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1 - Introduction

Published: January 20, 2023

1.1 Purpose of the Multimodal Design Guide

This Multimodal Design Guide, hereafter referred to as the MDG, serves as a source for planners and designers implementing pedestrian and bicycle facilities within ODOT right-of-way and as part of the Local Let Process, when outside ODOT right-of-way but utilizing State and Federal Dollars. By providing comprehensive state-of-the-practice design guidance, the MDG aligns with ODOT’s current vision, mission, and goals related to walking and bicycling. It advances the Department’s overall mission of improving safety across the state; it aligns with ODOT’s Statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan’s vision that walking and biking will be a safe, convenient, and accessible transportation options for everyone; and it supports the Strategic Highway Safety Plan’s goal of achieving zero deaths on Ohio’s roadways.

Communities (Local Public Agencies) can apply this guidance to their local and regional transportation networks to create uniformity across the state’s multimodal transportation system. The MDG will also be used by ODOT to review local agency designs for federally funded projects. The MDG can also be a reference for community members, advocates, elected officials, and other stakeholders interested in advancing multimodal transportation design practices in Ohio.

1.2 Scope, Context, and Authority of the MDG

1.2.1 Scope

The MDG provides information for planners, designers, and engineers to develop the physical infrastructure necessary to support walking and bicycling for people of all ages and abilities. This design guide includes information on developing connected bicycle and pedestrian networks and addresses topics such as comfort and safety of facilities in different contexts. This guide addresses safety-related issues, especially for interactions between vulnerable road users (e.g., pedestrians and bicyclists) and motor vehicles. The MDG does not address education, encouragement, evaluation, or enforcement programs to support walking and bicycling. The Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (OMUTCD) is to be used in conjunction with this guide. The MDG is not intended to be a detailed design or traffic engineering manual that could supersede the need for application of sound principles by knowledgeable design or traffic engineering professionals.

1.2.2 Relationship with Other References

ODOT discusses pedestrian and bicycle design guidance across many manuals and other documents. The MDG was created to provide a comprehensive guide for the development of bicycle and pedestrian transportation facilities. Additional documents that provide multimodal design guidance include:

Table 1-1: Existing multimodal transportation manuals at ODOT



Ohio Traffic Engineering Manual (TEM)

The Traffic Engineering Manual is ODOT’s primary manual for traffic engineering policies, guidelines, standards, and best practices. All ODOT traffic engineering information is found or cross- referenced in the TEM. The TEM contains traffic engineering guidance for roadways, including pedestrian and bicycle facilities, on all ODOT-maintained roads.

Location and Design (L&D) Manual, Volume 1

The Ohio L&D Manual, Volume 1 is a synthesis of AASHTO’s geometric and roadside design guidance applicable to the state of Ohio.

Bridge Design Manual

The Bridge Design Manual (BDM) is published by the Office of Structural Engineering and is intended to promote uniform, safe, and sound bridge design around the state.

Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (OMUTCD)

The OMUTCD establishes a uniform system of traffic control devices that are compliant with the FHWA’s national MUTCD. The manual covers standards for the design and use of traffic control devices on any street, highway, bikeway or private road open to public travel in Ohio.

ODOT State Highway Access Management Manual (SHAMM)

Establishes procedures and standards for accesses on state facilities.

In addition to those noted above, several other ODOT documents incorporate pedestrian and bicycle design guidance, including the Ohio Temporary Traffic Control Manual, the Sign Designs and Markings Manual, and Standard Construction Drawings. All designers should use the MDG in conjunction with the current versions of these references.

The MDG’s primary function within ODOT’s family of manuals and design standards is to update and consolidate bicycle and pedestrian transportation guidance across the Department. The MDG also takes into account a broader framework of national design guidance that informs pedestrian and bicycle projects. There are several national sources of multimodal transportation design standards, including:

  • AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities
  • AASHTO Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities
  • FHWA Small Town and Rural Multimodal Networks
  • FHWA Bikeway Selection Guide
  • FHWA Achieving Multimodal Networks: Applying Design Flexibility and Reducing Conflicts
  • FHWA Guide for Improving Pedestrian Safety at Uncontrolled Crossings
  • FHWA Accessible Shared Streets
  • NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide
  • NACTO Urban Street Design Guide
  • NACTO Transit Design Guide
  • NCHRP Crossing Solutions at Roundabouts and Channelized Turn lanes for Pedestrians with Vision Disabilities: A Guidebook (2017)
  • ITE Implementing Context Sensitive Design on Multimodal Thoroughfares
  • ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG)
  • U.S. Access Board Proposed Guidelines for Pedestrian Facilities in the Public Right-of-Way (PROWAG)

This Guide includes treatments that have FHWA interim approval to represent the state of the practice accurately.

The FHWA periodically issues Interim Approvals (IAs) to allow the use of new traffic control devices between updates of the MUTCD. Agencies that desire to use these treatments must request specific approval from the FHWA. ODOT has received approved requests for statewide approval from FHWA that apply to all jurisdictions in the state for some design treatments. Additionally, some cities have approved requests for IAs within their city boundaries. The MDG provides guidance for treatments that have been given Interim Approval status for city and/or statewide use. Traffic control devices that have IAs and/or require approval from FHWA are identified throughout this guide in grey boxes like this paragraph.

1.3 Use of Values in this Guide

It is important for users of this guide to understand that the selection of values for design dimensions can have a direct relationship to street user safety and comfort. In many instances, the use of constrained values does not account for a street user’s perception of safety, and it is this perception of how safe a person feels that will affect how they choose to use or avoid a particular facility or street. In order to design safe multimodal facilities, with forgiveness and driver error in mind, pedestrian and bicycle facilities should be designed with the recommended values provided in this guide.

The MDG proposes consistent terminology to help with the design process. This use of consistent terms is not intended to supersede the need for design flexibility, context sensitivity, or engineering judgement. However, where deviations from the recommended values are proposed, those deviations should be based on an engineering study and the deviations properly documented.

1.3.1 Minimum Values

Minimum values are identified throughout this guide using the words “recommended” or “minimum.” Minimum values may be presented as a single value or a range of values. The use of these recommended values (typically larger values) should be used, where practical, to maximize the safety and comfort of pedestrians and bicyclists. Use of other values (typically smaller values) should only be used if and where it is not possible due to social, fiscal, and/or project constraints.

1.3.2 Constrained Values

Constrained values are explicitly identified using the word “constrained,” “at least,” or “not less than.” The use of constrained values should not be considered a default value for pedestrian and/ or bikeway design. The use of constrained values may result in tradeoffs with respect to pedestrian and bicyclist comfort and safety.

The words “in constrained conditions” are used to identify constrained values that are likely to degrade comfort and may degrade safety (for example, a separate bike lane width that is physically wide enough to accommodate a bicyclist, but not wide enough to permit another bicyclist to pass). In general, the use of constrained values should only be considered for limited distances, as an interim measure, at locations where low volumes of pedestrians or bicyclists are existing and anticipated, or where the value of providing the constrained width facility outweighs the option of providing no facility at all.

1.3.3 Maximum Values

Some design values in this guide are identified as “maximum,” “no more than,” “no greater than,” or “not to exceed.” These represent design values that should not be exceeded due to their potential to diminish the value of the treatment (e.g., sign or symbol placement frequency).

1.4 Definitions

Accessible – Describes a facility in the public right-of-way that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and this guide.

Alteration – A change to a facility in the public right-of-way that affects or could affect pedestrian access, circulation, or use. Alterations include, but are not limited to, resurfacing, rehabilitation, reconstruction, historic restoration, or changes or rearrangement of structural parts or elements of a facility.

Accessible Pedestrian Signal – A device that communicates information about pedestrian signal timing in non-visual format(s) such as audible tones, speech messages, and/or vibrating surfaces.

Accessible Pedestrian Signal Detector – A device designated to assist the pedestrian who has vision, auditory, and/or physical disabilities in activating the pedestrian phase.

Bicycle Boulevard – Streets designed to prioritize bicycle traffic by minimizing motorized traffic volumes and operating speeds. They are also commonly referred to as neighborhood bikeways or greenways.

Bicycle Facilities – A general term denoting provisions to accommodate bicycling, including bikeways, bicycle boulevards, bicycle detection, shared lane markings, signed bicycle routes, and wayfinding, in addition to parking and storage facilities.

Bicycle Route – A road, path, or facility designated for bicycle travel, sometimes using bicycle route signage, where space for bicyclists may or may not be distinct from motor vehicle traffic.

Bikeway – Any road, path, or facility intended for bicycle travel which designates space for bicyclists distinct from motor vehicle traffic. A bikeway does not include shared lanes, sidewalks, signed bicycle routes, or shared lanes with shared lane markings, but does include bicycle boulevards.

Blended Transition – A raised pedestrian crossing, depressed corner, or similar connection between the pedestrian access route at the level of the sidewalk and the level of the pedestrian crossing that has a grade of 5 percent or less.

Clear Space – (1) A space free of sight distance obstructions to allow motorists and bicyclists in motion to see each other and yield (or stop) accordingly as they approach intersections or driveways. (2) A space free of obstruction for pedestrian maneuverability complying with PROWAG Section R404.

Clear Width – The width of a pedestrian or bicycle facility devoid of physical obstructions.

Crosswalk – The pedestrian accessible route within a street used to cross a street or portion of a street. Further defined in the Ohio Revised Code, Section 4511.01(LL), as (1) that part of a roadway at intersections ordinarily included within the real or projected prolongation of property lines and curb lines or, in the absence of curbs, the edges of the traversable roadway; (2) any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere, distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface; (3) Notwithstanding definitions (1) and (2), there shall not be a crosswalk where local authorities have placed signs indicating no crossing.

Cross Slope – The grade that is perpendicular to the direction of pedestrian travel.

Curb Line – A line at the face of the curb that marks the transition between the curb and the gutter, street, or highway.

Curb Ramp – A ramp that cuts through or is built up to the curb. Curb ramp types can be perpendicular or parallel, or a combination of parallel, perpendicular, and diagonal ramps.

Detectable Warning Surface – A standardized truncated dome grid surface built in, or applied to, walking surfaces to indicate the boundary between a pedestrian route and a vehicular route where there is a curb ramp or blended transition, and at the edge of transit boarding platforms.

Directional Indicator – A traversable tactile surfaces comprised of raised bars that may be deployed parallel to the pedestrian path of travel to help pedestrians follow an accessible pathway or navigate a large open space. They may also be deployed across the pedestrian path of travel to provide guidance to pedestrians with disabilities regarding when to turn (e.g., to locate a mid-block curb ramp, bus island, or transit door).

Engineering Judgment – The evaluation of available pertinent information, and the application of appropriate principles, provisions, and practices as contained in design guides, for the purpose of deciding upon the applicability, design, operation, or installation of design elements and traffic control devices. Engineering judgment shall be exercised by the designer through the application of procedures and criteria established by the engineer. Documentation of Engineering Judgment is recommended but not required.

First- and Last-mile Connections – A general term for pedestrian and bikeway facilities designed to help people access transit stops and stations.

Grade Separated Facilities – Facilities that support nonmotorized travel utilizing structures over or under traffic facilities, creating a separated pathway across a roadway.

Hardened Centerline – a painted centerline supplemented by vertical elements and/or mountable surfaces used to reduce left turn speeds of motorists by reducing the effective turning radius of this maneuver. 

Intersection – The area where two or more user travel paths meet. Further defined in the Ohio Revised Code, Section 4511.01(KK), as (1) The area embraced within the prolongation or connection of the lateral curb lines, or, if none, then the lateral boundary lines of the roadways of two highways which join one another at, or approximately at, right angles, or the area within which vehicles traveling upon different highways joining at any other angle may come in conflict; (2) Where a highway includes two roadways thirty ft. or more apart, then every crossing of each roadway of such divided highway by an intersecting highway shall be regarded as a separate intersection. If an intersecting highway also includes two roadways thirty ft. or more apart, then every crossing of two roadways of such highways shall be regarded as a separate intersection; (3) The junction of an alley with a street or highway, or with another alley, shall not constitute an intersection.

Landing – Part of a pedestrian accessible route or walkway that provides space for turning, pedestrian pushbutton accessing, or resting. Landings are typically level with a cross slope and grade of 1.56 percent maximum.

Major Street – The street normally carrying a higher volume of vehicular traffic.

Micromobility Device – A general term describing inline skates, roller skates, skateboards, kick scooters, electric scooters, self-balancing devices, or other small, low-speed, human- or electric- powered transportation devices.

Minor Street – The street normally carrying a lower volume of vehicular traffic.

Mutual Yielding – A general term describing the responsibility among motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians to yield the right of way depending upon the timing of their arrival at an intersection or conflict point.

Pedestrian – A person on foot or in a wheelchair.

Pedestrian Access Route (PAR) – A continuous and unobstructed path of travel provided for pedestrians within or coinciding with sidewalks and walkways.

Pedestrian Curb Cut – A break or cut in the vertical curb to eliminate curb barriers. Pedestrian curb cuts are typically provided where sidewalk does not exist or the pedestrian access route is at the same elevation as the crossing and a curb separates the PAR from the crossing.

Physical Barrier – A physical object that prohibits pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorist movement. This could be a curb, guardrail, fence, street amenities such as benches or planters, etc.

Pushbutton – A button to activate a device or signal timing for pedestrians or bicyclists.

Pushbutton Information Message – A recorded message that can be actuated by pressing a pushbutton when the walk interval is not timing and that provides the name of the street that the crosswalk associated with that pushbutton crosses and can also provide other information about the intersection signalization or geometry.

Pushbutton Locator Tone – A repeating sound that informs approaching pedestrians that a pushbutton exists to actuate pedestrian timing or receive additional information and that enables pedestrians with vision disabilities to locate the pushbutton.

Ramp – A pedestrian pathway or access route with a slope greater than 5 percent. A ramp may or may not be part of a curb ramp.

Running Slope – Also known as longitudinal slope. The slope that is parallel to the direction of travel.

Pedestrian Facilities – A general term denoting provisions to accommodate or encourage walking. Pedestrian facilities include, but are not limited to, accessible routes, sidewalks, crosswalks, crossing islands and medians, traffic control features, curb ramps, bus stops and other loading areas, shared use paths, and stairs.

Separated Bike Lanes – A bicycle lane that is physically separated from motor vehicle traffic by vertical elements and a horizontal buffer. These are also sometimes referred to as protected bike lanes or cycle tracks.

Shared Lane – A roadway travel lane used by both motor vehicle travel and bicycle travel where no bicycle lane is designated.

Shared Street – A street that includes a shared zone where pedestrians, bicyclists, and motor vehicles mix in the same space. Motor vehicle speeds on shared streets are intended to be very low. 

Shared Use Path – Multiuse path designed primarily for use by bicyclists, pedestrians, and/or micromobility device users for transportation and recreation purposes. Shared use paths are physically separated from motor vehicle traffic by an open space or barrier. Shared use paths are sometimes referred to as paths.

Sidepath – A shared use path located within highway right-of-way adjacent and parallel to a roadway.

Sidewalk – A walkway located along a roadway. Further defined in the Ohio Revised Code, Section 4511.01(FF), as that portion of a street between the curb lines, or the lateral lines of a roadway, and the adjacent property lines, intended for the use of pedestrians.

Vertical Surface Discontinuities – Vertical differences in elevation between two adjacent surfaces.

Vibrotactile Pedestrian Device – An accessible pedestrian signal feature that communicates, by touch, information about pedestrian timing using a vibrating surface.

Walkway – A general term used to describe a paved or improved area for use by pedestrians. Walkways include sidewalks, shared use paths, curb ramps, blended transitions, etc.

2 - Multimodal Planning and Design Scoping Process

Published: January 20, 2023

2.1 Introduction

ODOT supports the vision that walking and bicycling be safe, convenient, and accessible transportation options for everyone. To achieve this, the consideration, selection, and design of appropriate bicycle and pedestrian facilities is critically important.

This chapter discusses context-sensitive design and the need to plan and design projects that are sensitive to local circumstances and priorities. The tools, documents, and other ODOT resources needed to guide project development and scoping are discussed, as well as various multimodal planning approaches and analytical tools helpful for practitioners to make informed

planning decisions. Additionally, this chapter can be used to evaluate facility feasibility and assess alternatives. A list of major planning tools and resources focused on bicycle and pedestrian transportation (active transportation) can be found on ODOT’s Active Transportation webpage.

2.2 Bicycle and Pedestrian Policy and Guidance

The following policies and plans serve as the foundation for pedestrian and bicycle project planning and implementation.

2.2.1 Federal Regulations

Federal Regulations require state DOTs and MPOs to consider and include bicycle and pedestrian transportation facilities in their engineering and planning activities:

  • Title 23 U.S.C 217 Bicycle Transportation and Pedestrian Walkways

(e) Bridges. In any case where a highway bridge deck being replaced or rehabilitated with Federal financial participation is located on a highway on which bicycles are permitted to operate at each end of such bridge, and the Secretary determines that the safe accommodation of bicycles can be provided at reasonable cost as part of such replacement or rehabilitation, then such bridge shall be so replaced or rehabilitated as to provide such safe accommodations.

(g) Planning and Design

(1) In general - Bicyclists and pedestrians shall be given due consideration in the comprehensive transportation plans developed by each metropolitan planning organization and State in accordance with sections 134 and 135, respectively. Bicycle transportation facilities and pedestrian walkways shall be considered, where appropriate, in conjunction with all new construction and reconstruction of transportation facilities, except where bicycle and pedestrian users are not permitted.

(2) Safety considerations - Transportation plans and projects shall provide due consideration for safety and contiguous routes for bicyclists and pedestrians. Safety considerations shall include the installation, where appropriate, and maintenance of audible traffic signals and audible signs at street crossings.

  • Title 23 U.S.C. 109 Standards

(m) Protection of non-motorized transportation traffic. The Secretary shall not approve any project or take any regulatory action under this title that will result in the severance of an existing major route or have significant adverse impact on the safety for non-motorized transportation traffic and light motorcycles, unless such project or regulatory action provides for a reasonable alternate route or such a route exists.

2.2.2 Required Accessible Facilities

ODOT has adopted the Draft 2011 PROWAG as the governing document for accessible design within ODOT’s public right-of-way. The implementation of accessible designs depends on project type:

  • New construction – New construction projects are defined as projects where roadway facilities do not currently exist. All new construction projects with pedestrian facilities shall incorporate accessible design elements conforming to PROWAG and ODOT design requirements.
  • Alteration projects – Alteration project, also called Reconstruction Projects, include projects that reconstruct or rehabilitate any portion of an existing facility located within the highway right-of- way. These projects can include full depth replacement, alteration of design elements, lane width, shoulder width or adding lanes. Existing pedestrian facilities on these roadways that are impacted by the project require reconstruction to meet current ADA requirements. Pedestrian facilities that are not disturbed but are within the project limits shall be evaluated for ADA compliance. If found non- compliant, the facility may require replacement within the project limits based on the scope of the project. Alteration projects may also include the construction of new accessible facilities, such as new curb ramps or pushbuttons, to improve accessibility at an intersection.
  • Unaltered Facilities - For unaltered, existing facilities, no changes to existing accessible facilities is required, nor are new accessible facilities required, unless an alteration project is identified for the facility. At that time, any non-compliant facilities within the project corridor must be made compliant as directed under the Alteration Projects section of this guide.  ADA Compliance Evaluation for Alteration Projects

Resurfacing is an alteration that triggers the requirement to add curb ramps if it involves work on a street or roadway spanning from one intersection to another and includes overlays of additional material to the road surface, with or without milling. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following treatments or their equivalents: addition of a new layer of asphalt, reconstruction, concrete pavement rehabilitation and reconstruction, open-graded surface course, micro-surfacing and thin lift overlays, cape seals and in-place asphalt recycling.

Projects classified as maintenance do not trigger an evaluation of existing curb ramps and the addition of new curb ramps. Maintenance treatments are those that serve solely to seal and protect the road surface, improve friction, and control splash and spray because they do not significantly affect the public’s access to or usability of the road. Some examples of the types of treatments that would normally be considered maintenance are: painting or striping lanes, crack filling and sealing, surface sealing, chip seals, slurry seals, fog seals, scrub sealing, joint crack seals, joint repairs, dowel bar retrofit, spot high-friction treatments, diamond grinding, and pavement patching. A curb ramp evaluation form is available online in ODOT’s ADA Design Resources.

2.2.3 Statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Goals

ODOT’s Statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, Walk.Bike.Ohio (WBO), sets forth a vision and key goals to guide Ohio’s investments in multimodal infrastructure and programs. As a modal plan focused on bicyclists and pedestrians, this plan also informs ODOT’s overarching Long Range Transportation Plan: Access Ohio 2045 as well as the Strategic Highway Safety Plan. WBO documents multiple benefits to the State of Ohio from multimodal transportation facilities, including emissions reductions, cost savings, and community health improvements. The inclusion or improvement of multimodal facilities is necessary to allow roadway users to safely and freely move using active transportation, primarily walking and bicycling, across rural, suburban, and urban settings.

Effective active transportation networks often lead to more people walking, bicycling, and riding transit by creating routes that are efficient, seamless, and easy to use. All projects, alternatives analyses, and processes impacting bicycle and pedestrian transportation should be developed in alignment with the vision and goals of WBO. Projects should also be developed according to their Purpose and Need.

Vision: Walking and bicycling in Ohio will be a safe, convenient, and accessible transportation option for everyone.


  • Equity: Ensure the system accommodates users of all ages, abilities, and incomes. Provide opportunities for all Ohioans in urban, suburban, and rural areas to have access to connected walkways and bikeways.
  • Network Utilization: Increase walking and bicycling usage. Work to increase active transportation for all ages and abilities.
  • Network Connectivity: Promote comfortable and continuous bicycle and pedestrian facilities that connect people to destinations. Expand the active transportation network to include connected, separated and accessible walkways and bikeways.
  • Safety: Reduce bicyclist and pedestrian injuries and fatalities. Work actively and collaboratively with federal, state, regional, local, and private partners to make Ohio safer for people who walk and bike.
  • Livability: Improve the quality of life for all Ohioans. Provide active living environments with safe, connected, accessible facilities along with programs that influence public health and the environment by encouraging walking and bicycling.
  • Preservation: Ensure critical existing infrastructure is in a state of good repair. Maintain existing active transportation facilities through collaboration between state and local partners to ensure safe, accessible walkways and bikeways.

When planning, programing, scoping, and designing walking and bicycling facilities, designers should be guided by WBO’s vision and goals.

2.3 Project Life Cycle

2.3.1 Planning

Figure 2-1 generally describes the process of moving any project type from planning and programing to construction.

Bicycle and pedestrian accommodations may be identified and documented within a variety

of planning documents or policies. This may include Long Range Transportation Plans, local thoroughfare plans, complete streets policies, active transportation plans, school travel plans, etc. For guidance on developing active transportation plans, which specifically document the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists, see ODOT’s Active Transportation Plan Development Guide.

Where plans are unavailable, or do not consider the needs of pedestrians or bicyclists, Chapter 2 can be used to determine if and what type of pedestrian and bicycle facilities should be provided in a project during the planning stage. By considering the potential need for pedestrian and bicycle facilities early in the process, projects can be programed and funded appropriately. Where Complete Street Policies have been adopted, planners and designers must also follow guidance laid out in the Policy.

Figure 2-1: Project Life Cycle

Guides & Policy Planning Programming Funding Project Development





Federal Policy


Access Ohio

Strategic Highway Safety Plan

Local Complete Street Policies

Multimodal Design Guide

L&D Manuals




Active Transportation Plans

Local Thoroughfare Plans

Long-range Transportation Plans

District Work Plans

State and U.S. Bike Route System

School Travel Plans

Vision Zero Plans


Statewide Transportation
Improvement Program

Transportation Improvement Program

Rural Transportation Improvement Programs

Local Capital Improvement Programs





Preliminary Engineering

Environmental Engineering

Final Engineering

Construction Planning Resources

ODOT maintains a variety of transportation system information that project managers can leverage to inform their decision making during the planning and programing process. The following tools provide some important information on existing conditions and can contribute to a prudent and context-sensitive approach to individual projects.

Table 2-1: Planning Resources



Active Transportation Demand and Need Analysis

During WBO’s planning process statewide active transportation demand and needs analyses were conducted. The results of the analysis can be viewed in TIMS and provide a general understanding of if there is a high demand or high need in the project area.

For more information see Walk.Bike.Ohio’s Needs Analysis Report and Walk.Bike.Ohio’s Demand Analysis Report.

Transportation Information Mapping System (TIMS)

ODOT’s web-mapping portal contains many comprehensive datasets that are relevant to multimodal transportation projects. These include:

  • ADA Pushbutton Inventory
  • ADA Crosswalk Inventory
  • ADA Curb Ramp Inventory
  • ADA Sidewalk Inventory
  • ADA Refuge Island Inventory
  • State and US Bike Routes
  • Road Inventory and Traffic Counts

TIMS is a good starting point for project managers to familiarize themselves with existing conditions. It can help identify potential multimodal transportation challenges and opportunities, which should be verified through field work or local expertise.

In addition, the Active Transportation Map Viewer provides an online interface to view layers related to active transportation planning, including previously planned bicycle and pedestrian projects.

 Non-Motorized Database System

The Non-Motorized Database System (NMDS) is a powerful tool for the traffic engineer or planner to organize the agency’s non-motorized count data. It provides a dashboard level summary of the system as well as tools to maintain, review, and report data at the path level. From bike lanes to sidewalks to bike paths to trails, the NMDS module helps manage the data.

 GIS Crash Analysis Tool

GCAT uses GIS (Geographic Information Systems) to produce data that is spatially located to provide a convenient safety crash analysis tool. It allows users to filter data by type of unit (e.g., bicyclist or pedestrian), crash type and severity, contributing circumstances, and other attributes. GCAT helps project managers identify trends in pedestrian and bicycle crashes within their study area, which in turn can guide countermeasure selection to improve safety.

Economic Crash Analysis Tool (ECAT)

The ECAT has the ability to calculate predicted crash frequencies, complete empirical bayes calculations, predict crash frequencies for proposed conditions, conduct alternatives analyses, and complete a benefit-cost analysis.

StreetLight Data

StreetLight Data is an analytics company that organizes and interprets anonymous location data to provide meaningful travel metrics with high spatial accuracy. StreetLight data for Ohio is accessible to any public agency or University within Ohio. It can also be made temporarily available to any consultant working on a public agency’s projects; consultant access is limited to use on those public agency projects. To access the account, contact the Office of Roadway Engineering. To ensure the most accurate information possible for bicycle and pedestrian volumes, ODOT uses permanent and short-duration counts to validate and calibrate StreetLight and other third-party data sources. More information can be found in the Ohio Nonmotorized Monitoring Program Implementation Plan.


WBO is ODOT’s first plan to focus on walking and bicycling policies and programs around the state. The plan guides Ohio’s bike and pedestrian transportation policies and investments in infrastructure and programs.

As part of this, an analysis of bicycle and pedestrian safety data from 2009 to 2018 is available for download through their website.

Additionally, a User Types and Facilities report was also published and covers the impact of land use and network connectivity on the user experience at a high level.

2.3.2 Programing and Funding

ODOT is required by federal law to develop a Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) that facilitates the safe and efficient management, operation, and development of surface transportation systems that will serve the mobility needs of people and freight and includes accessible pedestrian walkways and bicycle transportation facilities. The STIP is developed in cooperation with Ohio’s Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and in consultation with non-metropolitan local officials, Indian Tribal governments, the Secretary of the Interior, State,

Tribal, and local agencies responsible for land use management, natural resources, environmental protection, conservation, and historic preservation. Collaboration and consultation with these stakeholders will ensure prioritization of projects is consistent with the goals and objectives identified by the State, MPOs and locals.

It is the responsibility of each project sponsor to review state and local transportation plans, to ensure an appropriate level of accommodation for pedestrians and bicyclists is constructed on the specific project they are programming, developing and/or managing. Where local plans do not exist, or do not consider all modes, the following may be used to determine the appropriate level of accommodations for pedestrians and bicyclists:

  • Context sensitive guidance for the provision of pedestrian and bicycling facilities (see Sections 2.4 and 2.5);
  • Public engagement (see Section 2.6); and
  • Multimodal analysis tools as appropriate (see Section 2.7).

Selecting pedestrian and bicycling accommodations should be guided by Ohio’s Statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan goals (see Section 2.2.3) and each project sponsor should coordinate this process with their ODOT District Bicycle and Pedestrian coordinator and MPO. Early identification and engagement with stakeholders during the public engagement process is strongly encouraged.

There are many simple and cost-effective ways to integrate or improve non-motorized users into the design and operation of Ohio’s transportation system, by including pedestrian and bicycle accommodation as a part of larger ongoing projects. Examples include:

  • Providing paved shoulders on new and reconstructed roads.
  • Restriping roads (either as a stand-alone project, or after a resurfacing or reconstruction project) to create striped bike lanes.
  • Building sidewalks and shared use paths, installing traffic calming, and marking crosswalks or on-street bike lanes as a part of new highways or roadways.
  • Requiring new transit vehicles to have bicycle racks and/or hooks installed and providing pedestrian and bike facility connections within a reasonable radius of bus stops (see Section 2.5.3).

Federal surface transportation law provides flexibility to states and MPOs to fund bicycle and pedestrian improvements from a wide variety of programs. Virtually all the major transportation funding programs can be used for bicycle and pedestrian-related projects. When considering ways to improve conditions for bicycling and walking, MPOs and local governments should review and use the most appropriate funding source for a particular project and not rely primarily on Transportation Alternatives Program funding. Many bicycle and pedestrian projects can be eligible and meet the goals of other programs, such as the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, the Surface Transportation Program, the Highway Safety Improvement Program, the Safe Routes to School Program, the Clean Ohio Trails Fund, the State and Local Capital Improvements Program, the Recreational Trails Program, Community Development Block Grants, and the Federal Transit, Capital, Urban & Rural Program.

Most funding programs require a local dollar match, and the amount will differ depending on the program. It is usually encouraged to provide above the minimum required amount and pair other funding sources for a local government to be competitive. Funding programs are administered by several agencies including the Ohio Department of Transportation, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Public Works Commission, Ohio Department of Development, MPOs, regional transit authorities, and Housing and Urban Development entitlement Cities & Counties.

2.3.3 Project Development Process

Once a project has been funded, the Project Development Process (PDP) may begin. In the first phase of the PDP process, Chapter 2 can be used in conjunction with the PIP and public engagement to assess if there are additional pedestrian and bicycle facility needs within the project area. If a need is identified, it should be documented through the project Purpose and Need Statement. Project managers may need to reevaluate funding needs depending on the findings of this process.

Subsequent sections provide additional guidelines for specific stages of the PDP. For a complete overview for all project types, see the PDP Manual. Purpose and Need Statement

A project’s Purpose and Need Statement guides the project from development through construction. A well-defined and well-justified Purpose and Need Statement should clearly define the primary and secondary transportation needs that show that a No Build alternative will not solve an existing transportation problem. A good Purpose and Need Statement helps to both develop the project scope and aid in the selection of a preferred alternative for the project. The Purpose should clearly define the transportation problem to address the issue. The Need will provide data to support the problem statement (i.e., Purpose), which could include issues of safety, existing deficiencies, user demand, equity, etc.

Section 2.2.3 summarizes ODOT’s statewide vision and goals for walking and biking in the state and may be used as a guide at this stage. Statewide active transportation demand and needs analyses can be viewed in TIMS and provide a general understanding of if there is a high demand or high needs for active transportation in the project area, see Table 2-1. The findings of this high demand and high need analysis may be used to support a project’s Purpose and Need Statement.

Stakeholder involvement is also an essential element for establishing the project’s Purpose and Need Statement. See Section 2.6 for more information on stakeholder and public engagement.

For general information regarding developing a Purpose and Need Statement, see ODOT’s Developing Purpose and Need Guidance. Preliminary Engineering

In addition to the feasibility study and preliminary engineering activities laid out in the Preliminary Engineering Phase of the PDP, the following should be considered for project scopes that include pedestrian and bicycle facilities:

  • Include multimodal level of service and bicycle and pedestrian performance metrics as typical criteria for feasibility studies and alternatives analysis. This could include:
    • Pedestrian and bicyclist count data as part of traffic data
    • Pedestrian and bicyclist crash data as part of the safety analysis
    • Pedestrian and bicyclist delay under existing and future conditions
  • Consider conducting road safety audits, walkability audits, and bikeability audits to gather information on existing conditions that may be applicable to safety.
  • Where accommodations for pedestrians and/or bicycles are identified in the project purpose, approaches to cross-section formulation should be presented from right-of-way edge to edge rather than from the centerline out to ensure that accommodation of all modes is positively encouraged in the preliminary design development.
  • For larger, complex projects, the Highway Capacity Manual: A Guide for Multimodal Mobility Analysis (HCM2016) should be used in an effort to quantitatively assess and balance the level and quality of performance for each mode. This analysis could result in independent levels of service for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, and motor vehicle drivers, with a solution that is designed to provide equivalent levels of safety and services for each mode. Another approach is to emphasize safety by prioritizing the needs of the most vulnerable users of the street. The safety of pedestrians, as the most vulnerable street users, would receive priority in this case.
  • For interchange projects, pedestrian and bicyclist needs should meet the best practices laid out in Chapter 9: Multimodal Accommodations at Interchanges & Alternative Intersections.

2.4 Context-Sensitive Design

Context-sensitive design asks questions first about the need and purpose of the transportation project, and then equally addresses safety, mobility, and the preservation of scenic, aesthetic, historic, environmental, and other community values. It results in projects that are sensitive to, and incorporate, local circumstances and priorities, and can generate greater community support.

This guide distinguishes five land use context classifications for the purposes of planning and designing for people walking and bicycling. The five context classifications are shown in Figure 2-2 and are generally defined by development density (existence of structures and structure types), land uses (primarily residential, commercial, and/or agricultural), and building setbacks (distance of structures to adjacent roadways). While a street may have one functional classification, it may pass through multiple context classifications, and the transitions between those classifications is often gradual. Possible changes in context classification resulting from future development must also be considered in design. Understanding the context classification is important to conduct a more thorough assessment of multimodal needs to identify priorities among transportation modes within a corridor.

Figure 2-2: Land Use Types (Source: Florida DOT Context Classifications Modified by Toole Design)



















2.5 Pedestrian and Bicycle Accommodations

The following sections discuss when to and what type of pedestrian or bicycle facility to consider based on context. Existing data and analyses listed in Sections 2.3.1 and 2.7 are available to support the planning process. Designers should use this section in conjunction with public engagement to determine a project’s scope of work.

2.5.1 Pedestrian Facilities

The provision of facilities to accommodate pedestrians along and crossing roads is essential for the safe movement of people walking. Other than on limited access freeways where pedestrians are prohibited, the provision of pedestrian facilities should be assessed along any road where pedestrians are permitted, including along rural and suburban highways. In rural town, suburban, and urban land uses, pedestrians are expected and a well-connected pedestrian network is necessary to provide for safe travel.

In addition to the required provisions stated in Section 2.2.1 and 2.2.2, pedestrian accommodations should be provided where the following conditions are present:

  • In residential and commercial urban core, urban, suburban, and rural town context classifications
  • Along corridors with pedestrian travel generators and destinations (i.e., schools including colleges and universities, public parks, commercial centers, community centers including public libraries, government buildings, hospitals, transit stops, etc.), or areas where such generators and destinations can be expected prior to the design year of the project
  • Where there is an occurrence of reported pedestrian crashes that could be mitigated by providing separate sidewalk/walkways
  • Where there is evidence of pedestrian traffic (e.g., counts, a worn path along a roadway, etc.)
  • Where a need is identified by a local government or MPO through an adopted planning study or where existing or future land uses indicate a need
  • Where the project area has a high Active Transportation Need and Demand score
  • On all new and widened bridges where any of the criteria listed above are met Sidewalk and Walkway Facility Selection

Table 2-2 provides recommendations for sidewalk and walkway types for various land use context classifications. Sidewalks should also be considered on all projects which provide curb-and-gutter and in areas where there is obvious pedestrian use (such as worn footpaths). A sidewalk or walkway should be provided on both sides of the roadway.

