creating world-class cycling networks, starting with cycle tracks and related facilities.  Our proposed research methods include video data analysis, bicycle, resident, and business surveys, count and crash data analysis, analysis of economic impact, and an evaluation of planning-level facility suitability models.  The specific research methodology we adopt will depend on the before configuration of the existing facility and the context of its installation. 
This proposed research has the unique opportunity to evaluate protected bikeways with a consistent methodology in six distinct contexts varying significantly in population, driving and cycling rates and cultures, and weather. The outcomes of this effort combined with recent work by the research team will establish a significant body of knowledge regarding protected bikeways filling critical research gaps and may also influence national guidance. Further, because this research will explore a variety of innovative bicycle facilities in various regional contexts, including looking at economic impacts, the results will be instructive to policy-makers in cities considering developing protected bikeways.

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Project Details

Year: 2012
Project Cost: $159,951
Project Status: In Progress
Start Date: September 17, 2012
End Date: June 30, 2014
Theme:
TRB RiP: 32182

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Additional Info

Presentations

  • Lessons from the Green Lane, 2013-06-21, Seattle. WA.

OTREC by the Numbers

  • Total value of projects funded: $12.2 million
  • Number of projects funded: 153
  • Number of faculty partners: 98
  • Number of external partners participating in OTREC: 46

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