Table 2-2: Guidelines for New Sidewalk/Walkway Installations

Land Use Context Classifications



Paved shoulders

Shared Streets

Shared use paths


Sidewalks on both sides of the roadway

Shared use paths

 Urban Core, Urban, and Rural Town

Sidewalks on both sides of the roadway

Shared Streets

Shared Use Path Pedestrian Crossings

Whether marked or unmarked, crosswalks exist at all legs of all intersections represented by the extension of the property lines, curb lines, or edge of the traversable roadway through the intersection, including T-intersections, except where signs prohibit pedestrian crossings. However, as intersecting traffic volumes approach 9,000 vehicles/day, vehicle speeds exceed 30 mph, or the number of travel lanes to be crossed exceed two lanes, the rate of motorist yielding on the uncontrolled approach drops significantly which can create crossing challenges for people walking or bicycling. In these instances, designers should consider enhanced crossings treatments at currently uncontrolled intersections or mid-block where signalized crossings exceed 600 ft.

Marked crossings should be located where there is a desire to cross due to existing or future land use. Examples of this include:

  • Schools, public parks, libraries, or community centers located across a street
  • Commercial centers, public parks, government centers, and hospital or school/university campus spanning across a street
  • Transit stops
  • Existing pedestrian demand demonstrates a need (e.g., counts, parking lot and office building on opposite sides of the roadway, shared use path crossings, etc.)

When evaluating a corridor to determine appropriate enhanced crossings, it is important that designers consider both land uses and destinations along the corridor as well as in the areas immediately adjacent to the corridor. For example, a commercial street may be surrounded by residential areas that contain parks and schools. Considering pedestrian circulation to those major destinations within neighborhoods will help designers identify key crossings along the commercial corridor that serve the larger area as well as land uses along the street.

Pedestrian and bicycling crashes should also be reviewed to determine if an enhanced crossing should be provided at an uncontrolled intersection or mid-block location. However, a lack of crashes does not always indicate that existing crossings are safe (see Section 2.7.2).

To promote and achieve high compliance, mid-block crossings should be located where intersection spacing is greater than 600 ft, and there is a natural desire line for the pedestrian’s path of travel (as described above). Mid-block crosswalks should typically not be installed within the functional area of intersections. They should be located a minimum of:

  • 200 ft. from signalized intersections
  • 120 ft. to 200 ft. or more from unsignalized intersections.1

Selecting pedestrian crossing treatments and designing for safe crossings is discussed in Sections 4.4 and 4.5. For crossing design of uncontrolled intersections along bicycle boulevards, see Section 6.3.2 and 6.5.6.

2.5.2 Bicycle Facilities

Bicyclists should be expected on all roadways except where prohibited by law. A network of safe, comfortable, connected, and intuitive bikeways supports bicycling as a viable, convenient, and appealing mode of transportation for people of all ages and abilities. Communities with a well- designed and maintained bicycle network typically have higher rates of bicycling. A safe and connected network provides users with a comfortable place to ride over the course of their entire trip. In urban and suburban centers and rural towns, where a large share of trips are shorter than three miles in length, there is opportunity for bicycling as a transportation mode to complement recreational bicycle activity. A bikeway should typically be provided when any of the following conditions are met:

  • If the project is on a U.S., state, regional, or local bicycle route
  • Where a project connects to an existing bikeway (e.g., bicycle boulevard, paved shoulder, bicycle lane, separated bicycle lane, or shared use path)
  • Along project alignments or within close proximity to bicycle travel generators and destinations (i.e., residential neighborhoods, commercial centers, schools, colleges, scenic byways, public parks, transit stops/stations, etc.)
  • Within a 3-mile bicyclist catchment area of an existing fixed-route transit facility (i.e., stop, station, or park-and-ride lot). A catchment area is defined by a radial distance from a transit facility per Federal Transit Administration (FTA) guidelines - this includes crossing and intersecting streets
  • Where there is an occurrence of reported bicycle crashes that could be mitigated through the provision of a bikeway
  • Where the project area has a high Active Transportation Need and Demand score
  • On all new and widened bridges when any of the criteria listed above are met Bikeway Facility Selection

The selection of a preferred bikeway requires a balance of data analysis and engineering judgment working within relevant constraints for the project. Key criteria includes the target design users, traffic conditions, and land use contexts. Before beginning this process, designers should be familiar with the different bicycle design user profiles discussed in Section 3.2.1.

Proximity to motor vehicle traffic is a significant source of stress and discomfort for bicyclists. Crash and fatality risks sharply rise for vulnerable users when motor vehicle speeds exceed 25 mph. Further, as motorized traffic volumes increase above 6,000 vehicles/day, it becomes increasingly difficult for motorists and bicyclists to share roadway space. For example, on a roadway with 10,000 vehicles/day, a bicyclist traveling at 10 mph will be passed approximately every four seconds by a motor vehicle during the peak hour.

Figure 2-3 provides guidance for how motor vehicle volume and speed should be taken into consideration to determine a preferred bikeway type in the rural town core (e.g., main streets), suburban, and urban contexts for the Interested but Concerned Bicyclist. The preferred bikeway type shown in Figure 2-3 is based on Bicycle Level of Traffic Stress (LTS). If the roadway in question cannot physically accommodate the preferred bikeway type, refer to Section

Figure 2-3: Preferred Bikeway Type for Interested but Concerned Bicyclists in Urban Core, Urban, Suburban and Rural Town Contexts

Figure 2-3


  1. Chart assumes operating speeds are similar to posted speeds. If they differ, use operating speed rather than posted speed
  2. See Section 2.8.1 for a discussion of alternatives if the preferred bikeway type is not feasible.

Rural roadways, shared lanes, bike lanes, paved shoulders, and shared use paths are potential bikeway types. Highly Confident or Somewhat Confident Bicyclists are most likely to travel long distances on rural roadways between towns and cities and are therefore often assumed as the default design user profiles. Figure 2-4 shows when a shoulder (or other bikeway) should be provided to accommodate these bicyclists based on traffic volumes and posted speeds in the rural context. The preferred bikeway type shown in Figure 2-4 is based on the Bicycle Level of Service (LOS) as described in the Highway Capacity Manual. Designing for the Highly Confident or Somewhat Confident Bicyclists will not accommodate people of all ages and abilities. For agencies that have identified that there is a need for an all ages and abilities facility, Figure 2-3 should be used for the Interested but Concerned design user profile.

Figure 2-4: Preferred Bikeway for Highly Confident Bicyclists in Rural Contexts

Figure 2-4


  1. Chart assumes operating speeds are similar to posted speeds. If they differ, use operating speed rather than posted speed.
  2. If the percentage of heavy vehicles is greater than 10%, consider providing a wider shoulder or a separated pathway.

Along rural roads with higher speeds (45 mph or greater) it is preferable to provide a shared use path separated from the road if the road segment:

  • is a well-used and important bicycle route
  • is located in an area that attracts larger volumes of bicycling due to scenic views
  • serves as a key bicycle connection between major destinations
  • serves a population of bicyclists who fit the Interested but Concerned Bicyclist Profile Bikeway Feasibility Assessment

Once the preferred bikeway type is identified, designers will need to assess its feasibility in the given project location against potential project constraints which could limit the ability to implement the preferred bikeway. This assessment may involve determining whether additional separation between motorists and bicyclists is warranted, identifying portions of the roadway to reallocate to achieve desired widths, selecting the “next best” bikeway, or selecting an alternative route for the bikeway.

Designers have an obligation to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of the public, which may require a careful evaluation of mobility and safety for each user. When evaluating safety trade-offs, options that reduce serious injuries and fatalities should be prioritized over options that may reduce property damage or minor injuries.

Conditions for Increasing Separation

There are a variety of conditions that may indicate the need for greater separation between motorists and bicyclists, which could increase the width of the bikeway or materials used in the buffer. The conditions where greater separation may be appropriate to accommodate the selected design user include:

  • Unusual peak hour motor vehicle volumes (more than 8 to 12 percent of AADT),
  • High percentage of heavy vehicles (trucks, buses, and heavy vehicles are more than 5 percent of traffic),
  • Motor vehicle operating speeds exceed posted speed
  • Frequent parking turnover or heavy curbside activity,
  • High volumes of bicyclists (500 bicyclists per hour),
  • Presence of vulnerable populations (i.e., school children),
  • Network connectivity gaps,
  • Proximity to transit; and
  • Frequent driveways.

Options for Reallocating Roadway Space

Bikeways should be built to the minimum dimensions. For retrofit projects, it may be necessary to evaluate options that reallocate existing space or use minimum or constrained dimensions. The following are strategies for reallocating roadway space to accommodate a bikeway:

  • Narrowing wider than necessary travel lanes, including medians/turn lanes;
  • Removing travel or turn lanes;
  • Removing parking on one side of street; and
  • Converting angled parking to parallel parking.

Designers should refer to Section 7.5 reallocating street space for additional guidance.

Selecting the Bikeway Type or Parallel Routes

Impacts on ridership, comfort/stress, safety, and overall network connectivity should be considered when evaluating alternative bikeway designs or potential parallel routes to ensure the project will still meet the purpose identified at the outset. The following trade-offs should be considered and documented in the design process:

  • Reduced or suppressed ridership where the bikeway does not meet the needs of the target design user;
  • Additional length of trip when bicyclists must use a parallel route. This length should not exceed 30 percent more than original route and should not add excessive delay;
  • Critical gaps in the network when projects fail to provide bicycle accommodations;
  • Reduced safety where bicyclists must operate with relatively high motor vehicle speed and/or high-volume traffic in shared lanes;
  • Reduced safety where bicyclists must operate in narrow space (e.g., narrow bike lanes adjacent to parking lanes or narrow shared use paths with high volumes of pedestrians or bicyclists)
  • Reduced safety where bicyclists improperly use facilities (e.g., bicycle the wrong way on shared lanes, sidewalk riding, etc.); and
  • Increased sidewalk bicycling where bicyclists are avoiding low-comfort/high-stress roadway conditions.

If selecting a parallel route as the preferred route for the Interested but Concerned Bicyclist occurs, the provision of a bikeway along the desired route should still be considered to accommodate the Highly Confident design user and to provide connections for bicyclists to and from properties that exist along that desired route. An example would be the provision of a bike lane or shoulder on a higher volume roadway which can benefit the Highly Confident bicyclists while a convenient, direct parallel route on an adjacent low volume street serves the Interested but Concerned Bicyclists.

2.5.3 Transit

Transit cannot function without people getting to and from the transit stop or station. This access must be safe, comfortable, and convenient to allow transit to serve as a high-quality transportation option and system.

Bicycle transportation is particularly effective in combination with transit systems: when used together, each expands the range of the other mode. Linking bicycles with transit can help people overcome such barriers as lengthy trips, trips where transit service exists on some but not all of the route, long transfer times between transit routes, personal security concerns, poor weather, and riding at night or up hills. Connecting transit stops and stations with a network of bicycle facilities is an important element of planning for bike-to-transit trips.2

The Federal Transit Administration considers bike facilities within three (3) miles of a public transportation stop eligible for funding due to their “de facto functional relationship.”3 Routes designed to help people access public transportation stops are commonly referred to as “first- and last-mile connections.”4

Planning for first- and last-mile connections should consider:5

  • Low-stress bicycle routes to arrive at transit stations and stops.
  • Seamless connections to long-term, short-term, and sheltered bike parking that does not require dismounting.
  • Bicycle storage on transit vehicles, such as “bikes-on-buses” and “roll-on rail” access.
  • Adequate parking.

Providing safe and accessible pedestrian facilities at transit stops is important to facilitate mobility. Similar to bicycle first- and last-mile needs, connectivity to the sidewalk network and accessibility to other mobility options such as bicycles, scooters, or park and ride lots provide pedestrians options to travel beyond the stop to their destinations. While individual transit agencies within Ohio have specific design criteria, coordinating stop locations, crosswalks, and crossing frequency, and identifying additional crossing treatments such as high visibility crosswalk markings, crossing islands, flashing crossing signs, rapid rectangular flashing beacons, or pedestrian hybrid beacons on corridors will be helpful to address pedestrian comfort and safety.

2.5.4 Facilities that Prohibit Multimodal Users

Some roadways prohibit people walking and bicycling, such as highways and freeways. In these scenarios, facilities that prohibit walking and bicycling can create a barrier to pedestrian and bicyclist travel, particularly if the overall road network is sparse and alternative routes that would present minimal time or distance detour for pedestrians and bicyclist are not available.

When designing access-controlled roads—or projects in their vicinity—it is important for designers to review key origins and destinations and the alternate routes available to access them. Planners and designers should evaluate if ample crossings are provided so that people can cross the access-controlled road safely and legally, with minimal detour from a direct route between their origin and destination.

In some cases, the only roadway that connects a town to other destinations (e.g., employment or education centers) may be access-restricted to pedestrians and bicyclists, in which case it is particularly essential to consider the needs of multimodal users. In these cases, a shared use path should be considered to provide safe separation between high-speed vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Where there are no safe and legal routes for pedestrians or bicyclists immediately adjacent to or across an access-controlled corridor, designers should also consider providing a grade-separated facility to serve pedestrians and bicyclists to allow them to safely and legally cross the access-controlled corridor.

It is particularly important to provide safe and legal pedestrian and bicycle facilities when constructing bridges across a facility that prohibits these users, or across a similar barrier (such as a river), since crossing opportunities of such barriers for pedestrians and bicyclists are often not available where they may be needed or desired by these potential users.

2.6 Public Engagement

All of the tools described in this chapter contribute to the planning process. However, no tool is a substitute for public engagement. Involving the public in the planning and project development process is an essential tool in the planning and design of multimodal transportation facilities. It builds public trust in the process, improves the overall quality of work, ensures that the project aligns with local needs and priorities, and encourages community ownership of the final result.

People who walk and bike in the community have the best knowledge of current conditions as well as specific opinions on areas that need new facilities or current facilities that may need design changes. Opinions and feedback of interested users who do not walk, bicycle, or use transit regularly (or at all) should also be sought to provide input regarding which facilities or programs would enable them to use multimodal transportation options. Designers should also consider hosting walk and bike audits with local stakeholders to better understand safety issues using both local knowledge and professional expertise.

For a project to serve a community, a diverse cross-section of people must guide the planning process. A blended approach that employs both traditional engagement strategies and more innovative methods is often the most effective way to gather a depth and diversity of perspectives that will ensure strong community support for the project. Conventional outreach efforts could include a website, community workshops and open houses, stakeholder meetings, and online surveys. These methods tend to not reach underrepresented communities as well as more innovative methods, such as focus groups, translated materials for non-English speakers, interactive, informative games, temporary demonstration projects, and pop-up tabling at community events. See the Active Transportation Plan Development Guide Chapter 3: Engage the Community for more information on community engagement including a list of engagement strategies with associated cost and reach of underrepresented communities.

The demographic characteristics of participants in public engagement events should reflect the demographics of the community being served, to ensure the full range of needs of the community are being met and that the planned outcomes reflect them. Project teams should make a concerted effort to engage marginalized and underserved groups, including communities of color, youth, older adults, individuals with low-income and/or low educational attainment, zero-vehicle households, people with disabilities, and limited English or non-English speakers. Earmarking budgets for these activities in advance is important to make sure the appropriate resources are available (e.g., interpreters).

A public engagement plan can help guide the engagement process and is required for certain projects under ODOT’s NEPA public involvement requirements. Public engagement plans describe the approach and strategies for community and stakeholder outreach to build consensus throughout the planning and design process. They identify engagement tools and resources, target audiences, intended messages, and timing relative to milestones within the greater project schedule. Public engagement plans also include opportunities for stakeholders and elected officials to participate in community engagement and take ownership of the project. A public engagement plan is a living document that should be revisited and updated as needed throughout the project. The details of the engagement approach should be developed with significant input from key stakeholders and community groups, including advocates, elected officials, local transportation department staff, District staff, and Central Office staff.

More information on public involvement may be found on ODOT’s website, ODOT’s Active Transportation Plan Development Guide, its Public Involvement Manual for NEPA and the Project Development Process, and the regularly updated Public Involvement Requirements document.

2.7 Multimodal Analysis Tools

Below are several analyses that can be conducted for a single project. For information on network planning or planning for multiple project’s see ODOT’s Active Transportation Development Guide’s Chapter 5: Assess Existing Conditions.

2.7.1 Safety Analysis

Analysis of crash trends and crash risk, particularly at intersections or along corridors where most crashes between active transportation users and motorists occur, is one of several factors that are helpful when selecting and designing appropriate pedestrian and bicycle facilities. By analyzing crash data, ideally in conjunction with volume data, planners and engineers seek to target specific areas, understand the combination of conditions that could be creating high crash rates, profile corridors with high crash risk, compare the characteristics of one facility type to another, and focus attention most effectively. When using crash data to determine potential locations for improvements to reduce the likelihood, frequency or severity of crashes, it is important to review at least three years of data to account for anomalies that might occur in a single year.

2.7.2 Perceived Safety Analysis

The perceived safety of walking or bicycling can be a barrier for a person to consider that mode of transportation. For pedestrians, perceived safety lies in personal safety and security. Sidewalk width and proximity to traffic lanes, especially high-speed traffic, can discourage pedestrian travel. Pedestrian crossings that are excessive in length, have confusing signal phasing or locations, or where pedestrian crossings intersect with fast turning vehicles impact perceived as well as actual safety. Factors such as pedestrian volumes and inadequate or no lighting is another perceived safety factor. Sidewalks with higher volumes of people walking tend to be viewed as more secure locations to walk. Dark or poorly lit sidewalks and sidewalks with few pedestrians may be viewed as unsafe, particularly for people walking alone.6 Dark or poorly lit sidewalks also have direct impacts on actual safety; 75% of pedestrian deaths occur at night and can likely be attributed to inadequate lighting.7

Research has found a significant relationship between how safe and comfortable people feel bicycling, whether and how often they bicycle, their preferences for bicycle facility types, and the provision of those facilities. 8, 9, 10 If planners and designers know how safe people feel along various routes, they can plan and design for bicycling that overcomes those barriers.

Data on perceived safety provides important insights into street conditions and actual risks that crash data may not reflect. Various studies have found that pedestrian and bicycle crashes, even those involving motorists, tend to be underreported. 11, 12 A lack of crashes does not always indicate that there are no incidents, as studies have shown that near misses are more common than collisions and that these near-miss events impact a user’s perception of their safety using the facility.13, 14 Bicyclists who experience near-miss crashes are likely to be more vigilant. Still, they are also likely to be more concerned about bicycling conditions leading some people to avoid certain routes or stop bicycling.15 Some streets which have few crashes are, in fact, streets which feel so unpleasant or unsafe that very few people bicycle there. Thus, a small number of crashes does not necessarily indicate that a street is safe, but rather that there may be fewer people walking and bicycling or unreported crashes.

Walk and bike audits are often used to assess the safety and comfort of sidewalks, streets, and crossings within a community. Audits are conducted with residents of the study area or employees of local businesses interested in proving the walking and bicycling in their community. Though this process, designers can leverage local knowledge to better understand how people are using the network today and what deficiencies or safety issues are present that are not otherwise visible through available data and mapping.

2.7.3 Equity Analysis

Walking and bicycling is an important source of transportation for many at the lower end of the economic spectrum.16 Planning processes can include a focus on making the multimodal

transportation network accessible and safe for people of all socioeconomic and racial backgrounds, as well as people of any age and gender. During WBO’s planning process statewide active transportation demand and needs analyses were conducted. The results of the analysis can be viewed in TIMS and provide a general understanding of if there is a high demand or high need in the project area. For more information on Equity analyses see Walk.Bike.Ohio’s Needs Analysis Report and Walk.Bike.Ohio’s Demand Analysis Report.

2.7.4 Cost-Benefit Analysis

Planning agencies can use cost-benefit analysis to quantify the impacts of bikeways and discuss them in easily understood terms. Costs are generally divided into one-time capital construction costs and ongoing annual operating costs. Application of a cost-benefit methodology to pedestrian and bicycle projects can allow comparison to motor vehicle and transit projects. A comparative cost-benefit analysis of planned bikeways can help prioritize projects that will have a high benefit- to-cost ratio. A cost-benefit analysis tool for bikeways can be found at the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center website.17, 18 The benefit calculation includes estimates of mobility benefits (existing and new commuters), health benefits (estimated cost savings), recreation benefits (estimated value), and mode shift (reduced congestion, reduced air pollution, and user cost savings).19

2.7.5 Qualitative Indices

Some systems of evaluating bicycling and walking conditions are qualitative and based on surveys and observations. Examples include the Bicycle Environmental Quality Index from San Francisco and the City of Charlotte Level of Service Protocol. 20, 21 Walk audits are on-the-ground investigations that identify concerns related to pedestrian safety, access, comfort, and convenience. They allow transportation professionals to gain a local understanding of pedestrian challenges. In return, the public learns what kind of tools can be used to mitigate problems. Data and feedback gathered during the audit can inform policy and infrastructure recommendations. These and other qualitative approaches can be used to provide information for the planning and design process.

2.7.6 Pedestrian Demand Analysis

Understanding existing and potential levels of walking and bicycling is important in multimodal transportation planning, particularly if there is a need to prioritize among many potential capital investments. Estimating demand is less important when opportunities arise to incorporate the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists in roadway resurfacing and rehabilitation projects, since routine accommodations for walking and bicycling should be a standard operating procedure. Methods for determining pedestrian demand include Stated Preference and Corridor Level Analysis, described below. Stated Preference

This method relies on public engagement to identify where people want to walk. It is a valuable and common tool used in many pedestrian planning efforts, but its effectiveness is limited to those populations who are able and willing to engage in the planning process. The needs of communities that have historically been ignored or marginalized in transportation planning, and who are often not included in transportation planning processes, (e.g., minorities; people with disabilities; people with lower income, financial resources, or who are experiencing homelessness; youth, people from a different national or cultural origin or who have limited English proficiency, etc.) are only captured in this process if equity is a deliberate focus of engagement activities. Corridor Level Analysis

This method is used to estimate future pedestrian activity along a corridor if a certain facility type or improvement was provided, given a minimum level of pedestrian accommodation be achieved. Similar to sketch planning models, corridor level analysis requires robust contextual data, including existing number of utilitarian and recreational trips, proximity to populations and employment, level of service, and existing infrastructure quality.

2.7.7 Bicycle Demand Analysis

Evaluating bicycle travel demand shares some similarities to motor vehicle travel demand modeling. Both forecast future needs based on objective data inputs. Travel demand should consider latent demand (demand that is not apparent, but underlying) because existing conditions on a roadway are often a significant deterrent to bicycle travel, which can be alleviated through design changes. Therefore, bicycle travel demand methods make assumptions regarding how many people would choose to bicycle along a given corridor if conditions were conducive to bicycling based on surrounding land use information and other relevant variables.22 Bicycle demand can also be established based on community priorities and goals. For example, if a mode shift goal is established for a community, then the analysis should assume that the mode shift goal will be achieved, and the appropriate mode shift percentages used for future analysis. Planning for the mode shift goal allows the goal to be achievable.

Planners and designers should also be aware that the peak hours for bicyclists may not correspond to the peak hours for motorists. For example, peak bicycle activity may occur during the mid-day on a weekend if the bike facility connects to a popular recreation destination. There may also be significant land use-driven (e.g., university or school) or seasonal (e.g., summer vs. winter) variability in bicycling activity that should be considered when evaluating volume counts or projections.

Research shows that shorter distances between destinations and increased density and mixing of population, employment centers, schools, parks, transit stops, retail, and housing result in higher numbers of people bicycling for utilitarian, commuting, and recreational purposes, while longer distances between destinations and steep topography result in lower numbers of people bicycling.23, 24, 25 Additional key factors are socioeconomic factors and the presence of safe bicycling infrastructure.26 Network barriers, including crossings of freeways, interstates, railroads, or bodies of water, as well as roadways that are uncomfortable to bicycle on or cross, can substantially inhibit bicycling. Accordingly, these factors should be accounted for in estimates of anticipated bicycle travel demand with long-term planning working to address the network barriers.

Determinants of bicycling between rural and urban areas can be different, but the relative rates of bicycling are similar between the contexts based on analysis of the National Household Travel Survey data.27 Rural areas may have reduced rates of utilitarian and commuting bicycling, but that can be offset by recreational bicycling trips.28 In the U.S., older adults have been found to be more likely to bicycle in less urbanized areas than in highly urbanized areas.29

Chapter 2 Endnotes

  1. NACTO Urban Street Design Guide
  2. Schneider, R., Toole Design Group, College Park. Transit Cooperative Research Program Synthesis 62: Integration of Bicycles and Transit. TCRP, Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC, 2005.
  3. 76 F.R. 52046.
  4. FTA. Manual on Pedestrian and Bicycle Connections to Transit. Report No. 0111, Federal Transit
  5. Pucher, J. and R. Buehler, Integrating Bicycling and Public Transport in North America. Journal of Public Transportation, Vol. 12, No. 3, 2009, pp. 79-104.
  6. Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities. Washington, DC: American Association of State Highway and Trans- portation Officials. (2004, July).
  7. National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2019, March). Pedestrians: 2017 data. (Traffic Safety Facts. Report No. DOT HS 812 681). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  8. Dill, D. and McNeil, N. Revisiting the Four Types of Cyclists. In Transportation Research Record 2587. TRB, National Research Council, Washington, DC, 2016.
  9. Winters, M., G. Davidson, D. Kao, and K. Teschke. Motivators and Deterrents of Bicycling: Comparing Influences on Decisions to Ride. Transportation, Vol. 38, No. 1, 2010, pp. 153–168.
  10. Sanders, R. L. We can all get along: The alignment of driver and bicyclist roadway design preferences in the San Francisco Bay Area. Transportation Research Part A, Vol. 91, 2016, pp. 120-133.
  11. Lopez, D. S, D. B. Sunjaya, S. Chan, S. Dobbins, and R.A. Dicker. Using Trauma Center Data to Identify Missed Bicycle Injuries and Their Associated Costs. Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, Vol. 73, No. 6, 2012, pp. 1602-1606.
  12. Stutts, J. C., and W.W. Hunter. Injuries to Pedestrians and Bicyclists: An Analysis Based on Hospital Emergency Department Data. FHWA- RD-99-078. Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC, 1997.
  13. Sanders, R. L. Perceived Traffic Risk for Cyclists: The Impact of Near Miss and Collision Experiences. Accident Analysis and Prevention, Vol. 75, 2015, pp. 26-34.
  14. Joshi, M.S., V. Senior, and G.P. Smith. A Diary Study of the Risk Perceptions of Road Users. Health Risk Society, Vol. 3, No. 3, 2001, pp. 261–279.
  15. Aldred, R. (2016). Cycling near misses: Their frequency, impact, and prevention. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 90, 69-83.
  16. Turrell, G., M. Haynes, L.A. Wilson, and B. Giles-Corti. Can the Built Environment Reduce Health Inequalities? A Study of Neighborhood Socioeconomic Disadvantage and Walking for Transport. Health and Place, Vol. 19, 2013, pp. 89–98.
  17. University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center. Benefit-Cost Analysis of Bicycle Facilities. [cited November 22, 2017]. Available from http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/bikecost.
  18. Bushell, M. A., B. W. Poole, C. V. Zegeer, and D. A. Rodriguez. Costs for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Infrastructure Improvements. Prepared for the Federal Highway Administration by UNC Highway Safety Research Center, October 2013.
  19. Krizek K., G. Barnes, G. Poindexter, P. Mogush, K. Thompson, D. Levinson, N. Tilahun, D. Loutzenheiser, D. Kidston, W. Hunter, D. Tharpe, Z. Gillenwater, and R. Killingsworth. National Cooperative Highway Research Program Report 552: Guidelines for Analysis of Investments in Bicycle Facilities. NCHRP, Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC, 2006.
  20. Parks, J., A. Tanaka, P. Ryus, C. Monsere, N. McNeil, and M. Goodno. Assessment of Three Alternative Bicycle Infrastructure Quali- ty-of-Service Metrics. In Transportation Research Record 2387. TRB, National Research Council, Washington, DC, 2014.
  21. Brozen, M., T. Black, and R. Liggett. What’s a Passing Grade? Comparing Measures and Variables in Multi-Modal Street Performance Calculations. In Transportation Research Record 2420. TRB, National Research Council, Washington, DC, 2014.
  22. Aoun, A., J. Bjornstad, B. DuBose, M. Mitman, and M. Pelon. Bicycle and Pedestrian Forecasting Tools: State of the Practice. Prepared for the Federal Highway Administration, April 2015.
  23. Schneider, R. J., H. Lingqian, and J. Stefanich. Development of a neighborhood commute mode share model using nationally-available data. Transportation, 2017, pp. 1-21.
  24. Saelens, B. E., J.F. Sallis, and L. D. Frank. Environmental Correlates of Walking and Cycling: Findings from the Transportation, Urban Design, and Planning Literatures. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, Vol. 25, No. 2, 2003, pp. 80-91.
  25. Griswold, J., A. Medury, and R. Schneider. Pilot Models for Estimating Bicycle Intersection Volumes. In Transportation Research Record 2247. TRB, National Research Council, Washington, DC, 2011.
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3 - Elements of Design

Published: January 20, 2023

This chapter provides guidance for elements of design that are common to a wide range of pedestrian and bicycle facility types. These include design speed, sight distance, physical and operating width, alignment elements, and other considerations such as utilities, landscaping, and surface treatments.

Multimodal facility design controls are based on the physical and operating characteristics of various types of pedestrians and bicyclists and the vehicles and mobility devices they use to get around (see Table 3-13). Additionally, the interactions between users of shared facilities, such as shared use paths, must also be considered in the design. The pedestrian and bicycle physical characteristics include the user profile, size of the person and bicycle, and eye height, while the operating characteristics include the speed, reaction time, and braking ability.

Other elements of design that are important to the safe travel of people walking and bicycling include lighting, drainage, surface quality, placement of utilities and landscape elements, and geometric design strategies to reduce the number and severity of crashes at crossings. This chapter and later chapters discuss these common elements of design.

3.1 Design Flexibility and Engineering Judgement

Designers have significant flexibility making decisions regarding roadway design criteria. As defined by FHWA in its 2013 guidance memorandum, Bicycle and Pedestrian Facility Design Flexibility,1 FHWA supports a flexible approach to bicycle and pedestrian facility design, including the use of multiple national guides and resources, such as those published by AASHTO, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), and Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), to inform bicycle and pedestrian facility designs. FHWA explicitly “encourages agencies to appropriately use these guides and other resources to… go beyond the minimum requirements, and proactively provide convenient, safe, and context-sensitive facilities that foster increased use by bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities, and utilize universal design characteristics when appropriate.”

Moreover, the AASHTO “Green Book” recommends a design process that encourages greater flexibility in design for all roadway projects, particularly for projects on existing roads. The goal is to address community and multimodal needs rather than to adjust existing roadway design features to meet nominal design criteria, if doing so is not necessary to address a documented safety need.

ODOT recognizes the need for flexibility in design. The preface in the L&D Manual Volume 1 states that designers must understand the context and the constraints of their project when selecting design criteria. L&D Manual Volume 1 describes the Performance-Based Project Development (PBPD) strategy that, like AASHTO, highlights the need to establish a Purpose and Need for a project and then evaluate options and design deviations that meet that Purpose and Need. The premise is that the proposed improvements should be targeted and right-sized based on project-specific needs. The guidance provided in the MDG allows for flexibility by providing a range of values for most design criteria and including information for decision-making throughout the design process. Design flexibility is interrelated with PBPD, as both concepts make engineering decisions through an application of data, analysis, and engineering judgement.

Design flexibility should be used to prioritize the safety, comfort, and connectivity of people walking and biking. Applying design flexibility to multimodal design projects is not strictly defined and may require more conversations, considerations, exploration, and collaborating to develop answers to challenging design questions.

Common performance-based multimodal alternatives include fewer motor vehicle lanes (e.g., road diets) to provide space for bicyclist and pedestrian facilities, narrow lane widths where target motor vehicle speeds are low to enhance safety of all road users (especially pedestrians and bicyclists), and smaller corner radii to reduce the speeds of turning motorists where they conflict with pedestrians and bicyclists.


When applying design flexibility, it is important to follow and document a clear process to determine the appropriate application of, or deviation from, design guidance in order to reach the solution. When implementing design decisions that are within the range of allowable values, but that perhaps use a higher than minimum value, these decisions should still be documented. All relevant design information, such as the selection of design user, design width selection, and others, should be documented in the project file.

3.2 Design Users

People who walk and bike are influenced by how comfortable they are using the street. The provision of low-stress, connected multimodal networks often improves a user’s safety and accommodates walking and biking for a broader range of people. Often, when more people bicycle and walk, there is an increase in the safety of these user groups; this effect is commonly referred to as “safety in numbers.”2,3,4 The presence of more pedestrians and bicyclists encourages motorists to look for these street users where they are prevalent. As such, designing for the widest range of users will best accommodate the majority of users.

To design a multimodal transportation system that works for all people, the design process must account for basic factors such as safety and comfort, as well as human factors such as a person’s physical abilities, experience, and their ability to perceive and react to potential conflicts.

In addition to the people navigating the system, it is necessary for designers to pay close attention to the mobility devices that users employ. Tools that enable or aid personal movement have physical and dynamic characteristics that should be considered in the design of the street. This focus on how people get around is the basis for identifying the design user profiles that inform key elements of design.

3.2.1. User Profiles

The design user profile varies based on the person’s age, comfort, experience, skill, and abilities. It includes people who are familiar or unfamiliar with the area, and therefore the idea of “expectancy” is important to consider. User experiences develop over time and form a set of expectations, which allow the person to anticipate and plan for future events. This set of expectations is what enables people to respond to common situations in predictable and safe ways.

Designers should understand that a person’s design profile may change in a single day. For example, a person who walks or bikes to work daily might be comfortable using a large arterial street with standard width sidewalks and bike lanes when traveling alone, but when traveling with children they may prefer to use lower volume or lower speed streets that have wider buffers from traffic, wider sidewalks, or a shared use path.


There is no single “design pedestrian.” Considerations when selecting facilities include walking and jogging speeds, spatial requirements, and mobility needs. The AASHTO Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities provides details on these elements.

Designers should understand that pedestrians display a wide range of physical, cognitive, and sensory abilities. If a design works well for people with disabilities, it generally works well for those who do not have disabilities. It should be noted that disabilities are not a special condition of the few, but are ordinary occurrences that affect most people for at least some part of their lives. When facilities are designed for people of all ages and abilities, the transportation network can begin to safely and conveniently get everyone where they need to go.5

Designers should consider seniors and children, who typically walk slower, as the preferred user profile when assessing street crossings. A crossing that accommodates these slower users will naturally accommodate faster users. A person jogging should be considered as the preferred user profile when assessing sight distances for driveway crossings, the intersection of sidewalks and shared use paths, or other locations where pedestrians are not expected to yield to motorists or bicyclists. Designing sight distances for these faster users will naturally accommodate the slower pedestrian facility users. See Section 3.3 for design speeds.

People Bicycling

Of adults who have stated an interest in bicycling, research has identified three types of potential and existing bicyclist profiles (see Figure 3-1).6 These bicyclist profiles consider a person’s comfort level operating a bicycle with motorized traffic, bicycling skill and experience, age, and trip purpose. These user profiles can be used to inform bikeway design.

The Interested but Concerned Bicyclist profile should typically be used to choose a bikeway design, as this group represents 51 to 56 percent of the general population and is the largest of the bicyclist profiles. Members of this group bicycle less in many communities due to a lack of connected, low- stress bicycle networks; for the same reason, this group tends to bicycle more for recreation and is less comfortable riding for transportation. To maximize the potential for bicycling as a viable transportation option, it is important to design facilities to meet the needs of the Interested but Concerned Bicyclist user, which will also naturally accommodate the Somewhat Confident and Highly Confident users.

Figure 3-1: Bicyclist Design User Profiles

Designers should consider all likely users of a bicycle facility when establishing the various design controls. Common exceptions to using the adult bicyclist to establish design controls are:

  • Using performance criteria associated with a pedestrian at street crossings where pedestrians will be crossing with bicyclists. This is common at shared use paths and at some bicycle boulevard crossings, which must be designed to ensure a pedestrian can safely cross the road at a typical walking speed.
  • The heights and speeds of recumbent bicyclists or child bicyclists for the purposes of establishing sight distances or crossing times at intersections.
  • Using a bicyclist pulling a trailer for the purposes of designing median crossing islands or queuing areas.

The performance characteristics of the typical adult bicyclist should generally be used to establish many geometric design controls because the adult bicyclist is typically the fastest and physically largest user. Table 3-1 summarizes factors that may impact bicycling, such as acceleration, deceleration, and reaction time. The use of these values will generally ensure bicyclists of all abilities are accommodated on bikeways and roadways, but the context and expected use should also inform design decisions. For example, a shared use path with low pedestrian activity expected to be used for recreational bicycling may be a location where higher bicyclist design speeds are appropriate. See Section 3.3 for design speeds.

Table 3-1: Typical Adult Upright Bicyclist Performance Characteristics

Typical Adult Upright Bicyclist Performance Characteristics



Recommended Design Value

Speed, paved level terrain (2% max)

8.0-15.0 mph

15 mph design speed

8.0 mph (intersection crossing speed)

Speed, downhill1

For every 1% increase in downhill grade, speed is increased by 0.53 mph.


Speed, uphill1

For every 1% increase in uphill grade, speed is reduced by 0.90 mph.


Perception reaction time

1.0-2.5 seconds

1.5 seconds* (expected stop)

2.5 seconds* (unexpected stop)

Acceleration rate2

2.0-5.0 ft/s1

2.5 ft/s1

Coefficient of friction for braking, dry level pavement



Coefficient of friction for braking, wet level pavement



Deceleration rate (dry level pavement)3

8.0-10.0 ft/s1

10.0 ft/s1*

Deceleration rate for wet conditions

2.0-5.0 ft/s1*

5.0 ft/s1*

* 2018 AASHTO Green Book

1 Parkin, J. & Rotheram, J. (2010) Design speeds and acceleration characteristics of bicycle traffic for use in planning, design and appraisal. Transport Policy, 17 (5). pp. 335-341. ISSN 0967-070X. Available from: http:// eprints.uwe.ac.uk/20767

2 Figiolizzi, M., Wheeler, N. & Monsere, C. (2013). Methodology for estimating bicyclist acceleration and speed distributions at intersections. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2387, Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C., pp. 66–75.

3 Landis, B., Petritsch, T., Huang, H., & Do, A. (2004).Characteristics of Emerging Road and Trail Users and Their Safety. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, (1878), 131-139.

3.2.2. Devices

Some of the types of devices that are commonly used on Ohio streets and trails are shown below in Figure 3-2. Typical variations in height, width, and length are noted. Although recommended facility widths for bike lanes, shared use paths, and sidewalks in the MDG generally address these devices, designers should be cognizant of the expected use of the longest and widest devices and should provide appropriate accommodations for the use of these devices.

Figure 3-2: Summary of Expected Design Vehicles and Dimensions

3.3 Design Speeds

Design speed is a fundamental design control used to determine various geometric features of a roadway or shared use path as well as some signal timing and street crossing parameters. Motor vehicle design speed consideration in multimodal design is discussed in Chapter 7 of this guide. Additional details for how speeds relate to the design of pedestrian and bicycle facilities is provided in Chapters 4, 5, and 6.

3.3.1. Pedestrians

Pedestrian speeds can vary based on physical ability, mobility devices used, age, and trip purpose, and in most cases range from 1 to 4 ft/s. 3.5 ft/s is the default assumed pedestrian design speed under most circumstances. 7.5 ft/s should be used as the assumed jogging speed of a pedestrian. These speeds are primarily used for determining pedestrian clearance intervals at signalized intersections but are also used for determining sight distances at some uncontrolled crossings. Additional information about accessible pedestrian signal design is available in the OMUTCD and Chapter 8. The OMUTCD provides for an extended pedestrian signal phase at accessible pedestrian signals and longer standard pedestrian signal phase lengths, which depend on the expected pedestrian speeds in a given intersection location.

The use of mobility devices can also affect walking speeds, and speeds can vary for people with disabilities, as shown in Table 3-27. Designers should consider the frequency of users with mobility devices and disabilities and adjust design speeds accordingly.

Table 3-2: Mean Walking Speeds for Disabled Pedestrians and Users of Various Assistive Devices

Mean Walking Speeds for Disabled Pedestrians and Users of Various Assistive Devices

Disability or Assistive Device

Mean Walking Speed

Cane or crutch

2.62 ft/s


2.07 ft/s


3.55 ft/s

Immobilized knee

3.50 ft/s

Below-knee amputee

2.46 ft/s

Above-knee amputee

1.97 ft/s

Hip arthritis

2.24 to 3.66 ft/s

Rheumatoid arthritis

2.46 ft/s

Source: Human Factors in Traffic Safety

3.3.2. Bicyclists and Micromobility Users

Design speed is the speed used for the design of various geometric features of bicycle/micromobility facilities and street crossing parameters. It is important for designers to recognize that, similar to design for automobiles, the design speed for a bicycle facility should be set at the desired user speed, not necessarily the speed that a bicyclist or micromobility user is physically capable of achieving.

Bicycle design speed can range from 8 mph to 30 mph depending on the facility type and expected design user. By comparison, most micromobility devices have a maximum speed of 15 mph. The following values should be considered for the design speeds of different bicycle facility types:

  • 15 mph on separated bikeway and high-volume shared use paths
  • 18-30 mph on low-volume shared use paths (where peds < 30 percent)
  • 15-20 mph on bicycle boulevards
  • Posted speed for on-road facilities (though typically ≤ 30 mph)

Designers should consider the context of the facility and identify the appropriate design speed for the project. For example, a long-distance, low-volume shared use path may have a higher design speed between destinations, but it also may travel through higher-volume areas where either greater widths, separation between bicyclists and pedestrians, or lower design speeds may be appropriate.

3.4 Understanding Mutual Yielding

There are three key factors that should be considered when designing interactions between bicyclists, motorists, and pedestrians:

  1. Motorists and bicyclists have a legal responsibility to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. [ORC 4511.46 Right-of-way of pedestrian within crosswalk [A]]
  2. Ohio Revised Code stipulates that a pedestrian may not suddenly leave any curb (or refuge median) and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close that it is impossible for the motorist to yield. [ORC 4511.46 Right-of-way of pedestrian within crosswalk [B]]
  3. Motorists have the legal responsibility to exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or bicyclist. [OPC 4511.46 Right of Way of rule at through highways, stop signs, yield signs and ORC 4511.13 Highway traffic signal indications]

The result is a mutual yielding responsibility among motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians, depending upon the timing of their arrival at an intersection. When designing intersections between pedestrian facilities and roadways, bikeways and roadways, or bikeways and pedestrian facilities, designers should understand the application of traffic control devices to communicate right of way and the laws regarding assignment of right of way for pedestrians and bicyclists (and other bicycle facility users).

The effectiveness of mutual yielding is dependent on the ability of each user to see and react to each other, which relies on providing clear sight lines between users (see Section 3.5), use of appropriate traffic control to communicate right of way, and sufficient lighting.

3.4.1.  Zones: Recognition, Decision, Yield/Stop

In the case of permissive vehicular right and left turns across a bikeway, a turning motorist should yield to a through bicyclist unless the motorist is at a safe distance from the bicyclist to complete the turn at a reasonable speed prior to the bicyclist arriving at the conflict point. Bicyclists should yield to motor vehicles already within the intersection or so close that it is impossible to stop. Bicyclists and motorists must yield to (or stop for) pedestrians within a crosswalk. To facilitate these responsibilities, adequate sight distances and sight lines are needed between bicyclists, motorists, and pedestrians as they approach intersections. Motor Vehicle sight distances should conform to sight distances established in Section 3.5 and L&D Manual Volume 1, Sections 200.

For all bikeway and pedestrian crossings, a design objective is to provide adequate sight distances and sight lines for each user to detect a conflicting movement of another user and to react appropriately as they approach a conflict point. The approach to a conflict point is composed of three zones:

  1. Recognition zone - the approaching bicyclist, motorist, or pedestrian has an opportunity to see the other user(s) and evaluate their respective approach speeds.
  2. Decision zone - the bicyclist, motorist, or pedestrian identifies who is likely to arrive at the intersection first and adjusts their speed to yield or stop if necessary.
  3. Yield/stop zone - a space for the motorist or bicyclist to yield or stop, if necessary.

At intersections with permissive turning movements where bicyclists and motorists are traveling in the same direction, there are two scenarios that occur depending upon who arrives first at the crossing. The ability for each user to respond accordingly is dependent upon the provision of the three zones mentioned above and depicted in Figure 3-3. The two yielding scenarios are:

  • Turning Motorist Yields to (or Stops For) Through Bicyclists - This scenario occurs when a through moving bicyclist arrives or will arrive at the crossing prior to a turning motorist, who must stop or yield to a through bicyclist and pedestrians. For locations where bicyclists are operating on separated bike lanes and side paths, vertical elements near the intersection, including on-street parking, should be set back sufficiently for the motorist to see the approaching bicyclist and provide sufficient time to slow or stop before the conflict point.
  • Through Bicyclist Yields to (or Stops For) Turning Motorist - This scenario occurs when a turning motorist arrives or will arrive at the crossing prior to, or at the same time as, a through moving bicyclist. This scenario can also occur when a bicyclist approaches after a motorist has yielded to other people crossing in the intersection and the crossing is clear for the motorist to proceed. The motorist may begin turning as the bicyclist approaches, requiring the bicyclist to slow and potentially stop while the motorist completes the turning movement.

Figure 3-3: Example of Mutual Yielding Zones Illustrating Intersection Sight Distance Case A

Figure 3-3

3.5 Sight Distance

The basic ability to see what lies ahead and to see intersecting users is fundamental to pedestrian and bicyclist safety, regardless of the facility type. Adequate sight lines and sight distances are needed to enable people walking, bicycling, and driving to slow, stop, or maneuver to avoid a conflict at all locations where they interact (e.g., street and roadway intersections, driveways, and alleys). Adequate sight lines should also be provided between bicyclists and pedestrians where they interact at crosswalks, intersections, bus stops, and other conflict areas.

3.5.1. Stopping Sight Distance

Adequate motor vehicle stopping sight distance is important for the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists who must cross roadways. Refer to L&D Manual Volume 1, Section 201.2 for procedures for determining motor vehicle stopping sight distances.

Bicycle stopping sight distance is the distance needed to bring a bicycle to a fully controlled stop. It is a function of the user’s perception and brake reaction time, the initial speed, the coefficient of friction between the wheels and the pavement, the braking ability of the user’s equipment, and the grade. Table 3-3 provides the formula for minimum stopping sight distance. A perception/reaction time of 2.5 seconds should typically be used to calculate stopping sight distance, though 1.5 seconds may be appropriate where bicyclists have an expectation of potential conflicts, such as approaching intersections or in urban areas. The sight distance for bicyclists should typically be measured from 3.83 ft. above the ground to accommodate recumbent bicyclists.

Table 3-3: Minimum Stopping Sight Distance

Minimum Stopping Sight Distance

S =         V2       + 1.47 Vt
30(f +G)        




stopping sight distance (ft)



velocity (mph)



coefficient of friction
(0.16 for a typical bike in wet conditions)



absolute value of grade (ft/ft) (rise/run)



perception / reaction time (1.5 seconds for expected stops, 2.5 seconds for unexpected stops)

Note: + = negative traveling downhill, positive uphill

Table 3-4 and Table 3-5 indicate the minimum stopping sight distances based on speed and grade for 2.5 and 1.5 seconds of perception/reaction time respectively. Some values are omitted from these tables because they may be impractical or unachievable due to the steep grades. In those instances, designers should recognize that bicyclists may be traveling faster or slower than the typical design speed and adjust their design assumptions accordingly.

Table 3-4: Minimum Stopping Sight Distance vs. Grades for Various Design Speeds—2.5 Second Reaction Time

Stopping Sight Distance (ft) Based on Speed and Grade for a 2.5 Second Perception-Reaction Time

Speed (mph)

Grade (Positive indicates ascending)












































































































Table 3-5: Minimum Stopping Sight Distance vs Grade for Various Design Speeds—1.5 Second Reaction Time

Stopping Sight Distance (ft) Based on Speed and Grade for a 1.5 Second Perception-Reaction Time

Speed (mph)

Grade (Positive indicates ascending)












































































































3.5.2. Intersection Sight Distance

L&D Manual Volume 1, Section 201 establishes a range of recommended sight triangles that correspond to requirements for motorists to have sufficient space to identify, react, and potentially yield to other traffic at an intersection based on the traffic control applied at the intersection. Applying the sight triangle requirements provided in L&D Manual Volume 1, Section 201 will result in sufficient sight distance for some bicycle facilities, such as shared lanes and conventional bike lanes. Designers should consider the placement of bicyclists (often closer to the edge of the road in a shared lane environment or in a conventional bike lane) and their design speed when determining the sight triangles for these types of bicycle facilities.

Bike Case A: Right-Turning Motorist Across Separated Bike Lane or Side Path

Figure 3-3 depicts Bike Case A, which applies when a motorist is making a right turn across a separated bike lane or side path and bicyclists have concurrent through movement. 

In this case the motorist will be decelerating for the right turn approaching the intersection. The motorist’s turning speed is controlled by the intersection corner geometry and width of the receiving roadway. Table 3-6 identifies the minimum approach clear space, measured from the point of curvature of the motorist’s effective turning radius, which represents the location where the motorist will have decelerated to the turning speed; this location may or may not be the curb line point of curvature.

Clear space provides the necessary sight lines between motorists and bicyclists to yield (or stop) as appropriate. For locations with two-way separated bike lanes or side paths, additional approach clear space is not typically required, as the recognition zone between the counterflow bicyclist movement and the right-turning motorists should exceed the recommended sight distances. Approach clear space may be increased to account for steeper slopes or higher speeds for bicyclists.

Table 3-6: Intersection Approach Clear Space by Vehicular Turning Design Speed

Effective Vehicle Turning Radius

Target Vehicular Turning Speed Approach Clear Space

<18 ft

<10 mph*

20 ft

18 ft

10 mph

40 ft

25 ft

15 mph

50 ft

30 ft

20 mph

60 ft

>50 ft

25 mph

70 ft

*most low volume driveways and alleys

Bike Case B: Left-Turning Motorist Across Separated Bike Lane or Side Path

This case applies when a motorist is making a permissive left turn at a traffic signal or from an uncontrolled approach (e.g., a left turn from an arterial onto a local street or driveway). On one- way streets with a left-side separated bike lane or side path, this case has the same operational dynamics and approach clear space requirements as Bike Case A since the left-turning motorist will be turning adjacent to the separated bike lane. On two-way streets with a left-side separated bike lane or side path, there are two sight lines that should be maintained. A left-turning motorist approaching a turn needs a line of sight to bicyclists approaching from the same direction (see Figure 3-4). Table 3-6 identifies the minimum approach clear space based on the effective turning radius for the left-turning motorist. The provision of Bike Case A for motorists making a right-turn across a two-way bikeway will already provide the necessary line of sight between a left-turning motorist and a bicyclist approaching from the opposite direction.

On streets with two-way traffic flow, the operational dynamic of a motorist looking for gaps in traffic creates unique challenges that cannot be resolved through improving sight distance. This is a challenging maneuver because the motorist is primarily looking for gaps in oncoming motor vehicle

traffic and is less likely to scan for bicyclists approaching from behind. Unlike for Bike Case A or Bike Case B on one-way streets where the motorist is decelerating towards the crossing, the motorist in this case will be accelerating towards the crossing once they perceive a gap in traffic. This creates a higher potential for conflicts on roads with the following:

  • High traffic volumes and multiple lanes
  • Higher operating speeds
  • High left turn volumes

Where it is not feasible to eliminate high speed and high-volume conflicts through signalization, turn prohibitions, or other traffic control, it may be necessary to reevaluate whether a side path or two-way separated bike lane is appropriate at the location, or provide an adequate motorist yield zone that allows the motorist to complete the turn while still yielding to crossing pedestrians or bicyclists (see Section 6.5.2).

Figure 3-4: Intersection Sight Distance Bike Case B

Figure 3-4

Bike Case C: Motorist Crossing of a Separated Bike Lane or Side Path/ Shared Use Path

This case applies when a motorist crosses a separated bike lane or side path and is similar to the cases in the Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities where a motorist crosses a bike lane or a mid-block path. The bike lane case is expanded upon below, including near-side and far-side intersection scenarios.

Bike Case C1 – Near-Side Crossing

This case applies when a motorist crosses a near-side separated bike lane or side path before continuing straight or turning at an intersection.

The two potential design scenarios are as follows:

Scenario #1: Two-Stage Crossing

In this scenario, the motorist will first assess the bicycle conflicts, then move forward and assess motor vehicle conflicts (i.e., designers should perform two calculations from two different locations) as shown in Figure 3-5. Similar to when a motorist moves forward after assessing pedestrian conflicts, when the motorist moves forward, they might block the bikeway to look for gaps in traffic. The equation in Table 3-7 should be used to calculate the departure sight triangle between a passenger vehicle and the bikeway using a time gap (tg) of 5.5 seconds for the motorist to clear the bikeway. This time gap uses an assumption that the vertex (decision point) of the departure sight triangle is 10 ft. from the edge of bikeway and the bikeway width is no wider than 14 ft. The appropriate sight distance from L&D Manual Volume 1, Section 201.3.2 should then be used to calculate departure sight triangle between the motorist and the intersecting motorist travel lanes.

Table 3-7: Bike Case C Intersection Sight Distance

Bike Case C Intersection Sight Distance

ISDbike  =  1.47 Vbike tg




intersection sight distance (length of the leg of sight triangle along the bikeway) (ft)



design speed of bikeway (mph)



time gap for passenger vehicle to cross bikeway (s)

Scenario #2: Single Crossing

In this scenario, the motorist assesses both the bikeway conflicts and motor vehicle conflicts from one stopped location, then performs the turning movement when there is a sufficient gap in both the bikeway and motor vehicle traffic (see Figure 3-6). This scenario may be appropriate in locations where the motorist would otherwise block the bike facility for extended periods of time or where bicycle volumes or motorist volumes are anticipated to be high. The equation in Table (3-7) should be used to calculate the departure sight triangle between a passenger vehicle and the bikeway using a time gap (tg) of 4 seconds for the motorist to clear the bikeway. This time gap uses an assumption that the vertex (decision point) of the departure sight triangle is 10 ft. from the edge of bikeway and the bikeway width is no wider than 14 ft. The vertex of the departure triangle between the motorist and the intersecting motorist travel lanes will remain the same, but designers will need to adjust the typical time gap for the appropriate sight distance from L&D Manual Volume 1, Section 201.3.2 to account for the longer distance that the motorist will traverse. As shown in Figure 3-6, the provision of the motorist intersection sight distance will often accommodate the sight distance along the bikeway.

Figure 3-5: Intersection Sight Distance Bike Case C1 – Two-Stage Crossing Scenario

Figure 3-6: Intersection Sight Distance: Bike Case C1 – Single Crossing Scenario

Bike Case C2 – Far-Side Crossing

This case applies when a motorist crosses a far-side separated bike lane or side path (see Figure 3-7).

Where both the motorist and bikeway approaches are stop-controlled, providing a line of sight between the stopped motorist and the stopped bikeway user is appropriate.

Where the motorist approach is stop-controlled and the bikeway crossing is uncontrolled, the intersection sight distance described in L&D Manual Volume 1, Section should be used to calculate departure sight triangle between the motorist and the intersecting bikeway. The bikeway design speed should be used in the intersection sight distance triangle calculation. The bikeway width and street buffer width should be converted to equivalent lane widths to adjust the time gap (tg) for the crossing of the roadway and the bikeway. In constrained situations, at a minimum the stopping sight distance (for bicyclists) should be provided to allow a bicyclist to slow or stop if a vehicle encroaches into the bikeway.

Figure 3-7: Intersection Sight Distance Case C2

As with Bike Case B, this case creates a challenging dynamic that is often difficult to resolve by increasing the size of the sight triangle. In urban areas, it may be difficult to increase the sight triangle enough to provide the intersection sight distance to judge gaps that allow a motorist to cross all the travel lanes as well as the separated bike lane/side path on the opposite side of the road. As such, designers should consider the frequency of through movements at these types of intersections and provide either traffic control devices or adequate sight distance (i.e., minimum stopping sight distance) for bicyclists to see and react to a crossing vehicle and stop if necessary. It may be appropriate to restrict these through motorist movements where traffic control devices or sight distances are inadequate.

Case C3 – Mid-Block Shared Use Path Crossing of a Roadway

If either the roadway approach or the shared use path approach is yield-controlled, adequate sight lines should be provided for a traveler on the yield-controlled approach to slow, stop, and avoid a user on the other approach. The length of the roadway leg of the sight triangle is based on a bicyclist’s ability to reach and cross the roadway if they do not see a potential vehicle conflict and have just passed the point where they can execute a stop without entering the intersection (see Figure 3-8 and Table 3-8). See Section 3.5.1 for additional information on bicyclist stopping sight distance.

Figure 3-8: Mid-Block Shared Use Path Crossing Sight Triangle


Table 3-8: Roadway Sight Triangle Equation

Roadway Sight Triangle Equation

ta       S       

tg = ta   Wr + Lb    
a = 1.47 Vroad tg
tg = travel time to reach and clear the road (s)
a = length of leg sight triangle along the roadway approach (ft)
ta = travel time to reach the road from the decision point for a path user that doesn’t stop (s).
Wr = width of the lane to be crossed by the path user (ft)
Lb = Typical bicycle length = 6 ft (see Chapter 2 for other bicycle lengths)
Vpath = design speed of the path (mph)
Vroad = design speed of the road (mph)
S = stopping sight distance for the path user traveling at design speed (ft) (See table 5-1)

Similar to the roadway approach, the length of the path leg of the sight triangle is based on a motorist’s ability to reach and cross the junction if they do not see a potentially conflicting path user approaching and they have passed the point where they can execute a stop without entering the intersection. The length of the sight triangle along the path leg of each approach is given in Table 3-9.

Table 3-9: Path Sight Triangle Equation

Path Sight Triangle Equation

ta =   1.47 Ve - 1.47 Vb  

tg = ta   Wp + Lm   
b = 1.47 Vpathtg
tg = travel time to reach and clear the path (s)
b = length of leg sight triangle along the path approach (ft)
ta = travel time to reach the path from the decision point for a motorist that doesn’t stop (s). For road approach grades that exceed 3 percent, value should be adjusted in accordance with AASHTO’s A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets
Ve = speed at which the motorist would enter the intersection after decelerating (mph) (assumed 0.6Vroad)
Vb = speed at which braking by the motorist begins (mph) (same as road design speed)
ai = motorist deceleration rate (ft/s2) on intersection approach when braking to a stop not initiated (assumed - 5.0 ft/s2)
Wp = width of the crosswalk to be crossed by the motorist (ft)
Lm = length of the design vehicle (ft)
Vpath = design speed of the path (mph)
Vroad = design speed of the road (mph)
Note: This table accounts for reduced vehicle speeds per standard practice in AASHTO’s A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets.

Table 3-10 provides minimum distances for the length of the path and roadway legs of the sight triangle for flat terrain with basic assumptions about the site conditions and vehicle characteristics. If the appropriate approach sight distances cannot be provided, a more restrictive control should be used.

A key consideration at mid-block crossings for shared use paths is the need to consider mutual yielding dynamics at crosswalks (see Section 3.5). Where the path is stop- or yield-controlled, the departure sight distance for the path should be based on the slowest user who will have exposure to crossing traffic. This is typically the pedestrian. Under certain conditions it may be desirable to use a slower walking speed that is appropriate for seniors and children to calculate departure sight distance for the path crossing. Regardless of intersection sight triangle lengths, roadway and path approaches to an intersection should provide sufficient stopping sight distance so that motorists and bicyclists can avoid obstacles or potential conflicts within the intersection.

Table 3-10: Length of Path and Roadway Sight Triangle (ft)


Bicycle reaction time = 1.5 sec
Width of path = 10 ft to 11 ft
Width of road lane = 11 ft to 12 ft
Length of bicycle = 6 ft
Length of motor vehicle = 18 ft
Grade = -2% to 0%

Bike Case D – Bicyclist Crossing from a Minor Road

Where a stop-controlled roadway intersects an uncontrolled roadway, bicyclists must judge the speed of, and gaps in, approaching motor vehicle traffic from their location at the edge of the roadway (see Figure 3-9). Providing the minimum stopping sight distance for the motorist on the uncontrolled roadway approach will allow the motorist sufficient time to exercise due care to slow or stop for the crossing bicyclist who may still be in the intersection. Table 3-11 provides the length of the departure sight triangle along the roadway to allow the bicyclist enough time to judge a gap in traffic and complete a full crossing of the roadway without a motorist needing to slow or stop. The table assumes a bicyclist with a:

  • design acceleration of 2.5 ft/s2,
  • maximum speed of 8 mph to account for a slow bicyclist, and
  • bicycle length of 6 ft.

Figure 3-9: Bicyclist Crossing from a Minor Road Case D

Table 3-11: Bicyclist Sight Distance Crossing from a Minor Road Case D

Bicyclist Sight Distance (ft) Crossing from a Minor Road

Crossing Distance (ft)

Speed of Roadway to be Crossed (mph)




















































































Bike Case E – Shared Use Path Crossing of another Shared Use Path

As shown in Figure 3-10, if a shared use path intersects another shared use path and the intersection is uncontrolled, sight triangles similar to the yield condition described in Bike Case C3 above should be provided. However, both legs of the sight triangle should be based on the stopping sight distances of the paths. Use the equation in Table 3-9 or value “b” from Table 3-10 for both legs of the sight triangle. If sufficient sight distance cannot be provided, traffic control, such as a stop sign or shared use path roundabout, must be considered.

Figure 3-10: Bicyclist Crossing a Shared Use Path from a Shared Use Path Case E

Figure 3-10

Bike Case F – Bikeway Crossings of Walkways

At an intersection of a stop-controlled shared use path and a walkway, a clear sight triangle extending at least 15 ft. along the walkway and 25 ft. along the shared use path should be provided to ensure clear lines of sight between the path and walkway users (see Figure 3-11).

Figure 3-11: Minimum Path-Walkway Sight Triangle

Figure 3-11

At an intersection of a walkway and an uncontrolled shared use path, or where a pedestrian crosses a separated bike lane (e.g., to cross a street, access a crossing island, or floating bus stop), the length of the clear sight triangle along the bikeway should be determined using the equation presented in Table 3-12 or the minimum stopping sight distance (see Table 3-3), whichever is smaller. The length of the sight triangle along the intersecting walkway should be determined using the equation presented in Table 3-12 or if a curb ramp is present the length should be the distance between the curb line and the pedestrian landing at the top of the curb ramp (see Figure 3-12). The clear sight triangle provides sufficient time for pedestrians walking (3.5 ft/s) or running (12.5 ft/s) to judge gaps in approaching bicycle traffic and for bicyclists to perceive the presence of a pedestrian and slow or stop as necessary. If pedestrian crossings of bikeways is unexpected, signs may also be provided to warn bicyclists of the pedestrian crossing.

Table 3-12: Pedestrian and Bicyclist Intersection Sight Distance


* If a curb ramp is present for the walkway, the length of a should be the distance between the curb line and the level landing at the top of the curb ramp.

Figure 3-12: Pedestrian Crossing Shared Use Path or Separated Bikeway (shown) Sight Triangle

Figure 3-12

3.6 Geometric Design Elements

Key controls in geometric design for bicycle and pedestrian facilities are directly related to the characteristics of the various users of the facilities and the characteristics of motor vehicles where the facilities interface with roadways. The L&D and other adopted policies adequately covers the characteristics of motor vehicles and that information is not repeated here. However, in some cases relevant motor vehicle characteristics from the AASHTO “Green Book” are noted or are used in developing bicycle and pedestrian facility geometric design guidance.

As discussed in Section 3.6.1, the physical dimensions and operating characteristics of people walking and bicycling vary considerably. By choosing geometric design values that fit the upright adult bicyclist, most other users of the bicycle facility will be accommodated. For example, a railing designed to protect an adult bicyclist will protect a shorter child bicyclist. Providing designs that serve the operating space of the adult bicyclist will accommodate the most common design user operating in bicycle facilities, except for some vehicles and equestrians that may use shared use paths (see Chapter 6).

3.6.1. User Operating Space and Facility Widths

In addition to establishing the user profile and performance characteristics of people walking and bicycling, designers should understand the principles of operating space. When developing design parameters for sidewalk and bikeway widths, designers should consider the space occupied by the user and whatever device they may have, their operating space, and any additional shy space to vertical objects or obstructions adjacent to them (See Section 3.6.2). These combined operating and shy spaces are used to establish width requirements for sidewalk facilities, bicycle facilities, and shared use paths as discussed in Chapters 4, 5, and 6.

Physical Space

The figures in Section 3.2.2 shows that there are multiple types of bicycles and other devices for consideration. Though Section 3.2.1 notes that there is not a single design pedestrian, for the purpose of defining typical physical space dimensions, a typical adult in a wheelchair should be assumed for pedestrians:

  • 3 ft. width
  • 4 ft. length

When facilities include bicyclists, it is recommended that the design user be an adult bicyclist with a trailer in order to accommodate most users. The following minimum physical space dimensions should be used:

  • 2.5 ft. width
  • 10 ft. length
  • 7 ft. height

Operating Space

The lateral operating space extends beyond the physical space to allow pedestrians and bicyclists the natural side-to-side movement that varies with speed, topography, traffic conditions, wind, and proficiency.

The operating space of a person walking varies based on the purpose of the trip and the space available in front of them. In general, it is assumed that a person in a wheelchair or using crutches can operate within a width of 3 ft.

For pedestrians with mobility devices, spatial needs will vary. Figure 3-138 below illustrates the increased space that may be required to accommodate the movements of pedestrians with mobility devices.

To accommodate the side-to-side movement of almost all bicyclists, the minimum effective operating space clear of all obstructions for a bicyclist should therefore be 3.5 ft., which accounts for a 30 inch physical width and 6 inches of space on either side (see Figure 3-14). This operating space should provide a smooth, rideable surface clear of surface defects, joints, and other potential obstructions including drainage grates. Where it is desired to accommodate larger bicycles or larger variations in straight-line travel, the operating width should be increased. Additional discussion of conditions where shy space should be considered is provided in Section 3.6.2.

Figure 3-13: Spatial Dimensions for People Using Typical Mobility Devices

The operating space must also consider vertical clearances to obstructions such as trees, signs, utilities, ceilings and other potential hazards. Fixed objects should not be permitted to protrude within the vertical operating space of a bicycle or pedestrian facility. The recommended minimum vertical operating space that may be used is 8 ft. The preferable vertical operating and shy space is 10 ft.

Figure 3-14: Typical Adult Bicyclist Operating Space

3.6.2. Shy Spaces

To maintain comfort and safety of pedestrians and bicyclists, it is important to consider providing clearances to obstructions adjacent to sidewalks and bikeways. For example, a contributing factor in many bicycle crashes is a bicyclist striking another person or object with their handlebar or wheel. Clearances to vertical elements should be provided as shy spaces located outside the operating space of the bicyclist. However, for bikeways within the roadway, it may not always be practicable to provide shy space to parked and moving motor vehicles just as sidewalks are sometimes placed directly adjacent to the curb and moving vehicles. Where minimum shy spaces are not provided, the useable width intended for bicycle travel and pedestrian movement, and the level of comfort for the facility, is likely to be reduced.

This section provides guidance for determining an appropriate clearance distance to obstructions and on the relevance of shy space for common contexts. See Table 3-13 for bicyclist shy spaces to common vertical elements.

Table 3-13: Bicyclist Shy Spaces

Vertical Element

Shy Space (in.)



Bicycle Traffic



Intermittent (tree, flex post, pole, etc.)



Continuous (fence, railing, planter etc.)



Vertical Curb



Drainage Feature (inlet or catch basin)

12 6

Mountable / Sloping Curb



Bicycle Traffic

People walking or bicycling have the potential to collide into other bicyclists or pedestrians (on shared use paths) where a facility width limits a users’ ability to operate side-by-side, to pass other users of the same mode, or to pass other modes. Sidewalks and bikeways should be constructed to serve the expected volume of users to minimize this crash risk. A minimum shy space of 12 inches should be included to accommodate passing or side-by-side bicycling, though this may be reduced to 6 inches in constrained conditions. Where it is desired to accommodate side-by-side bicycling or frequent passing, shy space should be provided between the operating spaces of each user. Where it is not desired to encourage side-by-side bicycling, shy space should still be provided between the physical spaces of each bicyclist to accommodate occasional passing. Figure 3-15 depicts shy space from both physical and operating spaces for side-by-side bicycling and occasional passing scenarios.

Figure 3-15: Bicyclist Shy Space to Vertical Elements Accommodating Side-By-Side Bicycling and Occasional Passing

Intermittent Vertical Elements

Intermittent vertical elements along the edge of a bicyclists’ path, such as trees, signs, utility poles, flexible delineator posts, or other similar objects, can increase the risk of handlebar strikes or bicycle trailers striking vertical elements. Similarly, pedestrians will position themselves away from these obstructions to avoid hitting them with their arm or belongings. Where these features are present, the minimum shy space is 1ft., although the shy space may be eliminated in constrained areas. Exceptions to this guidance are as follows:

  • The OMUTCD requires no portion of a sign or its support to be placed less than 2 ft. laterally from the near edge of a shared use path. Where space is available, wider shy spaces are desirable.
  • Bicycle-only pushbuttons or pushbuttons on shared use paths should be located close enough to be pressed without dismounting and placed based on pedestrian accessibility guidelines. The OMUTCD and Chapter 8 provide additional guidance on the location of pushbuttons.
  • Lean rails and footrests intended for the use of bicyclists at intersections are an exception to the shy distance guidelines and should be located close enough to be functional from the bikeway. Bikeways may be widened to provide shy distances and allow these treatments to be functional.

Continuous Vertical Elements

Continuous vertical elements, such as fences, railings, barriers, and walls, can also increase the risk of handlebar and bicycle trailer strikes. In this case, the constant presence of these elements will result in pedestrians and bicyclists attempting to increase their separation from them as these elements create a feeling of enclosure. Where these features are present, a minimum buffer width is 2 ft., but may be reduced to 1 ft. in constrained locations. Where space is available, wider buffers are desirable. Designers may use warning signs, object markers, or enhanced conspicuity and reflectorizing of the obstruction to draw attention to their presence.

Curb and Gutter

Some curb types can increase the risk of bicycle crashes if struck by a wheel or pedal. The face of curb angle—vertical, sloping, and mountable—and curb height influence the functional width of the bikeway, crash risk to bicyclists, the ability to exit bikeways, and the risk of encroachment into the bikeway by other users. In locations where the bikeway is located between curb on one or both sides, it is preferable to provide sloping curbs or reduced height vertical curbs (less than 3 inches). The following shy distances should be used for the different curb types:

  • Where vertical curbs are provided, the minimum shy space is 6 inches and the preferable shy space is 1 ft.
  • Where sloping curbs are provided, there is no minimum shy space adjacent to the curb; however, shy space behind the curb to other appurtenances is still relevant.
  • Where mountable curbs are provided, there is no minimum shy space adjacent to the curb; however, shy space to other appurtenances should be carefully considered along the bicyclists expected path of travel if they are permitted to exit the bikeway (such as to access bicycle parking).
  • Where curb with integral gutter creates a longitudinal joint parallel to the bikeway, the gutter area is not included in the width of the bikeway but there is no minimum shy space from the edge of gutter.

Some curbs are constructed with integral gutters that include a longitudinal seam parallel to bicycle travel that may deteriorate, resulting in dips or ridges that increase crash risk for bicyclists. Gutters also may have uneven surfaces where street resurfacing activities do not adequately remove asphalt approaching the gutter. Where curbs are provided with integral gutter, the minimum shy space from the bicyclist to the curb is the width of the gutter. See Chapters 4 and 6 for additional information relating to curb selection and design.

Some curb heights may warrant a railing when introduced within a walking area that is separating a lower portion of sidewalk from an upper portion of sidewalk. A railing should be installed when that curb height is greater than 6 inches and consideration should be given to including one when the curb height is at 6 inches. The railing serves as protection and support for pedestrians with vision impairments.

Vertical Clearance

The preferred vertical clearance to overhead obstructions is a minimum of 10 ft. for sidewalks, shared use paths, and bikeways. If any portion of a pedestrian facility has a clearance less than 80 inches., it shall be shielded by a barrier which is detectable with a cane at an elevation no higher than 27 inches.9 The minimum vertical clearance that may be used in constrained areas is 8 ft. In some situations, vertical clearance greater than 10 ft. may be needed to permit passage of maintenance and emergency vehicles or where equestrian use may be expected. Providing additional vertical clearances can also improve the comfort of a facility in an otherwise constrained location (e.g., a relatively long underpass). Vertical clearance should be considered for underpasses and tunnels, as well as for overhead signs, trees, and other appurtenances that may extend over a bicycle or pedestrian facility.

3.6.3. Horizontal Alignment

Basic horizontal geometric design guidelines for motor vehicles will typically result in a facility that accommodates bicyclist and pedestrians. Guidelines for the horizontal alignment of shared use paths that deviate from a roadway alignment will be discussed in more detail in Chapter 5 as a part of the shared use path design principles.


While the horizontal alignment for sidewalks typically follows the roadway, designers may have a situation where the sidewalk is independent of a roadway and in these situations, care should be given to providing consistent design elements. For pedestrians with vision impairments or using mobility devices, sidewalks with straight alignments are preferred for ease of navigation. If any curvature is introduced, it should be gradual and sweeping, with forgiving infrastructure adjacent to the walk, preventing pedestrians with vision impairments from wandering off of the sidewalk because the edge is difficult to detect, and minimize maneuvers for pedestrians with mobility devices.

Bicycle Tapers

Changing the horizontal alignment of a bikeway may be accomplished without the use of horizontal curves if shifting tapers are used. Tapers should generally occur gradually, with a minimum length as calculated using the formula in Table 3-14. If the bikeway is delineated by paint- only, and if the off-tracking of a bicycle pulling a trailer would not put the trailer into a motor vehicle lane, a maximum taper ratio of 2:1 (longitudinal:lateral) may be considered. See Figure 3-16.

Table 3-14: Shifting Taper Equation

Lane Shift Taper Equation

L =     WS2    




lane shift (ft), minimum 20 ft



width of offset (ft)



target motor vehicle operating speed (mph)

Figure 3-16: Bikeway Shifting Tapers

3.6.4. Cross Slope

For all facilities that include pedestrians, cross slope design should meet pedestrian accessibility guidelines and shall be a maximum of 1.56 percent to comply with ADA guidance. Cross slopes of 1 percent are more comfortable for people with disabilities and people bicycling with more than two wheels (e.g., cargo bike, adult tricycles, or trailers). In cases where the facility is designed for bicycle use only (e.g., pedestrians are accommodated on a separate walkway), cross slopes may exceed pedestrian accessibility guidelines.

3.6.5. Vertical Alignment

For facilities shared by bicyclists and pedestrians and for pedestrian only facilities, longitudinal grades should meet pedestrian accessibility guidelines. A sidewalk or bikeway adjacent and parallel to a roadway should generally match the grade of the adjacent roadway. Where a bikeway runs parallel to a roadway with a grade that exceeds 5 percent, the bikeway grade may exceed 5 percent but should be less than or equal to the roadway grade.

3.7 Other Considerations

3.7.1. Utilities

It is common to locate utilities within roadway corridors and to take advantage of utility rights-of- way to construct trails and shared use paths. This often creates challenges related to placement of utilities in relation to bicycle facilities.

Addressing utility location may not be practical in retrofit situations where minimal reconstruction is anticipated. However, new construction or substantial reconstruction presents opportunities to proactively address utility placement. Careful consideration of utilities within a roadway corridor can minimize potential utility conflicts and ensure adequate maintenance access for both utilities and bicycle facilities. Utility placement should be coordinated early in the project with utility owners and as part of the drainage and signal design. The following list represents common utility issues that may be encountered when designing bicycle facilities.

Adjacent Utility Features

The usable width of bikeways and sidewalks is reduced if a utility feature such as a pole or fire hydrant is located immediately adjacent to a bikeway. See Section 3.6.2 for information on shy distances to obstructions. It is preferable to locate fire hydrants in the buffer adjacent to a sidewalk or bikeway. Designers should coordinate with the local water department to determine exact hydrant placement. Additionally, the placement of valves, pull boxes, manhole lids, and grates could impact the design of curb ramps at pedestrian crossing locations.

Guy wires for overhead pole lines can create a vertical obstruction for pedestrians and bicyclists. The angle of the guy wire within the bicycle and pedestrian facility will require analysis to ensure the wire doesn’t extend into the vertical clear zone and create the risk of a pedestrian or bicyclists running into the wire.

Pad mounted transformers, telecommunication cabinets, and other cabinets for surface utilities can cause obstructions in the pedestrian access route or bicycle path. When designing pedestrian and bicycle facilities, coordinate existing infrastructure with the utility owner and facility design to provide the minimum accessibility width. If relocating these facilities, it is recommended these facilities be placed behind the sidewalk or bikeway as right-of-way permits to avoid vertical obstructions that could cause potential sight distance issues for the bicyclists or pedestrian and motorists.

Underground Utilities

Avoid locating utility covers and large ventilation grates within bikeways to maintain a level bicycling surface and minimize detours during utility work. Where unavoidable, utility covers and large ventilation grates within bikeways should be smooth and flush with the bikeway surface and placed in a manner that minimizes the need for avoidance maneuvers by bicyclists. In addition, keeping manholes flush within one-quarter inch below the pavement surface helps to avoid impacts to winter maintenance equipment. When utility cuts are necessary within a bikeway, the repaired pavement should extend the entire width of the bike lane to prevent uneven riding surfaces.

Due to their typically large size, ventilation grates may present a skidding hazard if located in a bikeway. If placement in a bikeway is unavoidable, designers should consider skid resistant treatments.

For pedestrian facilities, utility covers and grates must meet gap requirements for openings and surface treatment requirements for accessibility guidelines, i.e., ¼-inch maximum. If these elements are not accessible, the grate or cover can impact the accessible width of the pedestrian facility.

Traffic Signal Equipment

The addition of bikeways within the footprint of an existing roadway often results in the need to realign traffic signal heads and detection equipment. Designers shall consider configuration of traffic signal and detection equipment in relationship to alignment of travel lanes to determine whether traffic signal modifications are necessary. Additionally, the placement of signal cabinets should be considered when assessing sight lines to ensure that the equipment will not result in sight obstructions. See Chapter 8 for a discussion of bicycle signals and placement of pushbuttons.

Some pedestrian signal equipment is required to meet ADA requirements and is discussed in Chapter 4. Other pedestrian signal elements can include rapid rectangular flashing beacons and pedestrian hybrid beacons. For design information related to these elements, see Chapter 8, OMUTCD Parts 4 and 9, and TEM Parts 4 and 9.

3.7.2. Lighting

A properly lit area creates a comfortable and functional environment for all street users. A well-lit street provides drivers with more opportunity to see the bicyclists or pedestrians in the roadway and to stop or maneuver to avoid them. For both pedestrians and bicyclists, lighting directly impacts real and perceived safety, influencing one’s decision and willingness to walk or bike in an area.

For sidewalks, bikeways, and shared use paths, fixed-source lighting improves visibility along the path of travel, allowing users to better detect surface irregularities at night. Provision of lighting appropriate for all users should be considered, especially when night-time use is anticipated, such as the following locations:

  • On pedestrian and bicycle facilities that provide connections to transit stops and stations, schools, universities, shopping, and employment areas,
  • Under vehicular bridges, underpasses, tunnels, or locations with limited visibility,
  • Along bridges used by bicycles and pedestrians,
  • Along high-use portions of facilities that lead to areas with frequent evening events,
  • At intersections or driveways where crossing are required, and
  • At major shared use path intersections and entrances.

Along pedestrian and bicycle facilities, pedestrian-scale lighting is preferred to tall, highway-style lamps. Pedestrian-scale lighting is characterized by shorter light poles (approx. 15 ft. high), lower levels of illumination (except at crossings), closer spacing (to avoid dark zones between luminaires), and light emitting diode (LED) lamps. This approach to lighting design can improve lighting uniformity along the walkway or bikeway and at conflict points, helping to address issues of social safety and bicycle and pedestrian visibility. Streetlights should comply with local streetscape or historic district guidelines to enhance placemaking and work in the local context.

Depending on the location, average maintained horizontal illumination levels of 0.5- to 2-ft candles should be considered, and lighting levels should provide a uniform illumination of the walkway and bikeway surface. Higher lighting levels may be appropriate in some locations to increase the perception of personal safety.

Placement of light poles should provide the recommended horizontal and vertical clearances from the walkway and bikeway. Where pedestrians cross bikeways, or where bicyclists or pedestrians cross motor vehicle paths, the lighting placements should front light (illuminate) the crossing user to make them more visible to the approaching bicyclist or motorist.

Light fixtures should be chosen to reduce the loss of light and may need to comply with local “dark sky” guidelines and regulations. Lighting in natural and undeveloped areas may ultimately be undesirable to mitigate environmental disturbance, or may be designed to dim or turn off lighting after curfew along riparian corridors and other less/undeveloped areas.

Additional guidance for lighting can be found in the AASHTO Roadway Lighting Design Guide and the TEM Section 1100.

3.7.3. Drainage

Ensure drainage is provided on bike and pedestrian facilities to prevent water ponding, ice formation, and the collection of debris. Refer to L&D, Volume 2 for the design Annual Exceedance Probability event storm for bicycle pathways. Proper drainage protects the longevity of the infrastructure, reduces erosion, and follows local and state guidance for stormwater runoff collection. The minimum recommended hard surface cross slope of 1 percent typically provides adequate conveyance of drainage. For sidewalks or bikeways, sloping in one direction instead of crowning is preferred and simplifies drainage and surface construction.

Bikeways along or within a road corridor typically follow the slope and drainage patterns of the respective roadway, and may be incorporated into the roadway’s drainage system. If the bikeway changes drainage patterns or adds impervious area to the design, the roadway’s drainage system will likely need to be modified or expanded.

Utility covers and bicycle compatible grates should be flush with the surface of the pavement on all sides. Any horizontal openings shall not permit passage of a sphere more than 0.5 inches in diameter. Additionally, the gap between the frame and catch basin grate shall not exceed 0.5 inches. Inlet Grate from ODOT Standard Construction Drawing CB-6 shall be used whenever bike traffic is expected. Any elongated openings shall be placed so that the long dimension is perpendicular to the direction of travel.

Pedestrian accessibility guidelines also limit vertical deviations in surfaces of more than 0.25 inches. To minimize risks to pedestrians, drainage grates, utility covers, and gutters should not be located within bicycle facilities where pedestrians are traveling unless they meet pedestrian accessibility guidelines.

Any infrastructure located in low-lying areas may need special attention to larger scale drainage and flooding issues. Designers may need to capture excess stormwater to prevent standing water or erosion on a pedestrian or bicycle facility.

For pedestrian facilities, positive drainage at the base of curb ramps is critical to prevent debris from gathering or water from ponding during rain events or freezing in cold weather. Placing a catch basin or inlet immediately upstream from a curb ramp will capture a majority of storm runoff prior to the water passing the curb ramp base, minimizing the amount of water flowing past the ramp area. Minimum sidewalk cross slopes should be maintained to promote positive drainage away from the sidewalk area. Ideally, where curb or curb and gutter exist, sidewalks will slope to the roadway, directing water over the curb to the gutter and into a storm sewer system. Where a swale is placed between the roadway and the sidewalk, or at the back of sidewalk and water is directed into the swale, the swale design shall follow L&D Manual Volume 2 and ensure adequate freeboard is provided to prevent water from overtopping the swale and ponding on the sidewalk.

3.7.4. Landscaping

Landscaping should follow the guidance in L&D Manual Volume 1, Sections 600 and 900, and the ODOT Aesthetic Design Guidelines. Landscaping must be designed to allow sufficient sight distance, and proper offsets should also be provided from roadways to comply with clear zone and urban arterial offsets.

Well-designed landscaping—trees, shrubs and grasses—alongside sidewalks and bike facilities creates a more pleasant walking and bicycling environment, improves community aesthetics, and can help to reduce motorist speeds by visually narrowing the roadway. Landscaping, including defining maintenance roles, should be coordinated during preliminary design stages.

Street trees are the primary consideration for landscape design along sidewalks and separated bike lanes. With respect to the separated bike lane cross-section, trees may be located in the street buffer, in sidewalk buffers, or both. The street buffer is the recommended tree planting location to preserve usable sidewalk width and enhance the separation between motor vehicles and bicyclists in constrained corridors, but the sidewalk buffer may be considered to provide shade for the sidewalk or where the street buffer is too narrow.

When selecting tree species, ensure compatibility with the bicyclist operating height (100 inches vertical clearance from bike lane surface to tree branches). Avoid shallow rooted species and species that produce an abundance of fruits, nuts, and leaf litter. Properly designed tree trenches, tree pits, or raised tree beds can support root growth to preserve pavement quality of the adjacent separated bike lane. Coordinate street tree species selection with overhead utility owners to identify a tree that will not require extensive trimming to avoid interference with the utility lines as it matures. This will preserve the future tree canopy, increasing the shade and aesthetics of the bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

Where on-street parking is present, intermittent curb extensions with street trees between parking spaces can preserve sidewalk space and visually narrow the roadway for a traffic calming effect.

Tree plantings can also be integrated with stormwater management techniques.

The design of separated bike lanes and side paths in rural and low-density suburban communities should follow natural roadside design considerations. Natural roadside corridors are bound by the limits of the available right-of-way and should be designed accordingly. Motor vehicle speeds in these corridors are typically higher than in urban environments, therefore it is important to maximize the street buffer to the extent possible to provide greater separation from high-speed motor vehicle traffic. Methods to achieve this may include:

  • fitting the separated bike lane or shared use path to the natural terrain, but maintaining grades that are comfortable for bicycling and meet ADA requirements if pedestrians are present;
  • avoiding and minimizing impacts to wetland resources or other natural environments;
  • where possible, maintaining natural drainage patterns and minimizing erosion through the use of vegetated drainage channels in the street buffer; or
  • maintaining access for periodic mowing and other maintenance activities.

3.7.5. Surface Conditions

It is important to construct and maintain a smooth traversable surface on pedestrian and bicycle transportation facilities. Wheelchairs, electric mobility scooters, bicycles, and other wheeled users require firm, stable surfaces and structures (eg. ramps, beveled edges) since they can be difficult to propel over uneven surfaces. Hard, all-weather pavement surfaces are recommended for pedestrian and bicycle facilities. For on-street and separated bike lanes, concrete or asphalt pavement is typically appropriate.

Shared use paths must meet pedestrian accessibility surface requirements. All-weather pavement is preferred compared with crushed aggregate, sand, clay, or stabilized earth. Since unpaved surfaces provide less traction, they decrease braking ability for bicyclists which can cause bicyclists to more easily lose control. On unpaved surfaces, bicyclists and other wheeled users must use a greater effort to travel at a given speed when compared to a paved surface. Some path users, such as skaters, are unable to use unpaved paths. In areas that experience frequent or even occasional flooding or drainage problems, or in areas of moderate or steep terrain, unpaved surfaces will often erode and require substantial maintenance. Additionally, unpaved paths are difficult to plow for use during the winter.

On shared use paths, loads should be substantially less than roadways. However, paths should be designed to sustain wheel loads of occasional emergency, patrol, maintenance, and other motor vehicles that are permitted to use or cross the path. When motor vehicles are driven on shared use paths, their wheels often will be at, or very near, the edges of the path. This can cause edge damage that, in turn, will reduce the effective operating width of the path. The path should, therefore, be constructed of sufficient width to accommodate the vehicles, and adequate edge support should be provided. Edge support can be provided by means of stabilized shoulders, flush or raised concrete curbing, or additional pavement width or thickness. The use of flush concrete curbing has other long-term maintenance benefits, such as reducing the potential for encroachment of vegetation onto the path surface. If raised curbs are used, refer to Section 3.6.2 for shy distance and curb design considerations.

Rumble strips and stripes are tactile patterns constructed along the edge of a travel lane or paved shoulder or along the road center line. They are typically milled into existing pavement, but sometimes they are created by adhering raised devices to the pavement.10 The texture of rumble strips is different from that of the roadway surface, and is designed to give motorists an audible and tactile cue to correct their course when a motorist drives over them. Longitudinal rumble strips and stripes that are milled into the roadway surface have proven to be an effective and inexpensive way to reduce run-off-road crashes for motorists on high-speed roadways.11 However, they can be difficult for bicyclists to traverse and can render popular and useful bicycle routes or shoulders unusable by bicyclists. The effect of some rumble strip designs on bicyclists can be significant if not properly mitigated, causing the bicycle to shudder violently and/or the bicyclist to lose control. Additional details on the design and placement of rumble strips and stripes is discussed in Chapter 6.

Railroad tracks that interface with pedestrian and bicycle facilities can be hazardous to wheelchair users, mobility impaired, and bicyclists. See Chapter 11 for railroad crossing considerations.

Chapter 3 Endnotes

  1. FHWA. Bicycle and Pedestrian Facility Design Flexibility. Memorandum. HEPH-10. Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington DC, 2013.
  2. Jacobsen, P. L. Safety in Numbers: More Walkers and Bicyclists, Safer Walking and Bicycling. Injury Prevention, Vol. 9, No. 3, 2003, pp. 205–209.
  3. Elvik, R. The Non-Linearity of Risk and the Promotion of Environmentally Sustainable Transport. Accident Analysis and Prevention, Vol., 41, No. 4, 2009, pp. 849–855.
  4. Marques, R. and V. Hernandez-Herrador. On the Effect of Networks of Cycle-Tracks on the Risk of Cycling: The Case of Seville. Accident Analysis and Prevention, Vol. 102, 2017, pp. 181-190.
  5. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/publications/net  work_report/network_report.pdf
  6. Dill, D. and N. McNeil. Revisiting the Four Types of Cyclists. In Transportation Research Record 2587. TRB, National Research Council, Washington, DC, 2016.
  7. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/pedbike/05085/chapt8.cfm
  8. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/pedbike/05085/pdf/lesson8lo.pdf
  9. U.S. Access Board. Proposed Accessibility Guidelines for Pedestrian Facilities in the Public Right-of-Way. 36 CFR, Part 1190, 76 Federal Register 44664, published July 26, 2011. United States Access Board, Washington, DC, 2011. http://www.access-board.gov/guide-lines-and-standards/streets-sidewalks/public-rights-of-way/proposed-rights-of-way-guidelines.
  10. AASHTO. A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets. American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Washington, DC, 2011.
  11. Torbic, D. J., J. M. Hutton, C. D. Bokenkroger, K. M. Bauer, D. W. Harwood, D. K. Gilmore, S. M. Dunn, J. J. Ronchetto, E. T. Donnell, H. J. Sommer III, P. Garvey, B. Persaud, and C. Lyon. National Cooperative Highway

4 - Pedestrian Facilities

Published: January 20, 2023

4.1 Introduction

This chapter expands on the guidance provided in Chapter 3, focusing on specific factors that influence the design of pedestrian facilities. Pedestrian facility design decisions should be informed by the context of the complete roadway environment, including the adjacent and nearby land uses and traffic operations. The quality of the pedestrian environment is impacted by a number of factors, including traffic volumes and speeds, sidewalk widths, sidewalk buffer widths, block lengths, landscaping, lighting, and the design of street crossings, among others. The biggest determinants of pedestrian safety are a person’s proximity and exposure to motor vehicles while walking along streets and crossing streets.

4.2 Disabilities and Accessibility

A disability is the result of a medically defined condition that limits a person’s movement, sense, or activities. Disabilities can be permanent or temporary and can affect anyone at some time in their life. Disability types include:

  • Physical (Orthopedic)
  • Physical (Medical)
  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Cognitive/Neurological

Orthopedic physical disabilities often require the use of a mobility device, including a cane, walker, wheelchair or prosthetic. Medical physical disabilities affect a person’s body, such as the lungs or heart, and can limit physical exertion. Vision and hearing disabilities include both full loss of either sense as well as low levels of function for those senses. Cognitive and neurological disabilities can include effects of brain injuries, autism or other impairments that can decrease decision making and recognition abilities.

Individuals with disabilities may experience accessibility issues when faced with:

  • Curbs located along the edge of a roadway, at a driveway, on a median island, at roundabouts, or anywhere that the straight vertical face prohibits pedestrians from moving without requiring a step up, down, or over the curb
  • Vertical discontinuities
  • Route widths that prohibit movement through a corridor
  • Steep grades or cross slopes that require extra exertion to overcome or that can cause instability
  • Obstructions within the pathway that may go undetected and be struck by the individual
  • Excessive reach distances to pushbuttons
  • Accessible facilities that are blocked by other infrastructure and prohibit access
  • Rough surfaces that cause jarring of the individual or impede manuverability over the surface
  • Striping that is not high contrast
  • Horizontal gaps in infrastructure that can cause tripping or catch mobility devices
  • Roadway crossings

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, all programs and new and altered facilities, regardless of funding, must be designed to remove these barriers, create consistency in the accessible features, and ensure access for all users. Accessible designs are required for the following:

  • Sidewalks
  • Pedestrian over- and underpasses
  • Pedestrian circulation paths (including temporary paths provided during construction or closure activities)
  • Pedestrian street crossings including medians or crossing islands, roundabouts, and channelized turn lanes
  • Signalized intersections
  • Curb ramps
  • Pedestrian signals and pushbuttons
  • On-Street parking that is marked or metered
  • Passenger loading zones
  • Transit stops
  • Pedestrian at-grade rail crossings
  • Pedestrian signage
  • Street furniture
  • Ramps, stairways, or other facilities to access buildings that fall within the public right-of-way

ODOT has identified the 2011 Proposed Accessibility Guidelines for Pedestrian Facilities in Public Rights-of-Way (PROWAG) as the current governing design document for accessible features on transportation projects. With this identification, the requirements found within the 2011 PROWAG, except for R306.3.2 Pedestrian Activated Signals, are mandatory and must be complied with on ODOT-Let and Local-Let projects. This chapter provides guidance on accessible design criteria as defined by ADAAG, PROWAG, and ODOT requirements. For ODOT’s current roundabout guidance, see Section 9.4.4.

To satisfy the requirements of the ADA, transportation projects must provide accessible designs as outlined in this chapter. Deviations from accessible design standards should be justified and documented (see Section

4.3 Pedestrian Zone Design

4.3.1 Types of Pedestrian Facilities

A variety of facilities can accommodate pedestrians. The design of each facility is dependent on the adjacent land uses and overall project context. This section provides an overview of these facilities with guidance for each provided throughout this chapter. Walkways and Sidewalks

Sidewalks and paved or improved walkways are the primary facility for accommodating pedestrians. A sidewalk is a walkway that is located along a roadway. A walkway may follow the roadway alignment, or it may be located on an independent alignment that is for use by pedestrians. Shared Use Paths and Side Paths

Shared use paths and side paths are walkways that are also used by bicyclists and other non-motorized users. They are discussed in more detail in Chapter 5. Roadway Shoulders

Wherever pedestrians are expected, pedestrian facilities should be provided. ORC Section 4511.50 states:

  1. Where a sidewalk is provided and its use is practicable, it shall be unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon an adjacent roadway.
  2. Where a sidewalk is not available, any pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall walk only on a shoulder, as far as practicable from the edge of the roadway.
  3. Where neither a sidewalk nor a shoulder is available, any pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall walk as near as practicable to an outside edge of the roadway, and, if on a two-way roadway, shall walk only on the left side of the roadway.

The preferred facility for pedestrian travel along a road is a sidewalk. Shoulders are not a substitute for well-designed pedestrian facilities, however when pedestrians are expected and the roadside space is constrained, it is preferable to accommodate pedestrians by providing a wide shoulder to reduce pedestrians walking within the roadway. The use of a shoulder as a pedestrian facility will be determined on a case-by-case basis and approved by the ODOT Office of Roadway Engineering. In some situations, such as accessing transit stops or key community resources, the provision of accessible slopes, accessible widths, and detectable warning surfaces within the shoulder may be appropriate.

Wide shoulders may also be used as an interim measure until sidewalks can be installed. For other techniques where sidewalks are not possible or for interim treatments, designers may reference the information on the design and implementation of pedestrian lanes in FHWA’s Rural Design Guidance.

Shoulders intended to be used by pedestrians should be maintained in a manner that supports pedestrian use. This includes clearing the shoulder of debris and vegetation and maintaining the surface condition. Special attention should be paid to drainage design and snow storage policy to maximize pedestrian safety and comfort. Shared Streets

Shared streets shall be organized in a manner that facilitates navigation by pedestrians with vision disabilities. Accessibility requirements shall follow the requirements of sidewalks. Visual and tactile cues should be provided to identify the presence of a shared street and to delineate between pedestrian-only and shared zones, including from the crossing sidewalk. Surface treatments and materials can vary, but for the shared street to be accessible the surface must be firm and stable. While there are no specific design requirements besides adhering to the accessibility requirements for sidewalks, there are several resources available to support the design of accessible shared streets. The FHWA Accessible Shared Streets Guide and the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide both provide guidance on best practices for shared streets.

4.3.2 Pedestrian Zone Framework

The space between the curb, or edge of pavement on uncurbed roadways, and the property line plays an important role in:

  • providing safe and efficient movement of pedestrians of all ages and abilities;
  • access to properties, on-street parking, and transit;
  • space for above ground street utilities, traffic control, street scaping, green infrastructure, and street furniture; and
  • space for outdoor dining, street vendors, and other community life.

This space can include three zones: the pedestrian through zone, the frontage zone, and the buffer zone. Each performs unique functions in the overall operation of the street, and each interfaces with adjacent private property uses. Although boundaries between zones may blur and blend, the overall function of each zone generally remains consistent. Figure 4-1, Figure 4-2, and Figure 4-3 demonstrate the pedestrian zone for three different contexts.

Figure 4-1: Curbed Roadway

Figure 4-1

Figure 4-2: Uncurbed Roadway

Figure 4-2

Figure 4-3: Uncurbed Roadway Where No Sidewalk Is Provided

Figure 4-3

Table 4-1: Pedestrian Zone with Sidewalk Widths for Urban Core, Urban, Suburban, and Rural Town Areas

Land Use

Frontage Zone Minimum Width (FT) (A)

Pedestrian Through Zone Sidewalk Width (FT) (B)

Buffer Zone Width (FT) (C) (D)

Central Business District

2 – 6

8 - 14

4 – 8


2 – 6

6 – 8

2 – 8



5 – 7

2 – 6

  1. 2 ft. Frontage Zone is the minimum, and a 1 ft. Frontage Zone may be used in constrained environments. A 6 ft. Frontage Zone is the minimum width to accommodate sidewalk cafés.
  2. In rare, constrained conditions, the Pedestrian Through Zone width can be reduced to 4 ft, although this width does not provide adequate space for pedestrians passing in opposite directions and requires at least a 5 ft. wide by 5 ft. long passing sections every 200 ft. (see PROWAG Section R302.4).
  3. Where trees are desired and permitted within the buffer, the buffer width must sustain the long-term health and vitality of trees and accommodate the urban lateral offset or clear zone as appropriate.
  4. When a buffer cannot be provided, then the minimum curb- attached sidewalk width is 7 ft. for residential areas and 8 ft. for all other contexts. All roadways with curb-attached sidewalks or buffers should be constructed with vertical curbing.

Table 4-2: Pedestrian Zone with Shoulder Widths for Rural Areas

Roadway Characteristics

Pedestrian Through Zone Shoulder Width (FT)

Buffer Zone Width (FT)

Highway (ADT > 2,000 and less than 1 dwelling unit per acre)

See L&D Manual Volume 1, Figure 301-3 of (5 ft. minimum)

1.5 ft. to 4 ft.1

Highway (ADT < 2,000)

See AASHTO’s A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets for combined traveled way and shoulder widths for local roads, collectors and Arterials


Pedestrian Through Zone

The Pedestrian Through Zone, also known as the “walking zone” or Pedestrian Access Route (PAR), is the portion of the sidewalk, shared use path, or shoulder used for pedestrian movement. For it to function, it must be kept clear of obstacles and be wide enough to comfortably accommodate expected pedestrian volumes, including those using mobility assistance devices, pushing strollers, or pulling carts.

Width: Refer to Table 4-1 and Table 4-2. In locations with very high pedestrian volumes, additional width should be considered.

Special Considerations: An accessible corridor is not necessarily an intuitive corridor. While sidewalks do not need to be perfectly straight, the Pedestrian Through Zone should not weave back and forth in the right-of-way. Figure 4-4 below illustrates two accessible corridors. For pedestrians with vision disabilities, a straight, wide corridor free from obstacles (as shown in the photo on the left) is easier to navigate than one requiring maneuvers or adjustments to the travel path to avoid obstacles (as illustrated in the photo on the right).

Figure 4-4: Photos showing an accessible and intuitive Pedestrian Through Zone versus a compliant but unintuitive Pedestrian Through Zone

Figure 4-4

Frontage Zone

The Frontage Zone is defined as the area between the back of the sidewalk and the property line which may coincide with the face of a building. In residential areas, the Frontage Zone may be occupied by front stairs, lawns, or other landscape elements that extend from the front door to the Pedestrian Through Zone edge. The Frontage Zone of commercial properties might include architectural features or projections, outdoor retailing displays, café seating, awnings, signage, and other intrusions into or use of the public right-of-way. Along some streets, the Frontage Zone is unimproved, but is present to accommodate sidewalk maintenance.

Width: Frontage Zone width will vary based on context, see Table 4-1. In general, a 2 ft. Frontage Zone is the recommended minimum, and a 1 ft. Frontage Zone is an acceptable minimum in constrained conditions. People walking tend to shy away from a building, wall, fence, steps or railing by at least 1 ft. Where buildings or other continuous objects are located against the back of the sidewalk and constrained situations do not provide width for the Frontage Zone, the effective width of the Pedestrian Through Zone is reduced by 1 ft.

Buffer Zone

The Buffer Zone, or “landscape zone,” lies between the curb or edge of pavement and the Pedestrian Through Zone. In commercial areas, this zone may include hardscape pavement, pavers, or tree grates. In residential, or lower intensity areas, it is commonly a planted strip. The slope of the buffer zone varies, with 4-8 percent being typical. While the defined Buffer Zone lies behind the curb, on-street parking or bike lanes within the curb-to-curb width can also act as a sidewalk buffer by increasing the separation between the pedestrians and moving motor vehicle traffic. On curbed roadways where there is no on-street parking or bicycle lane, a sidewalk buffer is recommended.

When a roadway is uncurbed and surface runoff is collected in a roadside ditch or drainage swale, the swale may be between the Pedestrian Through Zone and traveled way as it eliminates the need for dedicated buffer space, limits the runoff and, reduces the chances of ice during winter months, and maximizes the space between pedestrians and motorized vehicles. However, the location of the drainage swale or ditch in relation to the Pedestrian Through Zone may vary depending on the context of the facility.

Width: Buffer Zone widths are described in Table 4-1 and Table 4-22. When sidewalks are not present and pedestrians are using a roadway shoulder, a buffer may be inclusive of a rumble strip.

Special Considerations:

  • The Buffer Zone can provide space for snow cleared from streets and sidewalks, although snow storage should not impede access to or use of important mobility fixtures such as parking meters, bus stops, and curb ramps.
  • The Buffer Zone may extend into the parking lane by the use of curb extensions to provide additional space for trees, pedestrian ramps, bus shelters, bicycle parking, waiting areas, or other needs.

4.3.3 Walkway Surface Design

The accessible pedestrian facility design criteria are established by PROWAG and ODOT design requirements that meet the USDOJ and FHWA federal accessibility requirements. The design parameters in this chapter are intended to provide core criteria to be met on a project to satisfy federal accessibility requirements. There are several controlling criteria for a walkway to comply with the PROWAG and ODOT requirements for a pedestrian access route:

  • Width
  • Running Slope
  • Cross Slope
  • Surface Treatment
  • Vertical Alignment/Vertical Surface Discontinuity
  • Obstacles and Protruding Objects
  • Horizontal Openings


Refer to Section 4.3.2 for sidewalk width requirements and recommendations.

Running Slope

The running slope is measured longitudinally along a walkway. The following table summarizes the maximum criteria for ADA compliant running slopes.

Table 4-3: Summary of ADA Compliant Running Slopes for Pedestrian Walkways

Walkway Location

Maximum Running Slope

Adjacent to Street

Matching grade of street

Separate Alignment

5 percent maximum without railing
7.69 percent maximum with railing

Within Street Crossing

5 percent maximum

Cross Slope

The cross slope of a pedestrian facility is measured perpendicular to the direction of pedestrian travel. Cross slopes can influence the stability and ease of maneuvering for pedestrians using a mobility device. When the cross slope is steep, pedestrians must shift their body weight and use more energy to maneuver through a corridor. Figure 4-5 illustrates the effect of sidewalk cross slope on a pedestrian using a wheelchair. As a pedestrian leans his or her body to compensate for a steep cross slope, the pedestrian’s balance is impacted, causing instability and requiring more energy to make maneuvers, such as turning to align with a curb ramp.

Figure 4-5: Impacts of Sidewalk Cross Slope On Pedestrian Stability

Figure 4-5

Greater than 1.56% cross slope 1.56% or less cross slope

Cross slope requirements apply to all sidewalks and walkways, street crossings, and at-grade railroad crossings, as well as pedestrian overpasses and underpasses and similar structures. The cross slope must meet or be less than the compliant cross slope for the entire width of the pedestrian access route. A driveway crossing should maintain a level pedestrian zone (see ODOT L&D Manual Volume 1, Figure 803-3, for sidewalk design at drives). Where pedestrian street crossings are without yield or stop control conditions, or at a traffic signal that is designed for a green phase and vehicles do not slow to navigate the intersection, pedestrian street crossings have different cross slope maximums. The following table provides maximum cross slope information within the pedestrian access route.

Table 4-4: Summary of ADA Compliant Cross Slopes for Pedestrian Walkways

Walkway Location

Maximum Cross Slope

Within Street Crossing Without Yield or Stop Control at Intersection

5 percent

Mid-block Street Crossing

Match grade of street

All Other Pedestrian Walkways

1.56 percent

Surface Treatments

The sidewalk surface treatment affects the overall accessibility and comfort of the facility. The requirement is that the surface shall be a reduced vibration zone which is stable, firm, and slip resistant. Concrete and asphalt are the most commonly used surfaces, though other materials such as stone, brick, or pavers may be considered.

Concrete is the most commonly used sidewalk material. It provides a firm, smooth surface, with a color that contrasts from adjacent asphalt roadways, and its rigidity helps to maintain stable surface conditions over time. Asphalt can be used for sidewalks but is more commonly used for shared use paths. Although asphalt is firm and smooth, it does not provide a good contrasting color from asphalt roadways, and as a flexible pavement material it may adjust over time to slopes that no longer meet accessibility requirements. Where materials like bricks or pavers are used for aesthetic reasons, designers should design these treatments with a rigid base to avoid non-uniform settlement and surface irregularities that can be uncomfortable or inaccessible for wheelchair users or people pushing strollers. Bricks and pavers also tend to require more maintenance to maintain appropriate slopes and grades, which should be considered by the maintaining agency or property owner(s).

Vertical Alignment/Vertical Surface Discontinuity

The vertical alignment of the pedestrian access route shall be generally planar and smooth, promoting easy rollability. Materials that are textured, rough, or chamfered and cannot be placed in a manner that creates a planar and smooth surface should only be used for borders or used occasionally crossing the pedestrian access route.

Vertical surface discontinuities can prohibit movement between surfaces and create potential tripping hazards or areas where mobility devices can become stuck. Vertical surface discontinuities shall be 0.5 inches maximum, and any irregularity between 0.25 inches and 0.5 inches shall require a bevel with a slope no steeper than 50 percent applied across the entire surface of the irregularity. Objects such as utility covers, vault frames, and grates should not be located within curb ramp runs, blended transition turning spaces, or gutter areas within the pedestrian access route.

Obstacles and Protruding Objects

The Pedestrian Through Zones or walkways specified in Section 4.3.2 represent a clear or unobstructed pedestrian travel way. Designers should be aware of the three-dimensional corridor which makes up a pedestrian accessible route and place above-ground utilities, light poles, signs, fire hydrants, mailboxes, parking meters, street furniture, and other appurtenances outside of this sidewalk area. If unable to avoid keeping objects out of this space, then certain dimensional requirements must be maintained; see ADA Standards R307 Protruding Objects for requirements.

Directional indicators may also be used to aid pedestrians in taking the appropriate path through an area. Directional tactile indicators, sometimes known as Leading Tactile Surfaces, orient pedestrians to the intended direction of travel with raised bars installed within the walking surface. These are intended to lead pedestrians with low vision or blindness along a path free of obstacles, and they frequently terminate at detectable warning mats. Typically, these are used when usual environmental cues such as curb or edge of pavement are missing, as is often the case at shared or flush streets or along sidewalk-level separated bike lanes. They are also used to provide directional orientation in large open spaces and to designate a continuous accessible route that avoids hazards. There is no ADA requirement for the use of directional indicators, but guidance for their use should conform with International Standard Organization (ISO) standard 23599 and existing FHWA guidance.

Horizontal Openings

Gratings and other utility covers should be placed outside of the sidewalk area to the maximum extent feasible, and where present in the PAR they must meet accessibility standards. Horizontal openings within a pedestrian access route (such as utility or drainage grates or joints) shall not be greater than 0.5 inches in diameter, with the elongated opening of the grate placed perpendicular to the predominant direction of travel.

4.4 Intersections and Pedestrian Crossings

A safe and intuitive pedestrian crossing incorporates the proper layout of design elements such as curb ramps, traffic control devices, intersection corner radii, and sight distance that accommodates all users. Both pedestrian and vehicular conditions factor into the design of pedestrian crossings. For example, where pedestrian volumes have the potential to be high, crosswalks and pedestrian queuing areas need to be of sufficient width and area to accommodate the volume of pedestrians. As vehicle volumes increase, roadway width may increase to provide additional travel lanes, thus increasing crossing lengths for pedestrians and their exposure to traffic, necessitating the use of supplemental traffic control devices to assist their crossing of the roadway. The following section discusses intersection elements and recommendations to provide effective crossings for pedestrians.

4.4.1 Design for Safe, Accessible, and Convenient Crossings

Whether marked or unmarked, crosswalks exist at all legs of all intersections represented by the extension of the property lines, curb lines, or edge of the traversable roadway through the intersection, including T-intersections, except where signs prohibit pedestrian crossings. Mid-block crossings require the marking of a crosswalk to establish a crossing. At all crosswalks, motorists are required to yield to pedestrians when the pedestrian is within the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.

The following are characteristics of safe, accessible, and convenient pedestrian crossings:

  • Proper visibility between approaching motorists and crossing pedestrians
  • Appropriate frequency of crossing opportunities
  • Minimal exposure to conflicts with motorists
  • Minimal deflection in the line of travel
  • Minimal delay to pedestrians waiting to cross at both signalized and unsignalized crossings
  • Sufficient time for pedestrians to cross at signalized intersections
  • High motorist yielding rates at uncontrolled crossings
  • Clear communication to both drivers and pedestrians where pedestrians should cross the street
  • Clear communication to pedestrians when it is safe to cross the street


It is critical that pedestrians have adequate visibility of motorists approaching within travel lanes and that motorists in the travel lanes can easily see pedestrians waiting at intersections and mid-block crossings. Elements such as parked vehicles, fences, buildings, hedges, and walls can impede the visibility between motorists and pedestrians. When possible, these elements should be restricted or relocated to provide proper visibility. Designers should refer to Section 3.5 for evaluating sight distances between pedestrians and motorists.

Curb extensions or bump outs (see Section 4.5.4) can increase visibility at intersections and mid- block crossing locations, particularly for shorter pedestrians such as people using wheelchairs and children. ORC Section 4511.68 restricts parking within 20 ft. of a crosswalk at an intersection and within 30 ft. of, and upon the approach to, any flashing beacon, stop sign, or traffic control device. Depending on the site conditions, curb extensions can be designed to prevent motorists from parking within these restricted areas without removing parking.

Visibility is also impacted by larger corner radii, which by design place curb ramps and sidewalks farther back from the intersection. Section 7.2.4 discusses corner radii design which may improve visibility in some instances.

Illuminated crossings should be provided to ensure that pedestrians and motorists can see at night. It also improves pedestrians’ sense of personal security and increases their visibility to approaching motorists when walking at night. When pedestrian crossings are expected to occur between dusk and dawn, designers should look to guidance described in Section 4.5.6 and the TEM for more information.

Frequency of Crossing Opportunities

Pedestrians should have safe, accessible, and convenient crossing opportunities at reasonable distances. Pedestrians will generally not travel out of direction and will cross at the most convenient location. A reasonable distance between crossing opportunities will depend on the land use context and pedestrian activity along the street. Distance is the primary factor in the initial decision to walk. The majority of pedestrian trips are 0.25 mi or less, with over 87 percent of walking trips less than 1 mi. Most people are willing to walk 5 to 10 minutes at a comfortable pace to reach a destination.2

In general, the frequency of crossing opportunities should be approximately the same spacing as the street grid in the surrounding area. In locations where the street grid results in block lengths over 600 ft. in length, and adjacent land uses that generate pedestrian traffic, mid-block crossings may be desirable to improve accessibility and walkability.3 See Section 2.5.1 for identifying potential crossing locations and Section 4.4.2 for determining the appropriate crossing treatments.

Crossing Distance

Safe, accessible, and convenient pedestrian crossings are an essential component of pedestrian facility design. Short street crossings improve pedestrian safety and comfort by reducing their exposure time and reducing the potential of vehicle-pedestrian conflicts. Depending upon the signal timing phasing used, short street crossings may also reduce vehicle delay. Pedestrian crossing distances should be minimized to the greatest extent possible. Short crossing distances may be achieved through one or more of the following treatments:

  • Curb extensions– Section 4.5.4
  • Median crossing islands – Section 4.5.3
  • Realignment of crosswalks at offset or diagonal intersections
  • Reducing wide vehicle and parking lane widths – Section 7.3
  • Reducing number of vehicle lanes – Section 7.5

Pedestrian Delay

Minimizing pedestrian delay created by signal timing or a lack of gaps in traffic at unsignalized crossings decreases the likelihood that pedestrians will cross the street against a signal or without a sufficient gap in traffic. This may occur where delays exceed 40 seconds at signalized crosswalks and 20 seconds at unsignalized or yield-controlled crosswalks.4 At signalized intersections, pedestrian delay can be minimized by maintaining short signal cycles (see Section 8.3.3). At uncontrolled crossings, designers should evaluate the crossing conditions to understand whether pedestrians will have a sufficient frequency and length of gaps in traffic; where crossing opportunities are insufficient, additional traffic control may be necessary.

Managing Vehicle Speeds and Conflicts

At both signalized and unsignalized intersections, steps should be taken to ensure that turning speeds are kept low and that adequate sight distance is provided for roadway users and pedestrians. This is critical given that the chance of severe injuries for the pedestrian goes up as vehicle speeds increase. The following treatments can be used to reduce speeds and improve visibility or eliminate conflicts between roadway users and pedestrians:

  • Minimizing curb radii – Section 7.2
  • Turning lanes and channelized right turns – Section 7.2.6
  • Turning restrictions – Section 8.3.4
  • Leading pedestrian interval – Section
  • Median islands or hardened centerlines– Section 7.2.7
  • Raised crossings – Section 4.5.5

4.4.2 Factors That Impact Motorist Yielding Rates

Research has identified motor vehicle approach speed, roadway configuration, pedestrian assertiveness, vehicle class, and race of the pedestrian as having a major influence on motorist yielding rates. As intersecting traffic volumes approach 9,000 vehicles/day, vehicle speeds exceed 30 mph, or the number of travel lanes to be crossed exceed two lanes, the rate of motorist yielding for pedestrians and bicyclists at uncontrolled approaches drops significantly; this can create crossing challenges for people walking or bicycling (see Figure 4-6).5, 6 Additionally, the injury risk for pedestrians and bicyclists increases substantially when they are struck by vehicles operating at speeds over 30 mph (see Section 7.8). Research has also identified that drivers are less likely to yield to black pedestrians than white pedestrians, increasing the injury risk for street users who are black.7, 8 When street conditions exist that are not conducive to motorists yielding and pedestrians and/or bicyclists are likely to be present, additional design treatments and/or traffic control devices should be considered. Sections 4.4.3 and 6.4 provide recommendations for treatments based on the roadway context for pedestrian and bicycle crossings, respectively. Where pedestrians and bicyclist share a crossing, such as at a shared use path or side path, designers should follow the recommendations in Section 4.4.3.

Figure 4-6: Motorist Yielding at Uncontrolled Crossings Based on Roadway Characteristics

Figure 4-6

N = number of sites where observations were taken

 * Traffic control at all study locations were limited to marked crosswalks and standard crossings signs (W11-1, W11-2, W11-15)

4.4.3 Selecting Pedestrian Crossing Treatments

Uncontrolled pedestrian crossings, including those crossings shared with bicyclists, such as shared use paths and side paths, should be designed with appropriate treatments and countermeasures to improve motorist yielding (see Section 4.4.2). Table 4-6 summarizes countermeasures which have been found to be effective at improving pedestrian safety based on research related to the number of motorist lanes, volumes, and operating speeds.

Table 4-6 should not be used to evaluate crossings without first establishing at which intersections or mid-block locations pedestrians desire to cross. Section2.5.1.2 provides guidelines for determining existing and potential pedestrian crossing locations. Designers should recognize that the consideration of pedestrian accommodations and countermeasures is not based on a pedestrian volume threshold; instead, these features should be considered if there is a desire for pedestrians to cross.

For uncontrolled bicycle crossings, see Section 6.4. For signalized intersections, treatments such as crosswalks, crossing islands, alternative signal phasing, and other physical elements that manage vehicle speeds should be considered based on context. Refer to Chapters 7 and 8 respectively for vehicle speed management and traffic signal phasing.

Table 4-6: Application of Pedestrian Crash Countermeasures by Roadway Speed, Volume, and Configuration20

Figure 4-6

4.4.4 Additional Considerations at Mid-block Crossings

Mid-block pedestrian crossings may be appropriate in a variety of contexts based on pedestrian desire lines, transit stop locations, land use context, and intersection spacing. Motorists are more likely to expect pedestrians at intersection locations and often drive at higher speeds in mid-block locations. Because of this, mid-block crossings should be used and designed to deliberately address pedestrian safety and improve motorist compliance.

Given the differences between intersection and mid-block crossings, there are several key considerations that designers must keep in mind in conjunction with those principles stated in Section 4.4.1:

  • The crosswalk must be marked to establish a crossing
  • The crossing location should be convenient for pedestrians
  • Motorists should be alerted of the crossing as they approach it
  • Pedestrians must be able to assess opportunities to cross
  • All users must be aware of their responsibilities and obligations at the crossing and designers should ensure opportunities are provided to meet those responsibilities and obligations.

Designers should consider pedestrian volumes, motorist volumes, types of vehicles, traffic speeds, roadway characteristics (e.g., number of travel lanes, lighting), and adjacent land use context when determining if a mid-block crosswalk should be provided (see Section Additionally, pedestrians have a strong desire to stay on their path of travel and do not want to go unnecessarily out of their way to utilize a crossing, so crossing locations should be placed at or near the pedestrian’s desired path of travel.

4.5 Pedestrian Crossing Treatment Design

A safe and intuitive pedestrian crossing incorporates the proper layout of design elements such as curb ramps, traffic control devices, intersection corner radii, and sight distance that accommodates all users.

4.5.1 Markings Crosswalk Markings

Crosswalk markings are a basic tool for directing pedestrians across the street and alerting motorists and bicyclists of crossing pedestrians. Engineering judgement in conjunction with guidance in the OMUTCD and TEM should be used to determine when to mark a crosswalk. In general, marked crosswalks and other safety treatments should be prioritized at locations where pedestrians are vulnerable to conflicts with vehicles due to:

  • High pedestrian and vehicle volumes, typical in town centers, at major bus stops, or near universities
  • Vulnerable populations such as children, senior citizens, people with disabilities, or hospital areas
  • Roadway conditions that make it difficult for pedestrians to cross, such as wide crossing distances, high traffic speeds, and/or complex intersection geometry

In some instances, crosswalk markings should be used in conjunction with other markings, signs, and warning beacons or signals. Refer to the OMUTCD and Table 4-69 to determine when to supplement crosswalk markings with other traffic control devices. Refer to the OMUTCD, TEM, and Chapter 8 of the MDG for additional information on the design and layout of pedestrian crossing traffic control devices.

There are two types of standard crosswalks. See below and Standard Construction Drawing TC-74.10 for additional information:

  • Standard (transverse) crosswalk markings – A standard crosswalk consists of two transverse (parallel) lines, each a minimum of 12 inches in width.
  • High-visibility (longitudinal) crosswalk markings – A high visibility ODOT Standard crosswalk consists of longitudinal lines only striped parallel to the direction of travel. Additionally, the OMUTCD allows longitudinal lines to be used alone or in addition to the transverse lines, thus creating a ladder-style crossing.

In general, longitudinal markings are more visible to drivers than the two transverse lines.10 They are commonly used as a safety countermeasure to alert drivers to unexpected pedestrian crossings or particularly vulnerable pedestrian users (such as school zones or transit stops). Where the determination has been made to install crosswalk markings on ODOT-maintained highways, the longitudinal bar crosswalk should be used in the following situations:

  1. At intersections where at least one approach has a speed limit of 35 mph or higher
  2. At all established mid-block pedestrian crossings and with appropriate signing accompaniment

Refer to the TEM, Section 301-6.1, and OMUTCD, Section 3B.18, for line widths and spacing criteria for both standard and high-visibility crosswalks. At any marked crosswalk, curb ramps and other sloped areas should be wholly contained within the crosswalk markings. The crosswalk lines should extend the full length of the crossing. The TEM, Section 301-6.2 discusses optional aesthetic treatments that may be used between the white crosswalk lines. See SCD TC 74.10 for spacing to avoid vehicle wheel paths. Yield Markings

Yield lines may be used to indicate the point at which a bicyclist or motorist should yield in compliance with a yield sign, a Yield Here to Pedestrian (R1-5 or R1-5a) sign or a or Bicycle Yield to Peds (R9-6) sign. See OMUTCD, Section 3B.16 for guidance on yield markings.

An advance yield line can greatly reduce the likelihood of a multiple-threat crash, which occurs when a motorist stopped in one lane blocks the view of a second motorist. Advanced yield lines should be considered for any uncontrolled multi-lane crosswalk.

Advance yield markings should be placed per OMUTCD in advance of a marked or mid-block crosswalk to indicate where the vehicles are required to stop or yield and shall be paired with a Yield Here to Pedestrians (R1-5) sign.

4.5.2 Signing

Signage for the design of pedestrian facilities falls into two primary categories:

  • Guide and wayfinding signs – see Section 5.7.1.
  • Regulatory and warning signage for motorists – For additional resources see OMUTCD, Part 2 and Part 7, and TEM Part 2 and 7.

Pedestrian signage could include signing of ADA accessible routes, additional signage at crosswalks to clarify Walk/Don’t Walk signal applications, and directional signage for pedestrian crossings to indicate which intersection leg walk signal is activated by the signal pushbutton. This signage helps pedestrians understand how to navigate an intersection or where to cross and can further define the pedestrian route in a corridor.

4.5.3 Crossing Islands and Medians

At signalized intersections, single stage crossings are preferred. Where a wide intersection cannot be designed or timed to accommodate a pedestrian crossing of the intersection at one time, a crossing island or median must be provided with a pedestrian refuge. A crossing island should be considered where crossing distances are greater than 50 ft. to better accommodate slower- moving pedestrians. When a crossing island is placed at a signalized crossing, use pedestrian recall to prevent “trapping” a pedestrian in the median (see Section 8.3.3). For signal considerations to include timing at crossings, see Chapter 8. For multistage crossings at complex intersections and interchanges, see Chapter 9.

Raised medians are curbed medians located between travel lanes that serve as a pedestrian refuge space. Triangular channelization islands adjacent to right turning lanes can also act as crossing islands. Crossing islands can be coupled with other traffic calming features, such as partial diverters and curb extensions at mid-block and intersection locations (see Section 7.8.5).

The minimum width for a crossing island to provide an accessible refuge is 6 ft., measured from outside edge of the detectable warning surfaces, and the minimum width between detectable warning surfaces is 24 inches. Where medians are constructed using curbing and the detectable warnings are placed at the back of curb, the minimum width of the island is 7 ft., measured from curb face to curb face. Figure 4-7 illustrates a median crossing island with curbing where the detectable warning surface is placed at the back of the flush curb in the pedestrian refuge area. Figure 4-8 illustrates crossing islands with a 6 ft. width where detectable warnings are placed in line with the median island face of curb to meet accessibility requirements.

Crossing island width should be a minimum of 8 ft. on roadways with speeds of 50 mph or greater. The preferred minimum width is 10 ft., which accommodates bicyclists with trailers and wheelchair users more comfortably. Cut-through openings should match the width of the corresponding crosswalk. A “nose” that extends past the crosswalk toward the intersection is recommended to separate people waiting on the crossing island from motorists, and to slow turning motorists. Traffic control equipment, vegetation, and other aesthetic treatments may be incorporated, but must not obscure pedestrian visibility.

Figure 4-7: Median Crossing Island – Detectable Warning Surface Placed at Back of Curb

Figure 4-7

Figure 4-8: Median Crossing Island – Detectable Warning Surface Placed in Line with Island Face of Curb

Figure 4-8

4.5.4 Curb Extensions

On streets with on-street parking, curb extensions can be used at intersections and mid-block crossings to extend the sidewalk or curb line into the parking lane. Curb extensions reduce crossing distance for pedestrians and bicyclists, improve sight distance for all road users, and prevent parked cars from encroaching into the crosswalk area. At intersections, curb extensions can better control the effective turning radius (see Section 7.2.3) and can be used in conjunction with truck aprons (see Section 7.2.5).

Designers should consider the following for intersection and mid-block locations:

  • Curb extensions are typically used where there is an on-street parking lane and its width is typically the width of, or 1 ft. less than, the width of the parking lane. Curb extensions may be considered for use where shoulders exist if bicyclists will not be operating on the shoulder.
  • Mid-block curb extensions can be co-located with fire hydrants to maintain access to hydrants and to reduce impacts to on-street parking.
  • Curb extensions can create additional space for curb ramps, low-height landscaping, and street furniture where sidewalks are otherwise too narrow. Care should be taken to ensure that street furniture and landscaping do not block motorists’ views of pedestrians.
  • Curb extension designs should facilitate adequate drainage, either by providing inlets upstream of the curb extension, providing grading that maintains drainage flows along the curb line, or by providing a drainage bypass channel beneath the sidewalk. The designer should consider factors such as maintenance in the selection of drainage facilities, as some options may be more prone to clogging and require more routine maintenance to function properly, and the ability of bicyclists or pedestrians to safely traverse the structures or grating.
  • Designers should consider providing reflective vertical elements to alert drivers and snowplow operators to the presence of curb extensions.
  • The length of a curb extension should extend at least 20 ft. on both sides of the crosswalk, but can be longer depending on the use desired within the extension (e.g., stormwater management, bus loading, restricting parking) or where additional parking restrictions are desired (e.g., where “Advance Yield Here To Pedestrians Sign” and yield lines are provided more than 20 ft. from the crosswalk).
  • Painted curb extensions may be used as an interim measure and should be paired with edge objects such as flexible delineators to create a sense of enclosure and buffer from motor vehicle traffic.
  • Approaches to curb extensions can be created as a straight taper or using reverse curves, though reverse curves are easier for snowplow operators to guide along without catching the plow edge.

See DWG 4-1 for additional design details for curb extensions.

4.5.5 Raised Crossings

Raised crossings are an effective strategy for reducing crashes between motorists and crossing pedestrians and bicyclists because they provide a vertical change in the roadway to slow the speeds of motor vehicles, increase visibility of vulnerable street users, and increase yielding behavior of motorists.11,12 Raised crossings should be considered where motorists are required to yield the right of way to the crossing user. This includes locations such as:

  • Unsignalized collector and local street crossings with side paths;
  • Separated bike lanes along arterials;
  • Crossings of driveways and alleys;
  • Crossings of channelized right turn lanes and roundabouts; and
  • Intersections where a large corner radius is required to accommodate large vehicles and truck aprons are not possible or desired.

A target speed of less than 10 mph for the raised area should be used on roadways with a posted speed of 25 mph, but a target speed of 10 - 20 mph may be used where crossing volumes are low. A target speed of 10 - 20 mph for the raised area should be used on roadways with a posted speed of 30 mph. Raised crossings are not appropriate across streets where posted speeds are over 30 mph or where roadway grades exceed 8 percent. Designers should also consider the effects of raised crossings on drainage and pedestrian accessibility and must coordinate designs with emergency services.

Raised crossings are similar to speed tables and should have the following design characteristics (See Figure 4-9):

  • A width of 10 to 12 ft. for the flat portion of the crossing is preferred. At a minimum, the width of raised crossings should be as wide as the connecting sidewalk and bicyclist path of travel (if relevant).
  • For raised street crossings and raised driveway crossings where the driveway functions like a street, detectable warning surfaces must be provided at edges of sidewalks to indicate to pedestrians that they are exiting the sidewalk and entering the street.
  • Designers should ensure that raised crossings meet accessible slope requirements.
  • On-street parking and loading should be restricted at least 20 ft. before the marked crosswalk to provide adequate sight distance and visibility between people crossing and people driving, and to prevent drivers from having to pull forward onto the raised crossing to back into the first parking space. Designers should supplement parking restrictions with signage, pavement markings, and vertical elements such as flexible delineators or bollards where appropriate.
  • Consider the use of raised crosswalks with curb extensions to maximize visibility and further slow traffic.
  • On uncontrolled motor vehicle approaches, yield lines or speed hump markings should be used to indicate where motorists should yield to bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • Provide a RAISED CROSSWALK sign.
  • For driveways, the surface materials, color, and texture of the sidewalk, shared use path, and/ or separated bike lane should extend through the crossing, maintaining visual continuity to encourage motorists to yield at the crossing.

See DWG 4-2 for additional design details for raised crossings. See Section 7.8.3 to determine the appropriate target speed for the raised crossing.

Figure 4-9: Raised Driveway Crossings

Figure 4-9

4.5.6 Illumination

Providing lighting on pedestrian facilities improves user safety at night and at other times when there are low-light conditions. Additionally, the presence of public lighting has the added benefits of increasing the comfort, real and perceived safety, and security of people and property.

The TEM, Section 1100 discusses highway lighting. The sections referenced below provide key design guidance that pertains to the design of lighting on or near pedestrian facilities.

  • 1103-4 Land Use
  • 1103-6.2 Intersections
  • 1103-6.3 Pedestrian walkways
  • 1140-4.6.4 Pedestrian Bridges

Guidance related to foundations, decorative poles and luminaires, and luminance (foot-candles) are discussed in more detail throughout Section 1100 of the TEM.

4.5.7 Driveways and Alleys

General driveway geometric design is discussed in L&D Manual Volume 1, Sections 803 and 804. The width and grade of the Pedestrian Through Zone should continue across residential and commercial driveways and alleys as shown in L&D Manual Volume 1, Figure 803-2. The driveway apron should be located within the Buffer Zone whenever possible.

It is preferable to maintain the sidewalk grade through the driveway. However, it may be appropriate to use a parallel ramp to meet driveway profile grading constraints; see L&D Manual Volume 1, Figure 803-3 for an example of grading using a parallel ramp. In existing constrained conditions, the Pedestrian Through Zone width may be reduced to 4 ft. And the sidewalk may be shifted back (See Figure 4-10). Cross slopes must meet accessibility requirements shown and adequate drainage must be provided to keep the Pedestrian Through Zone clear of water and ice.

Driveway and alley widths should be minimized to reduce entrance speed and reduce exposure at vehicle access points. Detectable warnings are not typically provided at driveways and alleys, as they are intended to communicate to pedestrians with vision disabilities that they are entering or exiting a travel lane. However, in some instances the geometry or traffic control at a driveway makes the crossing comparable to a street, and PROWAG recommends providing detectable warnings for these locations. Section discusses when it may be preferable to include detectable warnings at driveways.

Figure 4-10: Sidewalk Configurations at Driveways in Constrained Locations

Figure 4-10

4.5.8 Parking Restrictions

Setting back parking and other visual obstructions from intersections and driveways provides appropriate sightlines and visibility between pedestrians and motorists. This can be achieved by restricting parking or stopping near crossings, intersections, and driveways. Parking can be restricted by using signs, pavement markings, flexible delineators, and/or curb extensions.

Parking restrictions should be:

  • Signed or marked to prohibit parking for a minimum of 20 ft. on each side of a marked crosswalk or driveway, and for a minimum of 30 ft. prior to a flashing beacon, stop sign, or traffic control device. Additional space may be required based on engineering judgment or based on local regulations.
  • Signed or marked to prohibit parking for a minimum of 5 ft. on each side of a minimum use driveway if there is a history of illegal parking behaviors at a particular location, or based on engineering judgment.

Designers may also consider the following:

  • Using engineering judgement to determine if greater parking restrictions and fewer visual obstructions should be provided based on prevailing motor vehicle speeds or other intersection features.
  • Using curb extensions to prevent motor vehicles from parking or stopping in restricted areas.
  • When retrofitting existing pavement areas to be parking restricted areas, surface treatments (e.g., paint, epoxy coated aggregate), low height vertical elements (e.g., flex posts), bicycle parking, or multimodal hubs can be considered within restricted areas.

The application of one or more of these treatments may also help mitigate illegal parking near intersections.

4.5.9 Curb Ramps and Detectable Warning Surfaces

Curb ramps are an essential element for pedestrian accessibility that also serve to assist any person using a wheeled device (bicycle, stroller, dolly, etc.) to transition between the sidewalk and roadway. Where provided, all newly constructed or modified curb ramps must be ADA compliant to the extent practicable and should be designed to the least slope practical considering the curb height, available corner area, and underlying topography.

ODOT’s standards related to ADA dimensional criteria are based on PROWAG. Additional guidance on the design of accessible pedestrian facilities is available from the Department of Justice and FHWA13,14. Curb Ramp Locations

ORC Section 729.12 requires that all new or reconstructed curbs shall have curb ramps at each pedestrian crosswalk so that the sidewalk and street blend to a common level.

Curb ramps shall be provided on all plans where curb and sidewalks or walkways are being constructed, reconstructed, or altered at intersections and other major points of pedestrian curb crossing such as mid-block crosswalks.

Curb ramps are required if:

  • A project has curbs, pedestrians are allowed, and sidewalks are present
  • A project has curbs, pedestrians are allowed, and no sidewalks are present but a pushbutton is present. In this scenario, a graded earth curb ramp should be provided as shown in Figure 4-17.
  • It is a resurfacing project and conditions are met as outlined in ODOT Policy 21-003(P) Curb Ramps Required in Resurfacing Plans.

It is desirable to provide an accessible route for persons with disabilities. When a curb ramp is built on one side of a street, a companion curb ramp is required on the opposite side of the street. Therefore, when normal project or work limits end within an intersection, the work limits must extend to allow construction of companion ramps. The basic requirement is that a crosswalk must be accessible via curb ramps from both ends, not one end only. In most cases, curb ramps will be installed in all quadrants of an intersection.

When pedestrian facilities are to be constructed or reconstructed as part of an alteration project, the facilities shall be designed to accommodate persons with disabilities to the greatest extent practicable. The pedestrian environment must be designed to accommodate the needs of all users, some of whom have a broad range of mobility, physical, and cognitive skills. Curb Ramp Components

The basic components to the standard curb ramp design are explained here and depicted on Figure 4-12.

Ramps – Ramps serve as the primary travel path for wheelchair users and other pedestrians traversing the curb between the sidewalk and the roadway. The grade of a ramp shall not exceed 8.33 percent. The cross slope shall not be greater than 2 percent. The minimum width of a curb ramp is 4 ft. To ensure ramp slopes do not exceed the maximum, ramps should be designed for 7.69 percent and 1.56 percent for running and cross slopes, respectively, to account for construction tolerances.

Gutters – Gutters facilitate the movement of water from the roadway into the local drainage system. Gutters require a counter slope (i.e., roadway cross slope) at the point at which the ramp meets the street for proper drainage. This counter slope should be 2 percent or less where possible, but shall not exceed 5 percent, and the change in angle must be flush, without a lip, raised joint, or gap. Lips or gaps between the curb ramp slope and counter slope can arrest forward motion by catching caster wheels or crutch tips. The algebraic difference between the ramp slope and the gutter counter slope cannot exceed 11 percent, or a 24 inch level strip must be provided between the two slopes. See Figure 4-11 through Figure 4-15.

Landings - Landings provide a level area for wheelchair users to maneuver into or out of the curb ramp and can serve as turning areas. A level, 5 ft. square landing is preferred; a 4 ft. square landing is the minimum. Level landings are required at the top of ramps with slopes designed for 1.56 percent slope (2 percent maximum) in any direction.

Flares - Curb ramp flares are graded transitions from a curb ramp to the surrounding sidewalk. Flares are not intended to be wheelchair routes, are considered a non-walkable surface, and often serve as one of the cues used to identify the presence of a curb ramp. In most instances, flares are not required for curb ramps. When provided, flare slopes shall not exceed a 10 percent slope. Side flares are advisable where pedestrian traffic may cross runs to prevent tripping hazards. Side flares are essential in alterations when space for a top landing (36 inches deep minimum) is not available; in this instance, side flares with a max slope of 8.33 percent are necessary to accommodate wheelchair maneuvering that will partially occur at flares in the absence of full landing space at the top of the ramp unless a parallel-type curb ramp is provided. Parallel curb ramps provide an alternative in such conditions.15, 16

Figure 4-11: Counter Slope

Figure 4-11 Curb Ramp Types

There are four types of curb ramps currently used in street corner designs:

  • Perpendicular (Tier 1)
  • Combined (Tier 2)
  • Parallel (Tier 3)
  • Diagonal (Tier 4)

Ramp types are categorized above in tiers by preferred order of use, with Tier 1 being the most desirable. The designer should not use a lower tiered ramp without first determining and having justification that the upper tiered ramp is not constructible. Justification may be based on factors such as the presence of drainage features, utilities, right-of-way restrictions, geometric impacts, or operational issues.

In all cases, curb ramps should be located entirely within the marked crosswalks (where they exist). Drainage grates or inlets should not be located within the crosswalk area, as wheelchair casters or cane tips could get caught.

Tier 1: Perpendicular curb ramps (Type A1 and A2 in Standard Construction Drawing BP-7.1) are generally perpendicular to the curb. Users will generally be traveling perpendicular to vehicular traffic when they enter the street at the bottom of the ramp. Perpendicular curb ramps can be designed as directional curb ramps that align pedestrians with the crosswalk orientation and eliminate the need for people in wheelchairs to reorient themselves within the street. Non- directional ramps are perpendicular to the curb even on corner radii, which means they do not provide a straight path of travel for pedestrians. If the angle of the curb ramp is greater than 20 degrees to the angle of the crosswalk (i.e., angle Z in Figure 4-12), a directional curb ramp should be considered. All perpendicular ramps have the disadvantage of requiring a level landing that takes up additional right-of-way at the top of ramp. Perpendicular ramps are generally the best design for pedestrians, provided that a minimum 4 ft. landing is available for each approach.

Figure 4-12: Perpendicular Curb Ramp Types: Non-Directional (top) and Directional (lower)

Figure 4-12

Tier 2: Combined curb ramps (Type C1 and C2 in Standard Construction Drawing BP-7.1) use features of both perpendicular and parallel curb ramps (see Figure 4-13). This design can be advantageous when dealing with a narrow sidewalk or a steep grade. These ramps may be more expensive and complicated to install.

Figure 4-13: Combined Curb Ramp Examples

Figure 4-13

Tier 3: Parallel curb ramps (Type B1, B2, and B3 in Standard Construction Drawing BP-7.1) have one ramp (B1 and B3) or two ramps (B2) leading down towards a level landing at the bottom, with a level landing at the top of each ramp (Figure 4-14). They can be installed where the available space between the curb and property line is too tight to permit the installation of both a ramp and a landing, and they are effective on steep terrain or at locations with high curbs. Unfortunately, sidewalk users have to negotiate two ramp grades. Since the landing is depressed and level, drainage of the ramp landing at the street must be carefully designed.

Figure 4-14: Parallel Curb Ramp Example

Figure 4-14

Tier 4: Diagonal curb ramps (Type D in Standard Construction Drawing BP-7.1) are a single curb ramp that is located at the apex of the corner (Figure 4-15). Diagonal curb ramps are not acceptable designs for access to new sidewalks, but may be applied in retrofit locations where a pair of perpendicular ramps is not feasible due to existing site constraints. This design directs a visually impaired person away from the crosswalk and into traffic. Therefore, the entire lower landing area must fall within the crosswalk that the ramp serves and cannot be located in the traveled lane of traffic.

Figure 4-15: Diagonal Curb Ramp Example

Figure 4-15 Detectable Warnings

Detectable warnings are standardized surface features on walking surfaces to communicate to people with vision disabilities that they are approaching a crossing.

Truncated domes are specified as the detectable warnings to be used at the interface between the Pedestrian Through Zone and the roadway. They are to be included in all connections to all street crossings to mark the street edge where a Pedestrian Through Zone crosses a vehicular way.

Detectable warnings shall be used:

  • At the base of curb ramps,
  • At the border of median crossing islands,
  • At the edge of depressed corners,
  • At the border of raised crosswalks and raised intersections,
  • At street crossings for shared use paths,
  • Where sidewalks cross railroad tracks,
  • At blended transitions, and
  • At signalized driveways.

Considerations for detectable warnings at driveways include the following:

  • Detectable warnings should not be indiscriminately applied at minor driveway locations or alleyways that appear and function more like a sidewalk than a street crossing. This may be confusing and a nuisance to pedestrians with vision disabilities.
  • Detectable warnings should be used at driveways with heavy traffic that make their crossing comparable to a street.

Truncated dome dimensions, location, and alignment can be found on Standard Construction Drawing BP-7.1.

Detectable warnings placed within the shoulder are appropriate to provide guidance for pedestrians with vision disabilities to identify the street crossing if the shoulder is the designated PAR. Blended Transitions

A blended transition is a raised pedestrian street crossing, depressed corner, or similar connection between the pedestrian access route made at the level of the sidewalk and crossing a street where the grade is 5 percent or less, such as on an uncurbed roadway. ADA requirements for cross slopes and detectable warnings for blended transition are similar to those of a curb ramp. A landing is not required for a blended transition. Blended transitions must be wholly contained within the pedestrian street crossing served.

Blended transitions can occur at intersection corners as well as at other street crossings. Blended transitions can be advantageous for pedestrians for several reasons. With the flat grade, no landing or turning space is needed at the top or bottom of the transition area. Maintaining the same sidewalk and ramp running slopes also simplifies the overall facility design and increases ease of use. The flatter design also eliminates sharp grade breaks between the walk and the traditional curb ramp area.

At intersection corners, attempts to install actual curb ramps should be made before blended transition options are examined.

It is important to note that blended transitions between pedestrian travel ways and vehicular travel ways can create difficulties for pedestrians by providing a large area where the corner and street are at the same elevation. This can make it much more difficult to detect the boundary between the sidewalk and the street for persons with vision disabilities. Similar to diagonal curb ramps, depressed corners can make it more difficult for motorists to determine in which direction a pedestrian intends to cross the street. Figure 4-16 illustrates a blended transition at an intersection corner. To delineate the boundary between the pedestrian area and the vehicular area, detectable warning mats shall be placed along the entire extent of the depressed area, as shown Figure 4-16. It is critical to ensure the detectable warning mats encompass the entire length of the area flush with the adjacent roadway so the boundary between the pedestrian area and vehicular area is clear to pedestrians with vision disabilities.

Blended transitions may also be used at raised pedestrian street crossings or raised crosswalks. To provide a clear delineation between the pedestrian walkway and the crossing or crosswalk, the detectable warning mat shall extend across the entire width of the interface between the sidewalk and the raised crossing or crosswalk.

Figure 4-16: Blended Transition Example

Figure 4-16

Blended transitions may also be found at street crossings near major pedestrian generators such as sports arenas, transit hubs, convention centers, college or university campuses, or pedestrian- centric commercial areas. Blended transitions in these areas permit large volumes of pedestrians to cross roadways at a time. Similar to the raised crosswalk and intersection applications, truncated dome mats shall be placed along the full length of the transition area to delineate the boundary between pedestrian and vehicular facilities. Curb Cuts

Pedestrian curb cuts, or dropped curbs, eliminate the vertical curb face and may facilitate a pedestrian walking within the roadway to exit the roadway. Pedestrian curb cuts should be placed where the pedestrian route is intended to continue across a roadway, but where a receiving curb ramp and sidewalk do not currently exist. This can be at the roadway edge, at a median or roundabout splitter island, or anywhere a curb presents a vertical face that is not traversable by a mobilPedestrian Curb Cuts. Figure 4-17 describes the required widths and slopes for a pedestrian curb cut.

Figure 4-17: Pedestrian Curb Cuts

Figure 4-17 Curb Ramp Design Waiver

PROWAG recognizes that it is not always practicable to fully meet ADA dimensional requirements due to physical constraints, “Existing physical constraints include, but are not limited to, underlying terrain, right-of-way availability, underground structures, adjacent developed facilities, drainage, or presence of notable natural or historic features (R202.3.1)”. In cases where it is not possible to meet ADA requirements, the pedestrian facilities shall be designed and constructed to meet ADA requirements to the maximum extent practicable.

Disproportionate cost to provide an accessible path of travel can also be a factor in a decision to deviate from ADA requirements. Disproportionate cost is defined to be “the additional cost of alterations to provide an accessible ‘path of travel’ to the altered area is disproportionate when it exceeds 20 percent of the cost of the alteration to the ‘primary function’ area.” (R202)

Existing sidewalks where the maximum ramp slope is not feasible due to site constraints (e.g., utility poles or vaults, right-of-way limits) may be reduced as follows:

  • 10:1 for maximum rise of 6 inches
  • 8:1 for maximum rise of 3 inches
  • 6:1 over a maximum run of 2 ft.-0 inches for historic areas where a flatter slope is not feasible

To prevent chasing the grade indefinitely, the transition from existing sidewalk to the curb cut is not required to exceed 15 ft. in length.

ODOT has developed a design waiver process to identify the circumstances preventing the ability to provide accessible facilities. Prior to the development of the waiver, the designer must consider alternatives to achieve accessibility (including those values stated above) and show that the accessible design cannot be achieved. The waiver form and directions for completing it can be found on ODOT’s ADA Resources website. Specific documentation requirements and retention practices are discussed in subsequent sections.

Documentation Requirements

In cases where it is not practicable to meet all ADA dimensional requirements, the constraints shall be documented in an ADA waiver form. Waiver forms should be created either in design or during construction at the time it becomes known that a constraint will preclude a pedestrian facility from meeting ADA requirements. In either case, during design or during construction, the District Design Engineer will be responsible for review and approval or denial of ADA waivers.

A project’s scope and Purpose and Need should be a consideration when evaluating an ADA waiver. The scope of the project can be an important consideration in determining if meeting ADA requirements is practicable. For example, resurfacing projects are considered alteration projects that require the updating of pedestrian curb ramps. If the scope of a resurfacing project, however, does not require the purchase of additional right-of-way, in this example it is not practicable to purchase right-of-way. The project should make as many ramps fully compliant to ADA requirements as possible without purchasing right-of-way. The remaining ramps shall be reconstructed to ADA requirements to the maximum extent feasible without the purchase of right- of-way. Those ramps not meeting the ADA requirements shall have an approved ADA waiver form completed and signed by the District Design Engineer for each non-compliant pedestrian feature. Future projects at a location with a waiver should determine whether the feature could be made compliant based on the scope of the project, recognizing that there are some locations where compliance may not be possible.

Where infeasible to construct a pedestrian facility to ADA standards, a waiver form is required regardless of governing authority. Identified infeasible facilities shall be added to the ADA collector application and a waiver form completed by the district with information supplied by the governing authority. The final approval for a waiver, including waivers on local projects utilizing federal funds and permit projects on ODOT maintained roadways, rests with the District Design Engineer.

Identified non-compliant pedestrian facilities do not require a waiver until a project impacts the facility and improvements are considered infeasible.

Construction tolerances are included in ODOT standard construction drawing BP-7.1 and are slightly more conservative than PROWAG standards. A waiver is required when a pedestrian facility does not meet PROWAG standards. ADA waivers shall be recorded on the title sheet of construction plans per L&D Manual Volume 3, Section 1302.15.

Approved ADA waiver forms shall be attached to their specific Asset ID in the ADA Collector Application database. Future projects with an appropriate scope and Purpose and Need should reference previously approved waiver forms and upgrade the pedestrian facilities to full ADA compliance where possible.

4.5.10 Ramps and Landings

At times, sidewalks that are not adjacent to roadways may exceed a 5 percent longitudinal slope. Where this occurs, the pedestrian access route is treated like a ramp. Per PROWAG R407, the maximum running slope, horizontal run, and vertical rise are summarized in the table below. It is advised to provide a ramp with the least possible running slope in order to accommodate the widest possible range of users.

Table 4-5: Summary of ADA Compliant Ramp and Landing Design Elements

Design Element


Running Slope

5 percent minimum
8.33 percent maximum


2.5 ft. maximum


(Provide at top and bottom of ramp)

1.56 percent running and cross slopes 5 ft. minimum length
Width matches width of ramp

Intermediate landings for turning maneuvers

5 ft. minimum length and width
1.56 percent running and cross slopes

Landings should be clear of any obstructions, such as manholes, utility boxes, or valves, and ramps and landings should meet the surface requirements for pedestrian access routes as defined in PROWAG and Section 4.3.3.

If the pedestrian access route does not have sloped grading adjacent to the ramp and has a vertical drop of more than 6 inches, a railing is required to protect pedestrians from stepping off the edge of the ramp. Dimensions for the railing can be found in PROWAG Section R-409.

For shared use paths/trails design guidance, see Chapter 5 of this guide.

4.6 Parking

ODOT’s ADA Design Resources site establishes on-street parking accessibility requirements and contains an inventory of parking in ODOT’s public right-of-way. On-street parking design follows ADAAG Section 502 and PROWAG Sections R211.4, R214 and R309. These sections address the number of accessible spaces, parking stall width, length, loading zones, and access aisles. Markings, signage, and symbols are discussed in the OMUTCD, Section 3B.20.

Accessibility for parking design can also include access to any parking meters or pay kiosks. Meters and kiosks require clear spaces adjacent to the meter or kiosk face, with clearance widths and reach and height meeting PROWAG Section R404 Clear Spaces requirements. Obstructions around meters and pay kiosks must be avoided and protrusions must meet accessibility requirements stated in PROWAG Section R402.

4.7 Overpasses and Underpasses

4.7.1 Sidewalks for Bridges/Underpasses

Provisions should be made to include some type of walking facility as part of a vehicular bridge or underpass, if only as an emergency exit path. Wherever possible, sidewalk widths across bridges and through underpasses should be the same as the clear width of the existing connecting sidewalks.

Designers should refer to the ODOT Bridge Design Manual and the L&D Manual Volume 1, Section 302 for specific guidance on bridges and assessing the cross-section. Sidewalks on Bridges

Walks should be provided on bridges located in urban, suburban, and rural town areas having curbed typical sections under the following conditions:

  1. Where there are existing walks on the bridge and/or bridge approaches, or
  2. Where evidence can be shown through local planning processes, or similar justification, that people do walk on the bridge or will based on changing land use context.

Walks on bridges should be at least 6 ft. wide in residential areas and 8 ft. wide in commercial areas measured from the face of curb to the face of parapet. The minimum width shall be 5 ft.

In rural areas or at other sites where flush shoulders approach a bridge and light pedestrian traffic is anticipated on the shoulders, the shoulder width should be continued across the bridge using the preferred lateral clearance from L&D Manual Volume 1, Figure 302-1, or greater if deemed appropriate. A raised walkway should not be used in these areas. Sidewalks under Bridges

The criteria for providing walks at underpasses are the same as described above for walks on bridges. An exception is in areas where there are no approach walks. Space should be provided for future walks but walks generally will not be constructed with the project unless there is concurrent approach walk construction. Where the approach walks at underpasses include a tree lawn, the tree lawn width may be carried through the underpass wherever space permits.

4.7.2 Pedestrian Only Grade Separated Crossings

When pedestrian facilities cross certain barriers, grade-separated pedestrian crossings are desirable and may be necessary. Common barriers include freeways, arterials, rivers, and railroads where there is an observed or expected pedestrian demand but no suitable at-grade locations to cross within the vicinity.

Construction of grade-separated crossings can be extremely costly and disruptive to the pedestrian path of travel, and they can invite vandalism or crime if not designed well. Additionally, they are structures that require maintenance and are vulnerable to natural disasters; for example, underpasses could flood. For these reasons, the design of a grade-separated crossing should be carefully considered.

Due to the high costs of constructing pedestrian-only structures, they should be considered only where other more standard and/or less costly solutions are not feasible. Both pedestrian overpasses and underpasses need to meet accessibility requirements for maximum slopes. The most common design option is to include either ramps and landings or elevators to address changes in grade for pedestrians. A second design option may be considered to more easily meet accessibility requirements. This involves lowering or raising the road such that the pedestrian facilities remain at grade and the roadway is placed above or below the pedestrian route; however, this approach will result in a larger area of impact within the roadway to allow roadway slopes to ramp up and down at the pedestrian facility. The third design option is to alter both facilities, lowering or raising the road while doing the opposite for the pedestrian route, thus minimizing the vertical change in elevation for both the pedestrian and motorist facilities.

Freeways shall not have pedestrian crossings at grade and will require the use of separate pedestrian structures.

Underpasses that are below grade should provide clear sight distances to and through the underpass. A minimum width of 14-16 ft. is desirable, but longer tunnels should be wider for personal security. Likewise, vertical clearance of 8 ft. is sufficient for short tunnels, but longer ones may need 10 ft. Heights of bicyclists or maintenance and emergency vehicles may also need to be addressed. Drainage must be carefully considered.

Both pedestrian overpasses and underpasses should be adequately illuminated. See additional details on illumination in Section 4.5.6. Guidelines

Experience has shown that the primary location for a pedestrian overpass/underpass is an urban area outside the central business district. Such a pedestrian crossing may be considered when the following conditions exist:

  1. The community has expressed a strong desire for a pedestrian crossing.
  2. A reasonable alternate route for pedestrians is not available.
  3. There is no signal, stop intersection, or pedestrian crossing available within 600 ft. of the proposed location.
  4. Pedestrians are prevented from crossing at grade, such as at freeways and rivers.
  5. Physical conditions permit construction and ADA accessible grades are achievable.
  6. The traffic volume and pedestrian volume are above those required to warrant the installation of pedestrian signals as stated in the OMUTCD. This stipulation can be waived in special cases such as when sight distances are limited.
  7. Where there are a large number of pedestrians who must regularly cross a high-speed, high volume roadway.

Designers working on a pedestrian-only bridge should refer to Sections 303.2, 309.4/309.4.3.3, 309.5.3, 309.5.5.1, and 310.8 of the ODOT Bridge Design Manual and other national guidance17 for relevant information on pedestrian bridges, bicycle and pedestrian bridges, and railing/fencing guidance for pedestrian bridges or vehicle bridges with pedestrians present.

4.7.3 Barriers and Railings for Pedestrian Facilities

Railing requirements differ based on the expected design user, the type of facility, and the slope. To maintain minimum ADA requirements on sloped approaches to a grade-separated facility, handrails must be provided at a continuous height of 34 to 38 inches above the walk surface. A second set of handrails at a maximum height of 28 inches may be considered if children are expected to be regular users of the facility. If two handrails are provided, the minimum vertical clearance between the two is 9 inches to reduce the likelihood of entrapment.

If the primary purpose of a railing on an overpass is to separate users from a drop-off, the minimum barrier height is 42 inches above the walk surface. If bicyclists are also expected on the overpass, designers should refer to Chapter 5 for guidance on shared use paths.

4.8 Work Zones

Accessible routes should be maintained through construction sites or pedestrian detour routes should be provided. These routes can be along the existing pedestrian route or an alternative temporary route. The requirements for pedestrian access route widths, grades, cross slopes, and surface treatments through or around work zones must all meet the requirements detailed in PROWAG Sections R300 and R400. Per Chapter 6 of the OMUTCD, agencies must provide reasonably safe and effective movement for all roadway users. If the existing pedestrian route cannot be maintained, information about alternate routes should be provided. This must include access to temporary bus stops, reasonably safe travel across intersections, and other routing issues. Barriers and channelizing devices that are detectable by people with visual disabilities must be provided. Curb ramps and detectable warnings shall be implemented where applicable. The following items should be considered to facilitate an accessible pedestrian route through or around work zones in addition to the features mentioned above:

  • Advanced warning and guidance signs
  • Illumination and reflectors
  • Use of temporary walkways
  • Channeling and barricading to separate pedestrians from traffic
  • Barricading to prevent a person with vision disabilities from entering work zones
  • Accommodation for pedestrian through work zones
  • Temporary striping, detectable warning surfaces, and pedestrian signalization for crosswalks; adjusted pedestrian crossing times for modified crosswalk lengths

Guidance for providing pedestrian facilities through or around work zones is discussed in the TEM and the OMUTCD.

The TEM, Section 603 provides guidance on pedestrian and worker safety. This section notes that in work zones “where pedestrian traffic is present, pedestrian safety and needs must be addressed.” OMUTCD, Sections 6D.01 and 6D.02 provide additional details.

The TEM, Section 606-21 provides additional guidance on the types of temporary traffic control zones that are needed for work affecting pedestrian and bicycle facilities. OMUTCD, Sections 6G.054 and 6F.74 provide additional details.

ODOT SCD MT-110.10 and OMUTCD, Figures 6H-28 and 6H-29 show typical traffic control device uses and techniques for pedestrian movement through work areas.

4.9 Additional Resources

The following resources provide information about the design of pedestrian facilities:

  • ODOT Design Resource Reference Center18 – provides direct links to design guides, specifications and standard drawings.
  • ODOT ADA Design Resources19 – provides a summary of available resources, trainings, design guidelines, requirements, facility databases, and standard drawings specifically related to the ADA.

Chapter 4 Endnotes

  1. FHWA Small Town and Rural Design Guide
  2. FHWA. Summary of Travel Trends, 2017 National Household Travel Survey. FHWA-PL-18-019. Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC, 2011.
  3. FHWA Achieving Multimodal Networks
  4. NACTO Urban Street Design Guide
  5. Bertullis, T. and D. Dulaski. Driver Approach Speed and its Impact on Driver Yielding to Pedestrian Behavior at Unsignalized Crosswalks. In Transportation Research Record 2464. TRB, National Research Council, Washington, DC, 2014.
  6. Fitzpatrick, K., S. Turner, M. Brewer, P. Carlson, B. Ullman, N. Trout, E. S. Park, J. Whitacre, N. Lalani, and D. Lord. National Cooperative Highway Research Program Report 562: Improving Pedestrian Safety at Unsignalized Crossings. NCHRP, Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC, 2006.
  7. Goddard, T., K. B. Kahn, and A. Adkins. Racial Bias in Driver Yielding Behavior at Crosswalks. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behavior. Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC, 2015.
  8. Coughenour, C., S. Clark, A. Singh, E. Claw, J. Abelar, and J. Huebner. Examining Racial Bias as a Potential Factor in Pedestrian Crashes. Accident Analysis & Prevention. 2017
  9. FHWA Guide for Improving Pedestrian Safety at Uncontrolled Crossing Locations
  10. Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities, AASHTO
  11. Huang, H.F. and M.J. Cynecki. The Effects of Traffic Calming Measures on Pedestrian and Motorist Behavior. FHWA-RD-00-104. Federal Highway Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC, 2001.
  12. Candappa, N., K., S. N. Fotheringham, M.G. Lenne, and B. Corben. Raised Crosswalks on Entrance to the Roundabout -- A Case Study on Effectiveness of Treatment on Pedestrian Safety and Convenience. Traffic Injury Prevention, Vol. 15, No. 6, 2014, pp. 631-639.
  13. The Department of Justice, United States Access Board’s ADA Standards
  14. FHWA’s Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access, Part 2, Best Practices Design Guide
  15. The Department of Justice, United States Access Board’s ADA Standards
  16. FHWA’s Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access, Part 2, Best Practices Design Guide
  17. AASHTO LRFD Guide Specifications for the Design of Pedestrian Bridges
  18. DRRC
  19. ADA Design Resources
  20. FHWA Guide for Improving Pedestrian Safety at Uncontrolled Crossing Locations

5 - Shared Use Paths

Published: January 20, 2023

This chapter provides guidance for shared use paths used by bicyclists and pedestrians, including those with disabilities, for transportation and recreation purposes. Shared use paths are physically separated from motor vehicle traffic by an open space or barrier.

5.1 General

Shared use paths are one of the preferred bikeway types for the Interested but Concerned Bicyclist design user profile (see Section 3.2.1) due to their separation from motor vehicle traffic.

Shared use paths should be thought of as a system of off-road transportation routes for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-motorized users that extends and complements the on-road bicycle network. Shared use paths are most commonly designed for two-way travel, and the guidance herein assumes a two-way facility is planned unless otherwise stated. The presence of a shared use path should not be used as a reason to preclude on-road bikeways where appropriate. A shared use path can supplement a network of separated bike lanes, on-road bike lanes, shared roadways, bicycle boulevards, and paved shoulders.

Shared use path design is similar to roadway design, following many of the same core design precepts but on a different scale and with typically lower design speeds.

5.1.1 Accessibility Requirements for Shared Use Paths

Shared use paths are used by pedestrians and must meet the accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Paths in the public right-of-way that follow the roadway and function as sidewalks, commonly referred to as sidepaths, should be designed in accordance with the proposed Public Rights of Way Accessibility Guidelines (PROWAG). Shared use paths built in independent right-of-way should meet the draft accessibility guidelines in the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on Accessibility Guidelines for Shared Use Paths.

Additional information on accessibility requirements for pedestrian facilities is described in Chapter 4.

The guidance in this section supplements the general elements of design discussed in Chapter 3 and provides additional details for designers working on shared use paths.

5.2 Shared Use Path Users

A wide range of users rely on shared use paths for a variety of trip purposes. Therefore, paths should be designed to accommodate a broad array of expected users and purposes. Some shared use paths are relatively short and connect single destinations such as a neighborhood to a school, park, retail center, or transit station. Some paths are longer and connect multiple destinations along a shared use path system. Some shared use paths are used primarily for recreational purposes while others are used primarily for transportation purposes such as commuting. The primary differentiator in the design and maintenance of shared use paths for transportation purposes is the recognition that path users are dependent on path safety, accessibility, comfort, and convenience at all hours of the day and during all seasons of the year.

Path users may include but are not limited to:

  • Pedestrians (including walkers, runners, people using wheelchairs, both non-motorized and motorized), people with baby strollers, people walking dogs, and others.
  • Adult upright bicyclists, adult tricyclists, recumbent bicyclists, bicyclists pulling trailers, tandem bicyclists, and child bicyclists;
  • Inline skaters, roller skaters, skateboarders, kick scooter users, and users of other micromobility devices.

5.2.1 Design User

As discussed in Section 3.2, shared use path design criteria should primarily be based on a person’s physical and operating characteristics as a pedestrian or bicyclist (see Section 3.2.1), therefore different design users will be required to establish key design control values. For shared use paths these will generally be:

  • Geometric Design Controls – path width should be based on the volume of pedestrians and bicyclists expected to use the path; however, design speed, acceleration and deceleration rates, and horizontal and vertical curvature, and clearances should be based on an adult bicyclist as they are typically the largest and fastest of all path users.
  • Sight Distance - should be based on a recumbent or hand bicyclists as they typically have the lowest eye height of all path users.
  • Intersection Crossing Performance Criteria - such as crossing time and acceleration should be based on pedestrians and child bicyclists as they are typically the slowest of all path users.
  • Queue Storage - such as the width of crossing islands or other areas where bicyclist queuing length must be accounted for should be based on a bicyclist with a trailer as they are typically the longest path user.

5.3 General Design Considerations

5.3.1 Width and Clearances


The appropriate paved width for a shared use path is dependent on the context, volume, and mix of users. When determining an appropriate shared use path width, it is also important to consider the natural behavior of people operating on paths. People traveling want the ability to have conversations with companions, thus they will walk and bicycle side-by-side regardless of the width provided (see Figure 5-1). Path widths less than 11 ft. in width do not provide space for people to travel side-by-side and be passed by other users approaching from the opposite direction without increasing the potential for conflicts. An additional consideration for determining an appropriate path width is ensuring the inherent speed differential between wheeled users and people walking, and the volume of shared use path users, does not result in uncomfortable or unsafe conditions.

Figure 5-1: People Walking and Bicycling Naturally Prefer to Socialize by Operating Side-by-Side

Figure 5-1

Failure to account for normal human social behavior and the mix of operating speeds will result in user conflicts on shared use paths that operate at moderate to high volume thresholds. In some cases, the presence of frequent conflicts can result in some people avoiding the facility altogether. To mitigate safety and discomfort issues between wheeled users and people walking, it may be appropriate to consider paths wider than minimum widths.

Table 5-1: Shared Use Path Widths for Anticipated Peak Hour Volumes

Shared Use Path Operating Widths

Minimum (ft)

SUPLOS “C” Peak Hour Volumes at Preferable Width

Constrained (ft)

SUPLOS “D” Peak Hour Volumes at Minimum Width


150 - 300



12 – 15

300 - 500



16 – ≥20

500 - ≥600



Table 5-11 shows minimum shared use path widths to achieve a Shared Use Path Level of Service (SUP LOS) of “C”. Shared use path user volumes can be collected on an existing path, estimated using a similar path, or projected using land use and other demand characteristics present along the path. If the designer cannot collect or estimate the modal split values, a typical mode split of 60 percent bicyclists, 30 percent pedestrians, and 10 percent other wheeled users may be considered. Using a minimum SUP LOS of “C” helps to ensure the path has the minimum width necessary to meet current demand with a modest ability to carry some additional future capacity. At SUP LOS “D,” the path will be at its functional capacity limit during peak periods which will result in significant service degradation for users due to crowding.

Table 5-1 should be used to inform the selection of a shared use path width to serve the desired volume, user mix and operational conditions for the path. Regionally significant paths serving a wide range of users, with faster bicyclists using the facility for transportation and recreation, may benefit from the ability to operate on wider width shared use paths.

As path widths begin to exceed 15 ft. in width, it may be desirable to separate pedestrians from bicyclists to minimize speed differential between pedestrians and wheeled users in lieu of providing a wider shared use path.

The FHWA Shared Use Path Level of Service Calculator can help designers understand potential volume thresholds where passing movements between bicyclists and pedestrians will limit the effectiveness of a shared use path. To improve the comfort and safety of bicyclists and pedestrians, and to improve the efficiency of the shared use path for bicycle travel, separation of bicyclists and pedestrians should be considered when:

  • Level of Service is projected to be at or below level “C”
  • Pedestrians can reasonably be anticipated to be 30 percent or more of the volume
  • Higher volumes of children, seniors, or individuals with disabilities are likely to be present
  • Where faster bicycle speed is desired to serve regionally significant bicycle travel

Where it is determined to separate bicyclists and other higher-speed wheeled users from pedestrians (including people walking or using wheelchairs or other assistive devices) there are three strategies which can be considered (see Figure 5-2):

  1. A wide path can be provided which separates users using pavement markings
  2. A wide path can be provided which separates users with a traversable surface delineation
  3. Separate bikeways and walkways can be used which are physical separated from each other

Figure 5-2: Potential Options for Separation of Shared Use Paths

Option 1 Option 2

Option 3

Horizontal and Vertical Clearances

A graded shoulder width of at least 5 ft. with a maximum cross slope of 6:1 should be provided on each side of a shared use path. Shy distances from obstructions such as bushes, large rocks, bridge piers, abutments, and poles should be provided per Section 3.6.2. See Figure 5-3 for a typical cross- section of a shared use path.

Where paths are adjacent to parallel bodies of water or downward slopes of 3:1 or steeper, a wider separation should be considered. A 5 ft. separation from the edge of path pavement to the top of the slope is desirable. Depending on the height of the embankment and condition at the bottom, a physical barrier, such as dense shrubbery, railing or fencing may be appropriate. Where a recovery area (distance between the edge of the path pavement and the top of the slope) is less than 5 ft., physical barriers are recommended in the following situations (see Figure 5-3):

  • Slope 3:1 or greater, with a drop of 6 ft. or greater;
  • Slope 3:1 or greater, adjacent to a parallel body of water or other substantial object;
  • Slope 2:1 or greater, with a drop of 4 ft. or greater;
  • Slope 1:1 or greater, with a drop of 1 ft. or greater.

The barrier should begin prior to, and extend beyond, the area of need similar to the implementation of guardrail with shy spaces per Section 3.6.2. The ends of the barrier should be flared away from the path edge, particularly if constrained dimensions are used.

It is not desirable to place the pathway in a narrow corridor between two fences for long distances, as this creates personal security issues, prevents users who need help from being seen, prevents path users from leaving the path in an emergency, and impedes emergency response.

Additional information on horizontal and vertical shy space is provided in Section 3.6.2.

In addition to shy spaces for path user comfort and operations, additional horizontal clearances may be needed to accommodate bicyclist sight lines and stopping sight distances in areas of horizontal alignments. Figure 5-4 and Table 5-2 illustrate and identify the minimum lateral clearances need to provide sight lines through horizontal alignments. On narrower paths, bicyclists tend to ride near the middle of the path. Lateral clearances on horizontal curves should be calculated based on the sum of the stopping sight distances for path users travelling in opposite directions around the curve.

Figure 5-3: Typical Shared Use Path Cross-Sections (left), Steep Slope Edge Treatment (right)

Figure 5-3

Figure 5-4: Horizontal Sightline Offset for Adjacent Path Objects

Figure 5-4

Table 5-2: Minimum Lateral Clearance for Horizontal Curves

Minimum Lateral Clearance (Horizontal Sightline Offset or HSO) for Horizontal Curves (ft)


S = Stopping Sight Distance (ft)










































































































































































































































































































































5.3.2 Sidepaths

Sidepaths are a type of shared use path that are located parallel to a roadway and may be considered in addition to on-road bikeways. The primary distinction between sidepaths and shared use paths on independent alignments is their intersection context. Side path intersections occur within the functional area of a roadway-roadway intersection (see Section 6.5.2). For shared use paths on independent alignments, shared use path crossings may occur at mid-block roadway locations (see Section 5.6.3) or at roadway-roadway intersections. The geometric and operational design of side path intersections closely follows the best practices for separated bike lanes (see Chapter 6). However, when designing sidepaths, the designer should use this chapter for all other elements of design including path width and other supportive design elements, as separated bike lanes are not designed to accommodate pedestrians.

While it is generally preferable to select path alignments in independent rights-of-way, there are situations where existing roads provide the only corridors available and may be considered where one or more of the following conditions exist:

  • The adjacent roadway has relatively high-volume and high-speed motor vehicle traffic that might discourage many bicyclists from riding on the roadway, potentially increasing sidewalk riding, and there are no practical alternatives for either improving the roadway or accommodating bicyclists on nearby parallel streets.
  • The side path is used for a short distance to provide continuity between sections of path in independent rights-of-way, or to connect local streets that are used as bicycle routes.
  • The side path can be terminated at each end onto streets that accommodate bicyclists, onto another path, or in a location that is otherwise bicycle compatible.

A wide separation should be provided between a sidepath and the adjacent roadway where possible. The minimum recommended distance between a path and the roadway curb or edge of travelled way (where there is no curb) is 5 ft., though this can be reduced to 2 ft. in constrained areas. Where a paved shoulder is present, the separation distance begins at the outside edge of shoulder.

5.3.3 Design Speed

As discussed in Section 3.3, a design speed is used to determine various geometric features of a shared use path. In most situations, shared use paths should be designed for a speed that is comfortable and appropriate for the design user profile in a given context. There is no single design speed recommended for all shared use paths, and design speeds may change along portions of shared use paths as they travel through different contexts. This is especially the case for longer paths that transition between suburban/rural settings and urban settings where contextual conditions and demand expectations are different. Table 5-3 provides recommended shared use path design speeds based on context.

Table 5-3: Shared Use Path Design Speed by Context

Design Speed

Shared Use Path Context


12 mph

Unpaved path surfaces

On unpaved path surfaces, bicyclists tend to travel slower to compensate for reduced braking ability, so a lower design speed (12 mph) may be used.


Paved, high volumes with diverse users

For most shared use paths with higher volumes of users in relatively flat areas, a design speed of 15 mph is generally appropriate due to the mixed-use operation with pedestrians on the facility.


Paved, low volume of users, especially pedestrians

For shared use paths with lower volumes of users, where pedestrian volumes are low (less than 30 percent), where the primary purpose of the shared use path is to provide a higher speed bicycling opportunity between destinations, or on wider paths where bicycles are provided separate spaces from pedestrians, a design speed of 18 – 30 mph may be appropriate.


Paved, rolling terrain

On shared use paths with rolling terrain and sustained steeper grades (greater than 5 percent), the appropriate design speed should be selected based on the anticipated travel speeds of bicyclists going downhill; however, design speed should generally not exceed 30 mph.

While some bicyclists - as well as emerging technologies such as electric assist bicycles and motorized micromobility devices - can travel faster than the noted design speeds, designing to accommodate the fastest possible speed is often not appropriate in many contexts. However, designers should understand that due to the linear nature of shared use paths, some users may travel faster than the desired operational speeds.

The design speed should not change frequently or have extreme variations. Transitions between speed zones should be included and may include signage (see Section 5.7.1) or other strategies for reducing bicyclist speeds (see Section 5.6.2) to inform bicyclists that slower speeds are required and alert them to potential conflicts. Any change in design speed should be identified in the project documents explaining the reason for changing the design speed and specific elements that were considered as part of the decision making process.

5.3.4 Horizontal Alignment

The minimum radius of horizontal curvature for bicyclists can be calculated using two different methods. One method uses “lean angle”, and the other method uses superelevation and coefficient of friction. In general, the lean angle method should be used in design. Table 5-4 shows minimum radii of curvature for a paved path using a 20-degree lean angle. See the AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities for information on calculating the minimum radius based on superelevation and coefficient of friction.

Tapers can also be used to change path horizontal direction. Tapers should generally occur gradually, with a minimum length discussed in Section 3.6.3. When using tapers to change direction, designers should consider adding a radius to the beginning and end of the taper to mimic a bicyclist’s natural path.

In retrofit or constrained conditions where the appropriate horizontal curve radius cannot be achieved due to physical or right-of-way constraints, and especially where the shared use path is a 90-degree or larger corner, designers should consider widening the path at the curve as shown in Figure 5-5 to provide more space to maneuver through the curve.

Table 5-4: Minimum Radii for Horizontal Curve on Paved Shared Use Path at a 20-degree Lean Angle

US Customary

Design Speed (mph)

Minimum Radius (ft)















Figure 5-5: Figure 55: Shared Use Path Horizontal Alignment in Constrained Areas

Figure 5-5

5.3.5 Cross Slope

For the reasons mentioned in Section 3.7.3, a 1.56 percent cross slope is recommended for the design of shared use paths to help ensure the 2 percent maximum accessible cross slope is constructable. A cross slope of 1.56 percent also provides enough slope to convey surface drainage in most situations. A cross-section that provides a center crown with no more than 1.56 percent slope in each direction may also be used, but may be more difficult to construct particularly on narrower shared use paths.

Because this guide recommends a relatively flat cross slope, and because horizontal curvature can be based on a 20-degree lean angle, superelevation for horizontal curvature is not needed. Since superelevation is not needed for horizontal curvature, cross slopes can follow the direction of the existing terrain. This practice enables the designer to better accommodate surface drainage and lessen construction impacts.

In situations where a path is intended for bicycle use only and does not need to meet accessibility guidelines, (e.g., pedestrians are accommodated on a separate sidewalk or path), cross slopes between 2 and 8 percent may be used. If cross slopes steeper than 2 percent are needed, they should be sloped to the inside of horizontal curves regardless of drainage conditions. In these situations, the path should follow design guidance found in Section 6.3.7 Separated Bicycle Lanes. In any situation, ADA paths and paths with lower cross slopes are generally more comfortable for bicyclists of all types.

Cross slopes should be transitioned to connect to existing slopes, or to adjust to a reversal of predominant terrain slope or drainage, or to a horizontal curve in some situations. Cross slope transitions should be gradual and comfortable for the path user. A minimum transition length of 5 ft. for each 1 percent change in cross slope should be used.

5.3.6 Vertical Alignment

The maximum grade of a shared use path contained within the roadway right-of-way shall not exceed the general grade established for the adjacent roadway. Consistent with the U.S. Access Board’s Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) on Shared Use Paths, where the shared use path is not contained within the roadway right-of-way, the grade should be kept to a minimum and the maximum grade of the shared use path should not exceed 5 percent.

If the path is at or approaching 5 percent for a significant length (1000 ft. or more), this sustained grade would be quite noticeable for a bicyclists or wheelchair user and maximum slopes of 3 to 4 percent should be considered. Alternately, or in addition to a lower sustained grade, pull-outs could be provided at strategic locations for users to get out of the travel path to pause or rest.

Where physical constrains (existing terrain or infrastructure, notable natural features, etc.) or regulatory constraints (endangers species, the environment, etc.) prevent full compliance with the 5 percent maximum grades, additional mitigations should be considered. Options to mitigate excessive grades on shared use paths include the following:

  • Use higher design speeds for horizontal and vertical alignments, stopping sight distance, and other geometric features.
  • When steep grades occur over a long distance, consider an additional 4 to 6 ft. of width to permit slower bicyclists to dismount and walk uphill, and to provide more maneuvering space for faster downhill bicyclists.
  • Install the Hill Warning (W7-5) sign for bicyclists and advisory speed plaque in conditions where the steep grade is unexpected and not visible.
  • Exceed minimum shy distances, add recovery areas and/or protective barriers (see Section 3.6.2).
  • If other designs are not practicable, for shared use paths use a series of switchbacks to traverse the grade. If this is done, an extra 4 to 6 ft. of path width should be considered to provide maneuvering space and allow faster climbing bicyclists to pass slower bicyclists. Where switchbacks must make abrupt 180-degree turns, additional space should be provided in these turning areas to allow bicyclists to swing wide to navigate the turns.
  • Provide resting intervals with flatter grades to permit users to stop periodically and rest.
  • Consider the provision of accessible pedestrian handrails located outside of the bicyclist operating space but within accessible reach of the firm stable path surface.

See Section 5.3.8 for vertical crest curve guidance based on sight distances.

5.3.7 Drainage

Minimum pavement longitudinal grades of 0.5 percent and cross slopes of 1 percent usually provides adequate drainage conveyance. Providing a cross slope in one direction instead of crowning is preferred and usually simplifies drainage and path construction. An even surface is essential to prevent water ponding and ice formation. On unpaved paths, particular attention should be paid to drainage to avoid erosion and ponding.

Depending on site conditions, shared use paths with cross slopes in the direction of the existing terrain will typically provide sheet flow of surface runoff and avoid the need for channelizing flow in ditches, cross culverts, and closed pipe systems. Low points on the bikeway should be kept at a minimum or adequate drainage should be provided to keep stormwater from ponding within the operating space of bicyclists.

Where a shared use path is constructed on the side of a slope that has considerable runoff or other conditions that result in relatively high runoff, a ditch should be placed on the uphill side to intercept the slope’s drainage. Ditches adjacent to the shared use path should be designed with bicycle safety in mind, per the guidance in Sections 5.3.1. Where needed, catch basins and manholes should be located outside of the shared use path and shy spaces (see Section 3.6.2).

To prevent erosion in the area adjacent to the shared use path, consideration should be given to preserving a hardy, natural ground cover. Shy distances and shoulder/buffer widths should be maintained adjacent to steep slopes or other potential hazards. In addition, shared use path design should meet applicable stormwater management regulations.

Additional guidance for drainage can be found in Chapter 3 and in the L&D Manual Volume 2.

5.3.8 Stopping Sight Distance

To provide path users with opportunities to see and react to unexpected conditions, shared use paths should be designed with adequate stopping sight distances.

For a crest vertical curve, the height of eye is assumed to be 3.83 ft. for a recumbent bicyclist and the object height is assumed to be 0 inches to recognize that impediments to bicycle travel exists at pavement level. Table 5-5 can be used to select the minimum length of vertical curve needed to provide minimum stopping sight distances at various speeds on crest vertical curves.

See Section 5.3.1 for sight distances related to horizontal clearances, Section 3.5.1 for additional discussion of stopping sight distance, and Section 3.5.2 for intersection sight distance cases.

Table 5-5: Minimum Length of Crest Vertical Curve (ft) Based on Stopping Sight Distance

Stopping Sight Distance













































































































































































































































































































5.3.9 Surface Structure

Shared use paths should be stable, firm and slip resistant and be accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. All-weather concrete and asphalt pavement surfaces are preferred over surfaces of crushed aggregate, sand, clay, or stabilized earth. On shared use paths, loads should be substantially less than on roadways. However, to prevent pavement damage, which can contribute to bicycle crashes, shared use paths should be designed to sustain wheel loads of occasional emergency, patrol, maintenance, and other motor vehicles that are permitted to use or cross the path.

It is important to maintain a smooth riding surface on shared use paths. Vertical alignment shall be generally planar within the shared use path including curb ramp runs, turning spaces, and gutter areas. See Chapter 4 for additional information on accessibility requirements for facilities with pedestrian activity and Chapter 12 for maintenance considerations.

5.4 Bridges and Underpasses for Paths

The clear width of a shared use path on a bridge or in an underpass should account for the necessary operating space and shy spaces. The paved width of the path (barrier-to-barrier or wall- to-wall width) should allow 2 ft. of shy space on each side of the shared use path. Under constrained conditions the shy space may be reduced to 1 ft. (see Section 3.6.2).

Railings, barriers, and fencing are common components of bridges and bridge approaches. On bridges, these elements can serve a variety of purposes, as crashworthy barriers for vehicles, as pedestrian railings, as “anti-throw” screens, to provide a vertical element adjacent to a drop-off, and as an aesthetic component of the bridge. Protective railings, fences, or barriers on either side of a shared use path on a stand-alone structure should be a minimum of 42 inches high. There are some locations where a 48 inches high railing should be considered in order to prevent bicyclists from falling over the railing during a crash. This includes bridges or bridge approaches where high- speed, steep angle impacts between a bicyclist and a railing may occur, such as at a curve at the foot of a long descending grade where the curve radius is less than appropriate for the design speed or anticipated speed. If a fence is provided, higher railings may not be needed.

Openings between horizontal or vertical members on railings should be small enough that a 6 inch sphere cannot pass through them in the lower 27 inches. For the portion of railing that is higher than 27 inches, openings may be spaced such that an 8 inch sphere cannot pass through them. This is done to prevent children from falling through the openings. Where a bicyclist’s handlebar may come into contact with a railing or other barrier, a smooth wide rubrail may be installed at a height of 36 inches to 44 inches to reduce the likelihood that bicyclist’s handlebar will be caught by the railing (see Figure 5-6). The design of railings and rubrail should be coordinated with the bridge engineer and architect (if relevant) to address the functional design, pedestrian accessibility, and desired aesthetics.

The structural design of shared use path bridges should be designed in accordance with the ODOT Bridge Design Manual and the AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications for Design of Pedestrian Bridges.

Figure 5-6: Example Bridge Railing with Bicycle Rubrail

Figure 5-6

5.5 Path Amenities

Shared use path entrances serve as gateways and typically offer a variety of amenities to accommodate shared use path users transitioning from the road to the path system. The following are amenities that may be considered as reasonable parts of a bikeway project:

  • Informational kiosks, signs and bulletin boards – These can include helpful information such as the name of the shared use path, operating hours, “you are here” maps, contact information to report problems, emergency response information such as contact information, and shared use path rules and regulations. These should meet accessibility requirements for position, height and legibility of signs.
  • Bicycle parking – Bicycle parking is less important at entrances of paved shared use paths in urban areas because most people accessing the shared use path are using their bicycles. Bicycle parking is more important at rest areas with bathrooms and at locations that connect to parks, playgrounds, retail areas, restaurants and other similar locations where shared use path users are likely to need to leave their bicycles for a period of time. Bicycle racks are also important at spur hiking trails that may be accessed by people arriving by bicycle. See Chapter 6 for further details regarding bicycle parking.
  • Vehicular parking – Most shared use path entrances do not provide off-street parking for motor vehicles, particularly where parking is located nearby, or where many users live near the shared use path and are likely to either walk or bike to the entrance. For major regional shared use paths that attract people travelling longer distances, off-street parking can be beneficial. The number of parking spaces should ideally be based on demand and include appropriate accessible spaces. However, vehicular parking is often constrained by the amount of property available. One method of determining parking demand is described in the Institute of Transportation Engineers publication, Parking Generation.
  • Benches – Shared use path entrances often act as meeting places and benches allow visitors to rest while waiting for other path users. Path users may also wish to rest after a walk or bicycle ride. Benches should be accessible and should generally be placed to maximize the view of people passing by, or near a significant natural feature. It is generally not preferable to place a bench so that a person sitting on it has their back to the shared use path.
  • Trash receptacles – For shared use paths that are regularly maintained by an agency or organization that picks up trash and handles graffiti and vandalism, trash receptacles can be provided at shared use path entrances and at regular intervals along the path.
  • Water fountains and picnic tables – Water fountains are a welcome amenity for some users, and can also be designed to provide water for pets. Picnic tables are another welcome amenity for some users. In both cases, they should be accessible and should be placed away from the flow of shared use path traffic.
  • Lighting – Lighting should be provided at conflict points such as intersection or mid-block crossings, transit stops, and other areas based on land use context and expected user volumes. Lighting may also be needed along the lengths of shared use paths to improve safety and security for paths that are open during evening hours.

Waysides are locations adjacent to a shared use path that provide a place for path users to rest, meet other path users, enjoy a view, or to orient themselves. They serve both practical and aesthetic purposes and can greatly enhance the user experience. Waysides come in many shapes and sizes from a bench along a shared use path, to pocket parks with restrooms, maps, and other amenities described above. Consider including cane-detectable signage that includes braille information to alert people with vision disabilities to the presence of the wayside. Include a description of the wayside amenities to assist the person in navigating and understanding the layout of the wayside.

5.6 Shared Use Path Intersection Design

Where shared use paths intersect roadways, the crossing design should minimize path users’ exposure to traffic and minimize the speed differential at the points where travel movements intersect. Another goal is to provide clear messages regarding right of way to all users moving through an intersection in conjunction with design features that result in higher compliance where users are expected to yield.

Shared use path intersection can be at a mid-block location or a side path at an existing intersection of two roadways. The latter scenario follows design principles for separated bike lanes and are discussed in Chapter 6.

Any shared use path intersection design should consider the variable speed between the vehicles and path users, the available intersection sight distance and the traffic volumes. There are three primary design objectives:

  • Alert the motorists and path users to the crossing,
  • Communicate who has the obligation to yield to whom,
  • Enable the motorists and/ or path users to fulfill their obligations.

Designers should have a firm understanding of mutual yielding behavior as discussed in Section 3.4 to achieve the above intersection design objectives. Additionally, attention should be given to ensuring that people with limited or no vision are given sufficient cues at intersections to prevent them from unintentionally moving into the street or a bike-only facility.

Illumination of the path/roadway intersection should be provided, especially on unlit paths. Curb ramps with detectable warnings must be provided at intersections, and the width of the curb ramp and detectable warnings should extend the full width of the shared use path.

5.6.1 Restricting Motor Vehicles

Unauthorized use of shared use paths by motor vehicles occurs occasionally. In general, this is a greater issue on shared use paths that extend through independent rights-of-way that are not visible from adjacent roads and properties.

The routine use of bollards and other similar barriers (e.g., z-gates, fences) placed within the shared use path to restrict motor vehicle traffic is not recommended:

  • Barriers such as bollards, fences, or other similar devices create permanent obstacles to path users, and bollards on shared use paths may be struck by bicyclists and other path users and can cause serious injury.
  • Approaching bicyclists may shield even a conspicuous bollard from a following bicyclist’s view until a point where the trailing bicyclist does not have sufficient time to react.
  • Physical barriers are often ineffective at the job they were intended for — keeping out motorized traffic. People who are determined to enter the shared use path illegally will often find a way around the physical barrier, damaging shared use path structures and adjacent vegetation.
  • Barrier features can also slow access for emergency responders.

Figure 5-7: Bollard Approach Markings

Figure 5-7

Bollards should not be used unless there is a documented history of regularly unauthorized intrusion by motor vehicles, and other options have been unsuccessful in addressing the issue. A three-step approach may be used to prevent unauthorized motor vehicle entry to shared use paths:

  1. Post signs identifying the entry as a shared use path and regulatory signs prohibiting motor vehicle entry. For example, the NO MOTOR VEHICLES (R5-3) sign may be placed at locations where roads and shared use paths cross, and at other path entry locations. Per the OMUTCD, this sign can be used to reinforce the rules of the roadway.
  2. Design the shared use path point of entry such that its appearance clearly indicates it is not a vehicle access, and its physical design makes intentional access by unauthorized users difficult without presenting hazards to intended shared use path users. Figure 5-8 shows the preferred method of restricting entry of motor vehicles using a conspicuous center island that splits the entry way into two sections separated by concrete or low landscaping and features the following design elements:
    • The path approach to the split should be delineated with solid line pavement markings to guide the path user around the split.
    • Each section should be half the nominal shared use path width; for example, a 10 ft. shared use path should be split into two 5 ft. sections.

Figure 5-8: Path Curb Ramp and Apron

Figure 5-8 (1)

Figure 5-8 (2)

  • Each half should be no more than 6 ft. wide to emphasize the nonmotorized use and discourage entry by motorized vehicles.
  • Curbing used around the perimeter of the island should be beveled or mountable to reduce the risk of pedal strikes by bicyclists. A painted median island or a landscaped area flush to the path are alternative options to split the path access, but do not have the same effectiveness of restricting motor vehicles.
  • The center island and selected vegetation should be designed to allow emergency and maintenance vehicles to enter the shared use path, if needed, by straddling the island and passing over the landscaping. Alternatively, it may be more appropriate to designate emergency and maintenance vehicle access via separate access drives adjacent to path access points, which can be secured by gates or fencing.

Assess whether signing and shared use path entry designs prevent or reduce unauthorized traffic. If motor vehicle incursion is isolated to a specific location, consider targeted surveillance and enforcement. Consider the reasons why the motor vehicle incursion is happening at that location and determine whether other changes to the path farther from the point of entry might discourage further motor vehicle intrusion. If unauthorized use persists, assess whether the problems posed by unauthorized vehicle entry exceed the risks and access issues posed by barriers. Where the need for bollards or other vertical barriers in the shared use path can be justified despite their risks and access issues, Table 5-6 summarizes design features that should be considered to make them as compatible with the needs of bicyclists and other path users as possible.

Table 5-6: Bollard Design Features and Considerations


Features and Considerations

Bollard Use

  • Only installed in locations where vehicles cannot easily bypass the bollard.
  • Flexible delineators should be considered before installing rigid bollards to see if that resolves the issue; flexible bollards or spring-mounted delineators may reduce unauthorized vehicle access without causing the injuries discussed above.


  • Should be marked with retroreflective material on both sides.
  • Should be a minimum height of 40 inches and minimum diameter of 4 inches. Taller bollards may be used to reinforce visibility, but they may present potential hazards for handlebar strikes. Additional shy distance should be provided between taller bollards, which must be balanced with widths that prohibit motor vehicle intrusion.


  • Striping an envelope around the approach to the bollard is recommended to guide shared use path users around the object (see Figure 5-7). The taper should be based on the design speed and follow guidance for markings in Section 3.6.3 to ensure they are visible to approaching shared use path users.


  • Hardware installed in the ground to hold a bollard or post should be flush with the surface to avoid creating an additional obstacle.
  • Removeable bollards should be fully removeable and not of the hinged “lay down” type. There should be a permanently affixed cap that covers the open hole when the bollard is removed. All portions of the cover and receiver should be flush with the path surface when the bollard is removed, and the cap should be treated with a non-slip surfacing.


  • Should permit passage for adult tricycles, bicycles towing trailers, and tandem bicycles that does not require the user to dismount or and cannot restrict access for people with disabilities. All users legally permitted to use the facility must be accommodated; failure to do so increases the likelihood that shared use path users will collide with the bollards. At a minimum, 4 ft. of clearance between bollards must be maintained, in compliance with pedestrian accessibility guidance.
  • Should be located to ensure adequate sight distance is provided to allow approaching users to adjust their speed to avoid hitting them.
  • Should not be located coincident with other decision points for bicyclists, as the combined recognition and decision processes for simultaneously avoiding the bollards and making additional yield or stop decisions may contribute to crashes. For example, bollards should not be placed immediately adjacent to sidewalk or street intersections, or at junctions with other paths. It is generally recommended they be located a minimum of 30 ft. ahead of the point where a bicyclist must make a yield, merge, or stop decision (see Figure 5-7).
  • Placing one bollard aligned with the centerline of the shared use path is preferred to avoid having a central gap that is not clearly identified for one direction of travel versus the other. When more than one bollard is used, use an odd number of bollards so that one bollard is always in the center (or on the centerline) of the shared use path.

5.6.2 Path Approaches to Intersections

Reducing Speeds

To reduce shared use path users’ approach speeds, chicanes (i.e., horizontal curvature) can be incorporated at approaches to intersections where users must stop or yield, or where sight distance is limited. End chicanes at least 30 ft. from bollards or intersecting sidewalks or roadways to allow the user to dedicate their attention to navigating the curves in the shared use path first, followed by the approaching intersection (rather than both at the same time). A solid center line stripe is recommended at chicanes to reduce the instances of bicyclists “cutting the corners” of the curves. Chicanes should not be designed with radii less than 15 ft. and should not accommodate a straight ‘fastest path’ if a bicyclist used the entirety of the path to navigate the turns.

However, in many instances there will not be sufficient right-of-way to provide a chicane approaching an intersection. These locations will rely entirely on pavement markings (Section 5.7.2), signing (Section 5.7.1), and appropriate sight lines (see Section 3.5) to communicate the presence of the path intersection.

The use of z-gates, bollards, or other physical obstructions within the shared use path to slow bicyclists or to force bicyclists to dismount is not appropriate approaching intersections (see Section 5.6.1).

Curb Ramps and Aprons

The opening of a shared use path at a roadway intersection should be at least the same width as the shared use path itself. If a splitter island is used, the combined shared use path widths on either side of the island should equal or exceed the width of the shared use path itself (see Figure 5-8 for a graphic representation and for details see Standard Construction Drawing BP-7.1). The splitter island may be paint-only or curbed, though paint-only treatments may be less visible leading to motorist access (see Section 5.6.1).

A curb ramp or blended transition should be the full width of the shared use path, not including any side flares of the curb ramp, if used. The approach should provide a smooth and accessible transition between the shared use path and the roadway. The ramp should be designed to be accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. Detectable warning surfaces should be placed across the full width of the ramp at the edge of the roadway, even when there are separate bicycle and pedestrian ways within the shared use path.

Unpaved shared use paths or trails that intersect with paved shared use paths should be provided with paved aprons extending a minimum of 20 ft. from the path edge.


For locations where queuing at an intersection results in crowding at the roadway edge, consideration can be given to widening the shared use path approach. This can increase the crossing capacity and help reduce conflicts at shared use path entrances. Crosswalks should be widened to match the width of the shared use path.

5.6.3 Design of Mid-Block Crossings

Figure 5-9 through Figure 5-13 illustrate various examples of mid-block control treatments. These figures show typical pavement marking and sign crossing treatments. The diagrams are illustrative and are not intended to show all signs and markings that may be necessary or advisable, or all types of design treatments that are possible at these locations. Each figure assumes the appropriate minimum sight distances are provided for the roadway and the shared use path. See Sections 4.4.3, 4.4.4, and 6.4.1 for additional intersection countermeasures considerations including treatments to address motorist yielding.

It is preferable for mid-block crossings to intersect the roadway at a 90° angle to minimize the crossing distance and to maximize the intersection sight distance. Sight triangles and intersection sight distance are discussed in more detail in Sections 3.5.

Figure 5-9: Shared Use Path Stops or Yields

Figure 5-9

Figure 5-10: Shared Use Path Stops or Yields near Railroad Crossing

Figure 5-10

Figure 5-11: Road Stops

Figure 5-11

Figure 5-12: Multi-lane Road Uncontrolled with Advance Yield Line

Figure 5-12

Figure 5-13: Multi-lane Road with Signals

Figure 5-13

5.7 Signing and Marking

5.7.1 Signs and Traffic Control

Primary guidance for traffic control signs can be found in chapters 2B and 9B of the OMUTCD; the information presented in this section is supplemental to that guidance and is specific to shared use paths.

For advance warning sign placements on shared use paths, the sign should be placed to allow adequate perception-response time. A minimum of 2.5 seconds of perception reaction time is recommended for all path users. The location of the sign should be based on the stopping sight distance needed by the fastest expected path user; however, the sign should not be located closer than 50 ft. from the location warranting the advance warning.

Shared Use Path Crossing Assembly

Roadway users may be warned of a shared use path crossing by using a Combined Bicycle/ Pedestrian Warning (W11-15) sign. On a roadway approach to a shared use path crossing, placement of an intersection or advance traffic control warning sign should be at the distance recommended for the approach speed in Table 2C-4 of the OMUTCD.

The assembly consists of a W11-15 accompanied by a Downward Arrow (W16-7P) plaque mounted below the warning sign.  The Advance Shared Use Path Name (W16-8P) plaque may be mounted on the sign assembly (below the W11-15 sign) to notify approaching roadway users of the name of the shared use path being crossed.

At shared use path crossings that experience frequent conflicts between motorists and path users, or on multi-lane roadways where a sign on the right-hand side of the roadway may not be visible to all travel lanes, an additional shared use path crossing warning sign assembly should be installed on the left-hand side of the road, or on the crossing island, if present.

The W11-15 may be placed on the roadway in advance of a shared use path crossing. Again, this warning sign should not be used in advance of locations where the roadway is stop-, yield-, or signal-controlled. Advance warning sign assemblies may be supplemented with an AHEAD (W16- 9P) plaque located below the TRAIL X-ING W11-15P plaque.

Traffic Control Regulatory Signs

YIELD and STOP signs are used to assign priority at controlled but unsignalized shared use path– roadway intersections. The choice of traffic control (if any) should be made with reference to the priority assignment guidance provided in Section 6.4, but YIELD signs are preferred over STOP signs where sight distances accommodate yield operation. The design and use of the signs are described in sections 2B and 9B of the OMUTCD.

When these signs are co-located with others on or near the same post, placement should not obstruct the shape of the STOP or YIELD signs.

Intersection and Advance Traffic Control Warning Signs

Advance traffic control warning signs announce the presence of a traffic control of the indicated type (YIELD, STOP, or signal) where the control itself is not visible for a sufficient distance on an approach for users to respond to the device. An intersection warning sign may be used in advance of an intersection to indicate the presence of the intersection and the possibility of turning or entering traffic.

On a shared use path approach to a roadway intersection, placement of an advance warning sign should be at a distance at least as great as the stopping sight distance of the fastest expected path user in advance of the location to which the sign applies. The advance placement distance should not be less than 50 ft.

An intersection or advance traffic control warning sign may carry a Advanced Street/Shared Use Path Name (W16-8P) plaque to identify the intersecting road or path, as appropriate for the approach.

Guide Signs

The purpose of guide and wayfinding signs on shared use paths is to inform users of intersecting routes, direct them to important destinations, and generally to give information that will help them proceed along their way in a simple and direct manner. Road Name (D3-1) and Shared Use Path Name (W16-8P) plaque should be placed at all shared use path–roadway crossings and considered at other path access points. This helps path users track their locations and can enhance personal security of users. They should also be used at junctions where one major shared use path crosses another. At mid- block crossings, the D3-1 sign may be installed on the same post with a regulatory sign.

Guide signs to indicate directions, destinations, distances, route numbers, and names of crossing streets should be used in the same manner as described in section 2D.50 of the OMUTCD.

Warning Signs

The MUTCD provides guidance for the application of warning signs on shared use paths. In general, the use of warning signs should be limited to locations where sight distance to the condition is limited or the condition is otherwise unexpected. Where pavement markings are not included around fixed objects or other physical features which could represent a crash hazard, the application of reflective materials on the object (e.g., bollard) or Type 3 Object Marker plaques in front of the obstruction should be considered where night time operation is allowed on the path.

5.7.2 Pavement Markings

Pavement markings can provide important guidance and information for path and roadway users. Pavement markings should be retroreflective.

Center Lines

A yellow center line stripe may be used to separate opposite directions of travel where passing is inadvisable. The use of a center line stripe can be applied to the entire length of a facility, or only at specific locations. On shared use paths, the use of a center line stripe may be particularly beneficial in the following circumstances:

  • For shared use paths with high user volumes (continuous stripe)
  • On curves with restricted sight distance, or design speeds less than 14 mph (localized stripe)
  • On unlit shared use paths where night-time riding is permitted (continuous stripe)
  • Approaching intersections (localized stripe)
  • Approaching obstructions within the center of the shared use path, such as bollards (localized stripe)

The use of the center line stripe may not be desired in parks or natural settings. However, on shared use paths where a center line is not provided along the entire length of the path, appropriate locations for a solid center line stripe should still be considered where described above.

A solid yellow center line stripe may be used on the approach to intersections to discourage passing on the approach and departure of an intersection. If used, the center line should be striped solid the length of the stopping sight distance from the edge of the sidewalk (or roadway, if no sidewalk is present). A consistent approach to intersection striping can help to increase awareness of intersections.

Stop and Yield Lines

Use and design of stop and yield lines is described in sections 3B and 9C of the OMUTCD. For shared use paths, stop or yield lines should be placed across the half-width of the path corresponding to the stop or yield-controlled approach. If used, the stop or yield line should be placed a minimum of 2 ft. behind the nearest sidewalk or edge of roadway if a sidewalk is not present.

Obstruction Markings

Obstructions should not be located within the clear width of a shared use path because they present a crash hazard to bicyclists and other shared use path users. Where an obstruction on the traveled portion cannot be avoided (for example, in situations where bollards are used, see Section 5.6.1, or where a shared use path splits abuts a natural feature), channelizing lines of appropriate color (yellow for center line, otherwise white) should be used to guide bicyclists around it with sufficient advance warning of the presence of the obstruction by signs if the obstruction is not otherwise visible.

For obstructions located on the edge of the shared use path, an obstruction marking should be used as shown in Figure 5-14. The edge line or center line obstruction markings may be supplemented with buffer markings or colored pavement to further emphasize the hazard. At locations where a center line is present, the center line should shift as well to maintain relatively equal lane widths on either side of the path center line.

The markings should be located per the guidance for shy distance from obstructions in Section 3.6.2.

Figure 5-14: Obstruction Marking at Edge of Shared Use Path

Figure 5-14

Edge Lines

White edge line markings should be considered for use on shared use paths under the following situations:

  • Where night-time use is permitted or routinely occurs
  • Approaches to intersections to alert path users of changing conditions
  • To separate pedestrians from bicyclists where the shared use path design includes a separate area for pedestrian travel
  • When the shared use path width is changing significantly over a relatively short distance
  • Approaches to marked constraints on the outside edge of the shared use path, such as entrances to tunnels or when passing bridge abutments
  • To establish a shy distance from an obstruction that may otherwise not be noticeable, such as a short stretch of curbing or the foot of an adjacent retaining wall

Refer to Section 3.3.2 for more information on separation of shared use path traffic.

Marked Crosswalks

Marked crosswalks are recommended for all crossings of shared use paths at roadways; they are required at mid-block locations to create a legal crossing. At congested crossings, the shared use path can be widened on the approach (see Section 5.3.1) to provide a separate bicycle crossing (see Section 6.5.1) and pedestrian crosswalks to reduce conflicts and allow faster moving bicyclists to bypass pedestrians increasing the person crossing-capacity of the crossing.

Advance Word or Symbol Markings

Advance pavement markings may be used on shared use path approaches at crossings where the crossing is unexpected or where there is a history of crashes, conflicts, or complaints. If a supplemental word marking (such as HWY XING) is used, its leading edge should be located at or near the point where the approaching user passes the intersection warning sign or advance traffic control warning sign that the marking supplements. Additional markings may be placed closer to the crossing if needed but should be at least 50 ft. from the crossing. Advance pavement markings may be placed across the entire width of the path or within the approach lane. Pavement markings should not replace the appropriate signs. Pavement markings may be words or symbols as described in Part 3 of the OMUTCD.

Narrow Path Conditions

At locations where paths with higher volumes of users must narrow below the recommended widths described in Section 5.3.1 consideration should be given to warning of the narrowed path condition. Fixed objects or natural features adjacent to the path that present potential hazards to path users should be properly marked following the Obstruction Markings guidance. Advance warning signs should be considered where sight distance is restricted to the object or feature including the use of the PATH NARROWS (W5-4a) sign. Appropriate channelization tapers should also be included to effect any changes in shared use path width ahead of the location. When narrower shared use path widths occur at discrete locations, consider including a marked center line to help organize opposing directions of travel.

Chapter 5 Endnotes

  1. FHWA Shared-Use Path Level Of Service Calculator – A User’s Guide

6 - On-Road Bicycle Facilities

Published: January 20, 2023

6.1 General

This chapter provides design guidance for accommodating bicyclists on roadways. Bicyclists have similar access and mobility needs as other users of the transportation system and may use the street system as their primary means of access to jobs, services, and recreational activities. The guidance provided in this chapter is based on established practice supported by relevant research where available. The described designs reflect typical situations; however, local conditions may vary, and engineering judgment should be applied.

6.2 Bicycle Routes

As discussed in Section 2.5.2, people bicycling are best accommodated when a connected and intuitive network of bicycle facilities is provided. Signed bicycle routes can help to identify streets and paths designated for bicycling and can provide bicyclists with wayfinding cues.

The network of bicycle routes consists of local and regional routes established by cities and local agencies, State Bike Routes established by ODOT, and U.S. Bike Routes established by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Bicycle routes are typically established based on well-defined origins and destinations, which could include schools and other community resources, residential neighborhoods, business districts and employment centers, or connections to other bicycle routes.

Bicycle routes may be designed for different design user profiles. When planning and designing for Interested but Concerned Bicyclists, existing signed bicycle routes should be assessed to understand if they meet the needs of this design user.

Signing and Markings

The bicycle network should include route identification and wayfinding signs to help bicyclists navigate each bike route. In additional to the bicycle facility pavement markings and signing discussed in Chapter 5 and Section 6.3, bicycle route signage should be used to help provide a visual identity to the bike network and differentiate those streets and paths from others that are not part of the defined bicycle network.

  • Bicycle Route Guide signs (D11-1) and corresponding destination plaques (D1-1 through D1-3) serve as wayfinding signs that can help bicyclists identify and follow designated bicycle routes more easily and can provide directions to other bicycle routes or key community destinations. Bicycle Route Guide signs should be installed at appropriate intervals along the network, at locations where changes in route direction occur, and where bike routes intersect.
  • Local and State Bicycle Route Signs (M1-8 and M1-8a) may be used to establish a unique identification for a specific local or State bicycle route. An M1-8a sign with “OH” at the top of the sign may only be used on routes designated as State Bicycle Routes.
  • U.S. Bike Route Signs (M1-9 and M1-9 (Alternate)) are reserved for use on designated U.S. bike routes. These types of bicycle route signs should be supplemented by other bicycle guide signs and wayfinding signs where appropriate to inform bicyclists of changes in direction or key destinations along the route. Where two or more bike routes overlap, the routes should be signed with two or more separate signs instead of multiple routes on the same sign.

On ODOT-maintained roadways, sign locations should be approved by District Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinators. Refer to ODOT’s State and U.S. Bike Route System Overview and Implementation Guide for additional information including maintenance responsibilities.

6.3 On-Road Bicycle Facilities

The following section provides design guidance for various bikeways. Although this section refers to these as bikeways, designers should understand that these facilities are also used by people on scooters, skateboards, and other micromobility devices, all of which should be considered in the planning and design process. For general design considerations including lighting, drainage, and utilities in relation to bikeways, see Chapter 3. Bicycle travel should be safely accommodated at bridges, viaducts, tunnels (Sections 4.7 and 5.4); traffic signals (Chapter 8); interchanges and roundabouts (Chapter 9); transit stops (Chapter 10); and railroad crossings (Chapter 11).

Figure 6-1: On-Road Bikeway Types

Figure 6-1

6.3.1 Shared Lanes

Shared lanes are the most common bicycle accommodations since bicycles may operate on all roadways except where prohibited by ORC Section 4511.051. Shared lanes may be identified with signage and markings or be left unmarked. Sometimes marked shared lanes are provided as an interim strategy to enhance awareness of bicyclists’ presence on the road where physical separation is desired but not currently feasible. Shared lanes are not recommended for roadways with speeds over 35mph (OMUTCD 9C.07.02).

The designs and dimensions for shared lanes differ by location, but attention to the following design features can make shared lanes more comfortable for bicyclists.

  • Along the roadway, provide good pavement quality, adequate sight distances, roadway design that encourages slower motor vehicle operating speeds and lower traffic volumes, bicycle- compatible drainage grates and bridge expansion joints, and safe railroad crossings.
  • At signalized intersections, provide appropriate signal timing and detection systems that respond to the presence of bicycles. See Chapter 8.
  • At uncontrolled crossings, provide treatments that ensure bicyclists have opportunities to safely cross the intersecting roadway. If such features or conditions are not present, improvements should be implemented. See Low-stress Intersection Crossings in Section 6.5.6 for design guidance for more information.

Where bicyclists are operating in shared lanes, travel lane widths should generally be the minimum widths appropriate for the context of the roadway. In the past, it was common practice to provide wider outside lanes (14 ft. or greater) under the assumptions that motorists in such a lane could pass a person riding a bicycle without encroaching into the adjacent lane and that this practice would improve operating conditions and safety for both bicyclists and motorists. However, this is inconsistent with Ohio passing laws, and experience and research finds that this configuration does not adequately provide safe passing distance and that motorists generally do not recognize that this additional space is intended for bicyclists. Wider travel lanes are also associated with increases in motor vehicle speeds, which reduce comfort and safety for bicyclists. Wide lanes are therefore not recommended as a strategy to accommodate bicycling. Where wide lanes exist, roadways should at a minimum be restriped to reduce wide lanes to minimum lane widths. Additional space may be reallocated to other purposes such as bike lanes, wider sidewalks, etc.

The use of constrained width bike lanes (see Section 6.3.4) is preferable to a wide outside lane. However, the use of minimum constrained width bike lanes should be limited to constrained roadways where preferred minimum bike lane widths cannot be achieved after all other travel lanes have been narrowed to minimum widths appropriate for the context of the roadway. For bicycle lanes adjacent to on-street parking, designers must follow the guidance in Section 6.3.4.

Shared Lane Signs

On urban roadways with posted speed limits of 35 mph and below, the roadway lane may be marked as a shared lane with signage and shared lane bicycle markings. Signage options include:

  • “BICYCLES MAY USE FULL LANE” sign (R4-11) may be used in situations where motorists must either change lanes in order to pass a bicycle at a safe distance when overtaking or operate at reduced speed behind bicyclists until an opportunity for safe passing is presented. Lanes less than 14.5 ft. are too narrow for a motorist to pass a bicyclist at a safe distance. Most general purpose lanes are 12 ft. wide or less, and wider lanes are discouraged due to safety. Given this, on most roadways the lane widths are insufficient to allow for a bicyclist and an overtaking vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
  • ORC Section 4511.27 states, in part, “When a motor vehicle.    passes a bicycle, three ft. or greater is considered a safe passing distance.” The PASS [BICYCLE] MIN 3 FT sign (R3-H16) should be used at locations where a problem or crash history between motor vehicles and bicyclists exists. It may also be used at other locations based on engineering judgment.
  • BICYCLE warning sign (W11-1) may be supplemented with an “IN ROAD,” or “ON BRIDGE,” plaque. The use of this sign assembly may be desirable in unique situations where bicyclists may appear to motorists to be unexpectedly operating within the travel lane.

The BICYCLE warning sign (W11-1) supplemented with a “SHARE THE ROAD” plaque (W16-1P) should not be used to communicate a shared lane condition. While it was previously common practice to use this combination of signs to communicate a shared lane condition, research has shown that the “SHARE THE ROAD” message is unclear to both motorists and bicyclists.1

Shared Lane Markings

Shared lane markings are intended to let bicyclists know where to position themselves in the lane and to communicate to motorists that bicyclists are likely to occupy the travel lane. When using shared lane markings, there are three considerations: lateral placement, longitudinal placement, and intersection approaches/navigation.

  1. Lateral placement: Shared lane markings should be marked on an alignment that represents a practical path of bicycle travel under typical conditions. For most streets, such as where on-street parking is present or where lane widths are less than 14.5 ft., this lateral placement should be the center of a shared travel lane. The lateral placement of a shared lane marking is measured from the center of the chevron marking to the face of the curb, gutter seam, edge of the pavement, or edge of on-street parking (see Figure 6-2).

Where shared lane markings are not placed in the center of the lane, they should be placed a minimum of 4 ft. from the face of curb, gutter seam, or edge of the travel way. This minimum distance should be increased at locations where:

  • Existing drainage inlets or gutters create potential safety issues;
  • There is an inconsistent or rough roadway edge or gutter; or
  • Guardrails, rock outcroppings, walls, or other physical objects are located immediately adjacent to the travel lane.

On a street with shared lanes designated as a bicycle route, if the bicycle route makes a left turn it may be appropriate to place shared lane markings within both the right and left lanes of the street.

Figure 6-2: Shared-Lane Markings Lateral Placement

Figure 6-2

  1. Longitudinal spacing: Shared lane markings should be placed no more than 50 ft. downstream from an intersection and spaced at intervals no greater than 250 ft. thereafter (see Figure 6-3). If possible, the first marking after an intersection or driveway should be placed outside of the wheel path of turning vehicles to reduce wear.

Unlike bike lanes, which provide a continuous visual presence, shared lane markings are intermittent. To compensate for this, it may be desirable to place shared lane markings at closer intervals than 250 ft. to increase motorist awareness of bicyclists and to provide additional guidance for bicyclists. This closer spacing may be desirable in the following situations:

  • On streets with higher volumes of bicyclists where the shared lane condition fills a gap between bikeways;
  • To guide bicyclists through intersections, weaving areas, or turn lanes where there is higher potential for conflicts with motorists;
  • At locations with a history of conflicts or crashes between bicyclists and motorists;
  • In locations with limited sight distance including approaches to horizontal and vertical curves; or
  • In shared lane conditions within tunnels and across bridges.
  1. Intersection navigation: Shared lane markings can also be used to provide guidance to a bicyclist to change lanes on approaches to intersections or to help them traverse an intersection. The markings should be located in a line of travel that allows the bicyclist time to merge while minimizing conflicts and unsafe motorists passing maneuvers. In these locations, the markings may be placed as close as necessary, less than the 50 ft. described above, to clearly identify the preferred travel path and maneuver. Example applications include:
  • Turns through intersections;
  • Navigation of lane shifts through intersections (see Figure 6-3);
  • Approaches to intersections where bicyclists must merge across one or more travel lanes; and
  • Approaches and crossings of railroad tracks (Chapter 11).

While the OMUTCD does not require marking parking lane lines, it may be desirable to mark the edge of on-street parking when bicyclists are expected. The parking lane line can provide a continuous point of reference to help bicyclists maintain their line of travel between shared lane markings. This can be further encouraged by adding optional door zone buffer markings (see Markings in Section 6.3.4) or the parking lane line. The placement of a shared lane marking in the travel lane in these cases may cause confusion for bicyclists and motorists. In situations with low parking demand, it is generally preferable to provide bike lanes and consolidate parking to one side of the street or remove parking altogether.

Figure 6-3: Longitudinal Placement and Intersection Navigation Examples of Shared Lane Markings along a Roadway

Figure 6-3

6.3.2 Bicycle Boulevard

Bicycle boulevards, also commonly referred to as neighborhood bikeways or greenways, are low- volume and low-speed streets that enhance bicyclist safety and comfort through design treatments such as speed and/or volume reduction features, pavement markings, signage, and street crossing treatments. These treatments generally support through bicycle movements while discouraging non-local motorists from using them for through trips. Although bicycle boulevards operate as shared lanes, the following guiding principles define bicycle boulevards and set them apart from other local streets or shared lane roadways.

  1. Managed motorized traffic volumes and speeds.
  2. Prioritize bicyclist right of way at local street crossings.
  3. Provide safe and convenient crossings at major streets.

Bicycle boulevards are intended to function as part of a low-stress bicycle network. The following summarizes the typical characteristics of a Bicycle Boulevard:

  • Volumes and speeds: Motorist speeds and volumes should not exceed the criteria in Table 6-1. Traffic calming and diversion strategies should strive to achieve the preferred values in the table.
  • Connections to local destinations: Routes should be parallel with and near major thoroughfares connected to major destinations (1/4 mile or less).
  • Route directness: There is no excessive zigzag or circuitous routing.
  • Topography: Longer, more gentle slopes are preferable to shorter, steep segments. Topography should be balanced with route directness.
  • Feasibility of major street crossings: Major street crossings on routes should be designed to provide low-stress crossings as defined in Section 6.5.6.

Table 6-1: Bicycle Boulevard Motorized Traffic Volume and Speed Performance Criteria

Minimize Motorized Through Traffic Volumes and Speed


Peak Hourly Traffic Volume* (vehicles/hr)

Average Daily Traffic Volume (ADT)

Operating Speed (mph)













*Assumed to be 15% of ADT

Signing and Markings

A bicycle boulevard should provide route identification and wayfinding or bicycle guide signs to navigate a route. A combination of pavement markings and signage should be used to help give a visual identity to the corridor and differentiate the slow, multimodal street from other nearby streets.

  • Bicycle Guide Signs (D11-1 and corresponding plaques) can help bicyclists identify and follow designated bicycle boulevard routes more easily.
  • Follow the guidance in Section 6.3.1 for shared lane markings along a bicycle boulevard.
  • The “BICYCLES MAY USE FULL LANE” sign (R4-11) may be used in situations where motorists must wait behind slower moving bicyclist or change lanes to pass a bicyclist at a safe distance.
  • Warning signs, such as the W11-1 and W11-15 signs, should be used at major street crossings in conjunction with other major street crossing treatments discussed later in this section.
  • Where stop signs are used at local street crossings, stop lines should be provided.
  • Crosswalk markings should be used at all bicycle boulevard crossings where sidewalks are present.

ORC Section 4511.21 defines speed limits for different roadways in Ohio. It states that in the absence of a lower limit declared or established in accordance with the ORC, 25 mph should be the posted speed of a municipal corporation, except on state routes outside business districts, through highways outside business districts, and alleys. Where lower speed limits are authorized through the process defined by the ORC, a Speed Limit sign (R2-1) should be located at the beginning of the bicycle boulevard and on each block where the reduced speed limit applies to ensure motorists are aware of the reduced limit.

Motorized Speed and Volume Management

For roadways that do not currently meet the Bicycle Boulevard performance criteria shown in Table 6-1 but are intended to serve as Bicycle Boulevards, the street and intersections should be designed to change the motorist speed and/or volume to meet these criteria. The traffic calming and diversion strategies that can be considered to achieve this goal are identified in Table 6-2 and are further discussed in Chapters 4 and 7.

Table 6-2: Speed and Volume Management Treatments


Volume Management

Speed Management

Horizontal Deflection

Curb Extensions



One-Lane Pinch Points






Traffic Circles



Median Islands



Street Width Reduction

Road Diet



Vertical Deflection

Speed Humps & Tables



Raised Crossings



Routing Restrictions & Traffic Diversion

Signs and Markings



Diagonal Diverters



Median Diverter



Forced Turn Diverter



6.3.3 Paved Shoulders

Paved shoulders are portions of the roadway that accommodate stopped or parked vehicles, emergency vehicles, horse-drawn buggies, farm equipment or other slow-moving vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians where sidewalks do not exist (See Chapter 4 for the design of shoulders for use by pedestrians). Paved shoulders have been shown to provide many safety benefits for all users, but are particularly important for improving comfort and safety for bicyclists on roadways that meet any or all of the following conditions:

  • Traffic volumes that exceed 3,000 vehicles/day.
  • Motor vehicle speeds greater than or equal to 50 mph.
  • Inadequate sight distances for the typical operating speed or grades in excess of 5 percent.
  • High percentages (> 10 percent) of heavy vehicles.

On two-way roads it is preferable to provide paved shoulders on both sides of the road; however, in constrained locations where pavement width is limited, it may be preferable to provide a wider paved shoulder on only one side of the roadway rather than to provide a narrow paved shoulder on both sides. This approach is not preferred but may prove beneficial in the following situations:

  • Vertical curve - On uphill roadway sections, a paved shoulder may be provided to give slower- moving bicyclists additional maneuvering space, thereby reducing conflicts with faster moving motor vehicle traffic.
  • Horizontal curve - On roadway sections with vertical or horizontal curves that limit sight distance, it can be helpful to provide paved shoulders over the crest and on the downgrade of a vertical curve, and on the inside of a horizontal curve.

Widths of Paved Shoulders

Where bicycle usage is expected, designers should ensure that paved shoulder widths meet both those outlined in Figure 6-4 and L&D Manual Volume 1, Section 301.2.

A paved shoulder width wider than those shown in Figure 6-4 is desirable where motor vehicle speeds exceed 50 mph; where heavy trucks, buses, or recreational vehicle volumes are considerable; or if static obstructions exist at the right side of the roadway. In Figure 6-4 a minimum paved shoulder width of 6 ft. is recommended from the face of a guardrail or concrete barrier (5 ft. in constrained areas) to provide additional operating width as bicyclists shy away from these roadside elements.

In highly constrained conditions where the shoulder widths shown in Figure 6-4 cannot be achieved and it is not possible to provide a shared use path separated from the road, it is preferable to provide a narrow shoulder rather than no shoulder. In these circumstances, a 3- or 4 ft.-wide shoulder provides some benefit to bicyclists if the shoulder does not contain rumble strips.

The usable paved shoulder width for bicycle travel is measured from the center of the edge line to the edge of pavement or face of vertical object (e.g., a curb or guardrail). If rumble strips are present, the usable paved shoulder width is reduced exclusive of that area.

Figure 6-4: Shoulder Widths to Accommodate Highly Confident Bicyclists on Rural Roadways

Figure 6-4


  1. This chart assumes the project involves reconstruction or retrofit in constrained conditions. For new construction, follow recommended shoulder widths in the ODOT L&D Manual Volume 1.
  2. A separated shared use pathway is a suitable alternative to providing paved shoulders.
  3. Chart assumes operating speeds are similar to posted speeds. If they differ, use operating speed rather than posted speed.
  4. If the percentage of heavy vehicles is greater than 10%, consider providing a wider shoulder or a separated pathway.

Shoulder Surface Quality

Surface conditions and pavement smoothness are important for bicyclist control, comfort, and safety. Surface defects can be a significant contributing factor to bicyclist crashes. In addition to the surface design parameters specified in Chapter 3, designers should consider the following maintenance and design recommendations to eliminate or reduce hazards to bicyclists:

  • Address paved shoulders or pavement edges on open sections of roadway that have irregular edges or sharp drop-offs.
  • Regularly street sweep shoulders to keep them clear of gravel, glass, and other debris.
  • Pave at least 10 ft. of a low-volume driveway approach and at least 30 ft. of a high-volume driveway or unpaved road approach to prevent loose gravel from spilling or being carried onto the shoulder or traveled way. Where practical, the paved section of the approach to the highway should be sloped away from the highway to reduce the amount of loose material tracked into the shoulder. This should not be done at the expense of right of way (ROW) if the project is not otherwise acquiring ROW specifically for the driveway reconstruction.
  • If paved shoulders are to be widened and the entire roadway is not resurfaced, saw cut at the proposed edge line and mill the existing surface to provide one continues finished shoulder.

Rumble Stripes and Rumble Strips

Rumble stripes are milled longitudinal rumble strips placed on the edge line. Where necessary, rumble stripes are preferred to rumble strips in areas designated as bicycle routes or having substantial volumes of bicycle traffic as they do not decrease the available shoulder width for bicycle travel. Rumble strips are placed in the shoulder outside of the edge line and generally should not be used where bicyclists are expected unless the shoulder is wide enough to accommodate the rumble strips and still provide a minimum clear width, see Figure 6-4.

When present, the rumble stripe (or strip) pattern should not be continuous but should consist of an alternating pattern of gaps and strips, each 12 ft. and 48 ft. respectively in length. Also, gaps should be provided in the rumble stripe pattern ahead of intersections, crosswalks, driveway openings, and at other locations where bicyclists are likely to cross the shoulder. Refer to Section 1415 of the TEM for the design of rumble stripes and strips.

Bicyclist Right of Way Considerations at Intersections

ORC 4511.44 notes that “[t]he operator of a vehicle, streetcar or trackless trolley about to enter or cross a highway from any place other than another roadway shall yield the right of way to all traffic approaching on the roadway to be entered or crossed.” As such, a bicyclist operating on a shoulder must always yield the right of way to motorists. Bicyclists operating on the paved shoulder may not be aware of these requirements. In order to accommodate bicyclists along a paved shoulder and clearly communicate the right of way to all roadway users, designers may consider the following:

  • The paved shoulder may be converted to a bike lane as it approaches intersections or driveways. By designating the area as a bike lane instead of a paved shoulder, the bike lane will constitute part of the roadway, bicyclists would have the right of way at intersections, and turning vehicles would be required to merge into the bike lane to make right turns. Designers may provide a regulatory sign identifying “Turning Vehicles Yield to Bikes” on state and local roads. This may better accommodate bicyclists of all ages and abilities and should always be considered if speeds are greater than 35 mph.

This is further discussed in Section 6.5.7.

6.3.4 Bicycle Lanes

Bicycle lanes (bike lanes) are one-way bikeways designated for preferential use by bicyclists that typically carry bicycle traffic in the same direction as adjacent motor vehicle traffic and are distinguished from traffic lanes by striping, signing, and pavement markings. Buffered bike lanes are striped on-street bike lanes paired with a painted buffer space separating the bike lane from the adjacent motor vehicle travel lane and/or parking lane to increase the comfort of bicyclists.

Figure 3-3 identifies the roadway conditions suitable for bike lanes to accommodate the comfort of an Interested but Concerned Bicyclist, but bike lanes can be provided to accommodate bicyclists on any roadway that legally permits bicyclist use.

In most cases, bike lanes should be provided on both sides of two-way streets. A bike lane provided on only one side may invite wrong-way use. The following scenarios note when it may be acceptable to provide a bike lane on one side and how to select which side:

  • On streets where downhill grades are long enough to result in bicycle speeds similar to typical motor vehicle speeds, a bike lane may be provided only in the uphill direction, with shared lane markings in the downhill direction. This design can be especially advantageous on streets where fast downhill bicycle speeds have the potential to increase the likelihood of crashes with fixed objects, particularly in locations with on-street parking.
  • Where a roadway narrows on one side of the roadway for a short segment with an otherwise continuous bike lane.
  • Where an adjacent parallel roadway of similar width provides a bike lane in the opposing direction.

When a bike lane is only provided in one direction, shared lane markings should be added in the opposing direction if the roadway speed is 35mph or below. See Section 6.3.1 for shared lane design.


The widths prescribed in Table 6-3 accommodate a person’s operating space, occasional passing, and shy distances to vertical elements as discussed in Chapter 3. Chapter 7 provides guidance on when narrowing travel lane widths or reducing the number of travel lanes to achieve desired bike lane widths may be appropriate.

The width of a bicycle lane does not include the gutter adjacent to a curb. Where a bicycle lane is adjacent to a gutter, the width of the bicycle lane should be measured from the edge of the gutter to the center of the bike lane line. Where a bicycle lane is adjacent to a curb with no gutter, the bicycle lane width should be measured from the face of curb to the center of bike lane line. On streets with on-street parking, the bike lane width should be measured from the center of the parking line or buffer line to the center of the bike lane line.

Figure 6-5: Shared Lane Marking and Bike Lane on Steep Street

Figure 6-5

In addition to the design values presented in Table 6-3, consider the following when designing bike lane widths:

  • Bike lanes wider than the shown minimum should be considered:
    • in locations with high parking turnover;
    • where side-by-side bicycle travel is desired;
    • where roadways have irregular edges or sharp drop-offs;
    • where bicycle lanes are positioned between two moving travel lanes, such as a turn lane and through lane; or
    • on roadways that have more than 5 percent heavy vehicles, posted speeds over 30mph or AADT over 6,000.
  • On extremely constrained, low-speed roadways with curbs but no gutter, where the preferred bike lane width cannot be achieved despite narrowing all other travel lanes to their minimum widths, a 4 ft. wide bike lane can be used.
  • Where wider bike lanes are feasible, a buffer may reduce incidences of motorist attempting to use the bike lane as a travel lane or parking lane. See Section 6.3.5. Alternatively, a wide bike lane may include green colored pavement to discourage motorist use.

Table 6-3: Bike Lane Zone Widths

One-Way Standard Bike Lane Width Criteria

Bike Lane Description

Minimum Width (ft)

Constrained Width (ft)

Adjacent to curb1 or edge of pavement



Between travel lanes or buffers



Adjacent to parking2



Intermediate or sidewalk level raised bike lane1



To allow side-by-side bicycling or passing



1 Exclusive of the gutter unless the gutter is integrated into the full width of the bike lane

2 Raised bike lanes adjacent to parking should have a minimum width of 7 feet

Bicycle Lanes on One-Way Streets

On one-way streets, bike lanes should normally be on the right-hand side of the roadway. A bike lane may be placed on the left side if there are a significant number of left turning bicyclists or if a left-side bike lane would decrease conflicts, such as those caused by bus stops, heavy right-turn movements, deliveries, or on-street parking.

Bike lanes should typically be provided on both streets of a one-way couplet. If a one-way roadway pair in the opposite direction does not exist or would significantly increase a bicyclist travel time due to out of direction travel, there may be an increase in wrong way riding. If sufficient width exists, a counter flow bike lane can also be added to provide for two-way bicycle travel on a one-way street. For a bike lane to function as intended when built against the dominant flow of traffic on a one-way street, the following features should be incorporated into the design:

  • The counter flow bike lane should be placed on the correct side of the roadway consistent with the ORC (i.e., on the left-hand side from the motorist’s perspective).
  • A bike lane should be provided for bicyclists traveling in the same direction as motor vehicle traffic. If there is insufficient room to provide a bike lane in the dominant flow direction of the street, shared lane markings should be considered to emphasize that bicyclists must share the travel lane on this side of the street.
  • Where parking is present along a counter flow bike lane, motorists leaving a parking space may have difficulty seeing oncoming bicyclists in the counter flow bike lane, as sight lines may be blocked by other parked vehicles. For this reason, the provision of counter flow bike lanes should be discouraged where high-turnover parking is present on the same side of street.
  • Bike lane symbols and directional arrows should be used on both the approach and departure of each intersection, to remind bicyclists to use the bike lane in the appropriate direction, and to remind motorists to expect two-way bicycle traffic.
  • Centerline markings along the left side of the counter flow bike lane should be provided where passing is prohibited in both directions.
  • Medians or traffic separators should be considered to provide more separation between motorists and bicyclists traveling in the opposing direction, particularly at intersections. This treatment is required when posted speeds exceed 35 mph.
  • At intersecting streets, alleys, and major driveways, DO NOT ENTER signs and turn restriction signs should include a supplemental EXCEPT BICYCLES plaque to establish that the street is two- way for bicyclists.
  • At traffic signals, signal heads should be provided for counter-flow bicyclists, as well as suitable bicycle detection measures. A supplemental plaque that says BICYCLE SIGNAL may be needed beneath the signal to clarify its purpose.


The following describes common signs needed where bicycle lanes are present. Section 9B of the OMUTCD provides additional guidance on bike lane signage.

BIKE LANE (R3-17) signs may be placed as needed or at periodic intervals along a bike lane (see Figure 6-6). Spacing of the sign should be determined by engineering judgment based on the prevailing speed of bicycle and other traffic, block length, and distances from adjacent intersections, but should not be installed in a manner that creates sign clutter. Bike lane markings are typically used more frequently than BIKE LANE signs, but where the BIKE LANE sign is used it should generally be placed adjacent to a bike lane pavement marking. The sign may be located on an existing post/utility pole when present.

The standard BIKE LANE (R3-17) sign with the AHEAD (R3-17aP) plaque may be placed in advance of the start (upstream end) of a bike lane. These signs are often considered at locations where the bike lane may be unexpected or there are sight distance restrictions to the bike lane.

The BIKE LANE sign with the ENDS (R3-17bP) plaque may be used in advance of the end of a bike lane to warn that a bike lane is ending. The BIKE LANE ENDS sign should always be used where a bike lane changes to an unmarked paved shoulder, for example at the urban or suburban fringe, but should not be used at temporary interruptions in a bike lane, such as where a bike lane is dropped on the approach to an intersection and resumes immediately after the intersection.

A BIKE LANE ENDS warning sign may be used in advance of a BIKE LANE ENDS regulatory sign, to warn bicyclists and motorists of the upcoming condition. A BICYCLES MAY USE FULL LANE sign (R4-11), BICYCLE warning sign (W11-1), and/or shared lane markings may be installed downstream of the merge area.

If motorists stopping, standing, or parking in a bike lane is a known problem, then, local jurisdictions should consider installing the NO PARKING BIKE LANE signs (R7-9 or R7-9a) or other signs restricting these activities.

For locations where wrong-way riding by bicyclists is frequently observed in bike lanes, the WRONG WAY and RIDE WITH TRAFFIC plaque (R5-1b and R9-3cP) may be used.

For locations where warning or regulatory signs are not applicable to bicyclists, an EXCEPT BICYCLES plaque should be used to supplement the warning or regulatory sign. These plaques may be applicable to supplement a variety of signs, such as DO NOT ENTER, NO OUTLET, ONE WAY, ALL TRAFFIC MUST TURN RIGHT, etc. The R3-7bP version of the sign should only be used with other regulatory signs; the version with black letters on a warning sign panel should only be used with other warning signs.


As detailed in Section 9C of the OMUTCD, a bike lane is designated for preferential use by bicyclists with a white line and bike lane symbol markings or word markings. The markings should be supplemented with the directional arrow marking indicating the correct direction of travel in the bike lane. Although the white line may be a normal width (4 to 6 inch wide), a wider width should be considered where additional emphasis is appropriate, such as roadways with higher motorist speeds and volumes. Wider markings can have the added benefit of improving the longevity of the markings.

Bike lane symbol markings should be placed no more than 50 ft. downstream from an intersection and spaced at intervals based on engineering judgement thereafter (see Figure 6-6). Spacing at or below 250 ft. may provide additional flexibility in urban areas. The first marking after an intersection or driveway should be placed outside of the wheel path of turning vehicles, to reduce wear. Additional bike lane symbols may be placed at closer intervals.

Bike lane symbols may be closer than 250 ft. where potential conflicts between bicyclists and motorists are higher, such as approaches to areas with significant parking turnover, at the near- and far-side of intersections and driveways, and adjacent to turn lanes. In suburban and rural areas, with long distances between intersections and little roadside activity, bike lane symbols may be as far apart as 1,000 ft. or more.

Designers should also consider conflict markings at intersections and driveways as discussed in Section 6.5.1.

Green-Colored Pavement (Interim Approval)

Green-colored pavement is beneficial to supplement other bikeway pavement markings to communicate to road users where portions of the roadway have been designated for exclusive or preferential use by bicyclists, and to enhance the conspicuity of a bicycle lane, bike lane symbol, bicycle lane extension, bicycle crossing, bicycle box, or two-stage bicycle turn box. Green-colored pavement is an optional treatment that may be used per FHWA Interim Approval IA-14.2.

If green-colored pavement is used, designers should consider the longevity of the marking materials, the installation methods, and the expected motorist wheel paths to reduce long- term maintenance. For example, thermoplastic green markings may be appropriate for lane extension markings, two-stage bicycle turn boxes, and approaches to intersections where vehicles are expected to traverse the markings, whereas epoxy or methyl methacrylate (MMA) green markings may be appropriate where few vehicles would traverse the markings or where long areas of green are desired (such as within bike boxes or along areas with on-street parking). Thermoplastic pavement markings may also be ground-in to reduce the likelihood of a plow catching the edge of the markings to improve their longevity.

The use of green-colored pavement to supplement other bikeway pavement markings, such as a shared lane marking, requires experimental approval from FHWA. Designers should look to IA-14 and FHWA requirements for experimentation when determining if an experimental design is appropriate to consider and feasible to implement.

Figure 6-6: Typical Bike Lane Pavement Markings and Traffic Control Signs

Figure 6-6

Bicycle Lanes Adjacent to On-Street Parking

Where on-street parking is permitted along a bike lane, the bike lane should be located between the parking lane and the travel lane, unless designed as a separated bike lane following guidance in Section 6.3.7 for separated bike lanes. Delineating the bike lane with two stripes, one along the street side and one along the parking side, is preferable to a single stripe.

When parallel parking lanes are narrow (7 ft.) with high turnover it is preferable to provide a separated bike lane to eliminate conflicts with the vehicles, see Section 6.3.7. When a separated bike lane is not feasible or an interim solution is needed, a buffered bike lane should be provided, see Section 6.3.5. If a striped buffer is not desired, the bike lane width may be increased to provide bicyclists with more operating space to ride out of the area of opening vehicle doors; however, as bike lane widths increase they may appear more like travel lanes and may result in instances of double parking. Designers may consider the use of green pavement to discourage motorists from using the bikeway.

If a buffered bike lane is not feasible, designers should consider the following options in the order stated:

  1. Evaluate the reduction of travel lane widths and parking lane widths to accommodate the design widths for buffered bicycle lanes.
  2. Evaluate if parking can be consolidated to one side of the street or removed to provide the additional space necessary to accommodate the design widths for buffered bicycle lanes
  3. On constrained streets where it is not feasible to eliminate parking or to narrow or remove a travel lane to achieve the minimum dimensions, research indicates there is a slightly reduced risk of dooring in bike lanes as compared to shared lanes.2 The bicycle lane may be narrowed to a minimum width of 4 ft. to provide a buffer within the door zone area. The door zone buffer may vary from 2 ft. to 4 ft. (3 ft. minimum where parking lanes are 7 ft.). The buffer markings will encourage bicyclists to ride farther from parked vehicles and encourage motorists to park closer to the curb.
  4. Provide shared lane markings in accordance with Section 6.3.1. This design is unlikely to accommodate the Interested but Concerned Bicyclist, but could accommodate the Highly Confident Bicyclist.
  5. The minimum combined bicycle lane and parking lane width is 12 ft. All other travel lanes should be narrowed to the allowable constrained width before the minimum combined bicycle and parking lane width is considered. Pavement markings may be used within the bike lane to identify the potential door zone area by extending parking tees or diagonal pavement markings into the bike lane up to 3.5 ft. from the parking lane line. See Figure 6-7.

For the scenarios listed above, to improve the visibility of the bike lane adjacent to parking or loading areas, green-colored pavement, in accordance with Interim Approval 14, may be used within the bicycle lane.

Bike lanes should not be placed adjacent to head-in angled parking, since drivers backing out of parking spaces have poor visibility of bicyclists in the bike lane. The use of back-in angled parking can help mitigate the conflicts normally associated with bike lanes adjacent to head-in angled parking. Figure 6-8 provides guidance on the angle, width, and depth of back-in angled parking.

Figure 6-7: Example of Door Zone Markings in Constrained Bike Lane Conditions

Figure 6-7

Figure 6-8: Design Criteria for Back-in Angled Parking

Figure 6-8

Back in Angle Parking




















W1 = stall width

W2 = striping width

D = depth to face of curb

θ = angle

Curbside Management

At locations where vehicles frequently stop or stand in the bike lane, in addition to the signing strategies noted above, it may be beneficial to implement curbside management strategies to result in increased parking and loading space availability during peak periods and to address various curbside uses. Curbside management strategies may include implementation of loading zones, metered parking with performance pricing to promote parking turnover, evening freight delivery, paratransit loading areas, or passenger drop off areas. These strategies may be implemented on a corridor with a bike lane or on adjacent streets. Where on-street parking is present, loading zones may be delineated within the parking lane, and the bike lane may be preserved alongside them. See the ITE Curbside Management Practitioners Guide for more information.

6.3.5 Buffered Bicycle Lanes

Buffered Bicycle lanes (buffered bike lanes) are one-way bikeways designated for preferential use by bicyclists that are striped with a buffer space separating the bike lane from the adjacent motor vehicle travel lane and/or on-street parking lane to increase the comfort of bicyclists. Where space is available, existing bike lanes can be improved through the provision of the painted buffer. Buffered bike lanes may be provided on any roadway to increase the comfort of bicyclists and are beneficial for the Interested but Concerned Bicyclist as traffic volumes and speeds increase (see Figure 3-3). Buffered bike lanes follow the same design guidance as bike lanes for widths and other design elements with the following additions:


The width of the bike lane should generally follow the guidance for Bicycle Lanes (see Section 6.3.4). However, where a buffered bike lane is provided the bicycle lane may be narrowed to a minimum of 4 ft. to maximize the width of the buffer. While the buffer is not a part of the bicycle lane width, it should be anticipated to be used by bicyclists to pass other bicyclists or to merge into the adjacent travel lane; as such, the buffer surface should be traversable.

Striped Buffer Markings

The striped buffer of a buffered bike lane may include chevrons, diagonal lines, or wide pavement marking stripes depending on the conditions and widths available. See Figure 6-9. Where provided, crosshatching or chevron markings should be provided at a regular interval. A typical spacing is 15 ft. with some locations reduced to as frequent as 5 ft. spacing where engineering judgment determines a more frequent spacing is desirable to discourage motorists encroachment or parking. The maximum spacing should not exceed the equivalent of the speed limit of the roadway (e.g., 45 mph posted speed equals a 45 ft. maximum spacing between markings). There is no maximum buffer width; however, when it is feasible to provide buffers totaling 6 ft. or more in width, consideration should be given to installing separated bike lanes, see Section 6.3.7 for evaluating if a separated bicycle lane may be appropriate.

Where parking is permitted, a buffer located between the bike lane and parking can increase the comfort and safety of bicyclists operating adjacent to parked vehicles by reducing the potential for a dooring type crash. See also Bicycle Lanes Adjacent to On-Street Parking.

Figure 6-9: Typical Striped Buffer Treatments

Figure 6-9

6.3.6 Raised Bicycle Lanes

A conventional bicycle lane can be raised above the street grade to create a new bikeway type that provides more separation from vehicles when a separated bike lane (see Section 6.3.7) with horizontal separation is not feasible. In general, a separated bike lane is preferable to a raised bike lane to prevent motor vehicle encroachment and to reduce the potential for a bicyclist to crash while transitioning from the raised bike lane to the roadway at intersections. While a mountable curb between the raised bike lane and travel lane can reduce crash risk for bicyclists, it may not discourage motorists from encroaching into the raised bike lane. Raised bike lanes should not be installed adjacent to on-street parking due to the greater risk of dooring.

Raised bike lanes can be raised between street level and sidewalk height (intermediate level) or can be located at sidewalk height (sidewalk level). Specific information on the curb types adjacent to raised bike lanes are discussed in Section 6.3.7. The width of raised bike lanes should accommodate the anticipated bicyclist demand and reduce the likelihood that a bicyclist will have to transition to an adjacent travel lane or sidewalk to pass other bicyclists or to avoid hazards such as debris, surface defects, or objects in the bike lane.

The width should also consider the elevation of the bike lane. Table 6-3 provides minimum and constrained widths for both raised bike lane scenarios. A white edge line should be provided near the top of the curb to provide a buffer between bicyclists and the curb; however, the width of the bike lane is still measured from curb to curb.

Figure 6-10: Raised Bike Lane Examples

Figure 6-10

To prevent motor vehicle encroachment into the bike lane, a sidewalk-level raised bike lane built with a vertical curb between the bike lane and travel lane is preferred. Where sidewalks are adjacent to the raised bike lane, a detectable edge should be provided to reduce the likelihood people with vision disabilities will enter the bike lane. This consideration may lead to the design of an intermediate-level bike lane. Section 6.3.7 provides additional guidance for sidewalk buffer designs.

At locations where an intermediate-level raised bike lane is less than 7 ft. in width, the bike lane should have a continuous mountable curb on both sides, between the bike lane and travel lane and the bike lane and the sidewalk, allowing bicyclists to traverse the curb if necessary (see Figure 6-10). While the provision of a vertical curb along the travel lane is more likely to discourage motorists from entering the raised bike lane, it may also decrease the comfort and safety of bicyclist if the bike lane is not sufficiently wide or if it is necessary for the bicyclist to exit the bike lane.

The bike lane elevation may vary within a single corridor via bicycle transition ramps which raise or lower the bike lane as needed at pedestrian crossings, transit stops, driveways, and intersections. Additional details on the design of intersections are discussed in Section 6.4. Frequent elevation changes along a corridor should be avoided because they reduce the comfort of the bicycling environment and can create maintenance challenges.

Raised bike lanes will require special considerations for maintenance activities as it may be difficult to maintain a debris free surface with standard street maintenance practices. For example, street sweepers cleaning an adjacent travel lane may push additional debris onto an intermediate level bike lane.

Markings and Signing

A wide white edge line may be used along a raised bike lane, but it is recommended at locations with an intermediate height bike lane to provide additional emphasis of the mountable curb or the lower height vertical curb. When the sidewalk is attached, directional indicators along the sidewalk should be used to differentiate the bike lane from the sidewalk to pedestrians with low or no vision.

Paving material, green-colored pavement, and signage can all help to differentiate the bike lane from an adjacent travel lane or to increase awareness of the elevation change. Designers may supplement the BIKE LANE (R2-17) sign with a plaque with the message RAISED in black letters.

6.3.7 Separated Bicycle Lanes

Separated bicycle lanes are exclusive bikeways that are physically separated from motor vehicle traffic. While buffered bike lanes provide a horizontal separation from motor vehicle traffic, separated bike lanes also provide vertical separation such as flexible delineators or a curbed median. Separated bike lanes may be located at street elevation, sidewalk elevation, or at an intermediate elevation in between the sidewalk and street. When built at sidewalk level, care must be taken to ensure they are distinct from the sidewalk to discourage pedestrian encroachment. Separated bike lanes may be installed in one-way and two- way configurations, each of which present opportunities and challenges that must be considered during the design process.

Figure 6-11: Separated Bike Lane Zones

Figure 6-11

Separated bicycle lanes are more appealing to a wider range of bicyclists than other bike lanes when installed along higher volume and faster speed roads. They also prevent motor vehicles from driving, stopping or waiting in the bikeway and provide greater comfort to pedestrians than a shared use path by separating them from bicyclists.

Separated bike lanes are comprised of three distinct zones:

  1. Bike lane – The bike lane is the space in which the bicyclist operates. It is located between the street buffer and the sidewalk buffer.
  2. Street buffer – The street buffer physically separates the bicycle lane from a vehicle lane or on- street parking both vertically and horizontally.
  3. Sidewalk buffer – A sidewalk buffer separates the bike lane and sidewalk zones.

Within the bike lane zone, the horizontal and vertical alignment of the bike lane should be smooth. Bicyclists should not need to climb sudden steep inclines, nor should they be forced to veer sharply from side to side to stay in the bike lane. Horizontal tapers should follow the same equation provided for on-street striped bicycle lanes (see Section 3.6.3).


Separated bike lane width should be selected based on the desired elevation of the bike lane, adjacent curb type(s), anticipated volume of users, likelihood of passing maneuvers, and one-way vs. two-way operation. Bicyclists typically do not have the option to pass each other by moving out of a separated bike lane as they would in a standard bike lane because of the vertical elements between the bikeway and motor vehicle travel lane. It is therefore preferable for the width of the separated bike lane to accommodate passing and potentially permit side-by-side bicycling.

The minimum bike lane widths for one-way and two-way separated bike lane(s) are provided in Table 6-4 and Table 6-5 respectively based on the anticipated directional bicyclist volumes. The widths vary depending on adjacent curb types and account for shy distances to these different curb types. Similar to conventional bike lanes, the widths in these tables should be measured from the relevant edge of the bike lane striping, face of curb, or edge of the gutter pan.

Table 6-4: Minimum One-Way Separated Bike Lane Widths

Peak Hour Directional Bicyclist Volume

One-Way Separated Bike Lane Width (ft)

Between Vertical Curbs

Adjacent to One Vertical Curb

Between Sloped Curb or at Sidewalk Level


6.5 - 8.5

6 - 8

5.5 - 7.5


8.5 - 10

8 - 9.5

7.5 - 9





Constrained Condition*




*Peak Hour Directional Bicyclist Volume not applicable

Table 6-5: Minimum Two-Way Separated Bike Lane Widths

Peak Hour Directional Bicyclist Volume

Preferable Two-Way Bike Lane Width (ft)

Between Vertical Curbs

Adjacent to One Vertical Curb

Between Sloped Curb or at Sidewalk Level


10 - 12

9.5 - 11.5

9 - 11


12 - 16

11.5 - 15.5

11 - 15





Constrained Condition*




*Peak Hour Directional Bicyclist Volume not applicable


Some curb types can increase the risk of bicycle crashes if struck by a wheel or pedal. The face of curb angle—vertical, sloping, or mountable (see SCD BP 5.1)—and curb height influence the functional width of the bikeway, crash risk to bicyclists, the ability to exit bikeways to access bike parking or adjacent properties, pedestrian detectability, and the risk of encroachment into the bikeway by motorists. The following curb types are recommended for separated bicycle lanes:

  • Curb Type 10-A, Sloping Curbs are preferred along any separated bike lane to reduce pedal strike hazards and to ease access to the sidewalk. See Table 6-4 and Table 6-5 for bike lane widths were sloping curbs should be provided.
  • Curb Type 10-B, Mountable curbs are traversable by bicyclists, reduce pedal strike hazards, and are preferred along intermediate level separated bicycle lanes.

In general, any curb type with a height of 3 inches or less will allow a bicyclist to ride closer to the curb without fear of a pedal strike. Curb Type 10-A and 10-B may be adjusted based on site conditions but must be at least 2 inches to be detectable by people who are blind.

Curbs with integral gutters result in a longitudinal seam parallel to bicycle travel that may deteriorate, resulting in dips or ridges that increase crash risk for bicyclists. Similar to conventional bike lanes, gutters should not be included in the bike lane width of a separated bike lane. For retrofit projects where separated bike lanes are added to existing roadways, integral gutters may not be avoidable; however, for new roadways or roadway reconstruction projects, integral gutters should not be provided along a separated bike lane.

One-Way vs. Two-Way Operation

Designers must determine if it would be more appropriate to place a one-way separated bike lane on each side of the street, or to place a two-way separated bike lane or side path on one side of the street (and if so, which side) or on both sides of the street. Note that side paths are a type of shared use path and therefore generally discussed in Chapter 5; however, at intersections, their geometric and operational design considerations closely follow those for separated bike lanes and are discussed here as applicable. Selecting the appropriate configuration requires an assessment of many factors, including safety, overall connectivity, ease of access, public feedback, available right-of-way, curbside lane uses, intersection operations, ingress and egress to the bikeway, maintenance, and feasibility. The analysis should also consider benefits and trade-offs to people bicycling, walking, taking transit, and driving. The primary objectives for determining the appropriate configuration are to

  • provide clear and intuitive transitions to existing or planned links of the bicycle network;
  • minimize conflicts between all users – bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists; and to
  • provide convenient access to destinations.

One-way separated bike lanes in the direction of motorized travel are typically the easiest option to integrate into the existing operation of a roadway and are the preferred design in most situations. This configuration provides intuitive and direct connections with the surrounding transportation network, including simpler transitions to existing bike lanes and shared travel lanes. It is also the design most consistent with driver expectation since bicyclist operation is in the same direction as motor vehicle operation.

Two-way separated bike lanes or a side path on one side of a street introduces a counter flow movement for bicyclists, which can be challenging – but not impossible – to accommodate. Two- way separated bike lanes might be appropriate where key destinations exist along one side of the road, where driveways and intersections are sparse along one side of the road but frequent along the other side, or for other context-based reasons. If used, care should be given to the design of intersections, driveways, and other conflict points, as people walking and driving may not anticipate bicyclists traveling in the opposite direction (See Section 6.3.8 and Section 8.4.5). Motorists entering the roadway and needing to cross the separated bike lane often will not notice bicyclists approaching from their right and motorists turning from the roadway across the bikeway may likewise fail to notice bicyclists traveling from the opposite direction. At the terminus of the bikeway, the counter flow bicyclist must also be clearly transitioned back into traffic lanes or to a different bikeway type.

If all other factors are equal (number of conflict points, right-of-way availability, predictability, etc.), consider locating bikeways on the north side of urban roadways to reduce shading snow and ice during winter months.

Two-way separated bike lanes or a side path on both sides of a street introduces the same challenges noted above but may be appropriate on roadways with fewer crossing opportunities for bicyclists. The two-way operation on both sides of the street can allow bicyclists to make more direct connections to adjacent land uses and may prevent wrong way riding that might otherwise occur on some one-way separated bike lanes.

For selecting the location of one-way or two-way bikeways on one-way or two-way roadways, designers should understand the following principles:

  • Whenever possible, bikeways should be designed to operate as one-way in the direction of adjacent motor vehicle traffic, to reduce the amount of information that motorists and pedestrians will need to make decisions about safe movements. Research indicates that two-way operation resulted in a higher crash rate than one-way operation.3
  • Where separated bicycle lanes are built on one-way streets, it is preferable to place them on the right side.4 Where bikeways need to be installed on the left, additional treatments to increase awareness and visibility should be considered.
  • If bikeways are built on the left side of a one-way street, crashes may increase in the short term, as motorists and bicyclists become accustomed to interacting on the left side, but should normalize over time.5 There are cases (such as on high-frequency bus routes) where it may be recommended to install the bikeway on the left side of the one-way street. In those cases, designers should consider additional treatments to increase awareness and visibility, easing the transition to the bikeway for motorists and bicyclists.

Table 6-6 and Table 6-7 summarize the separated bike lane configurations for one-way and two-way roadways, along with a discussion of associated issues and considerations.

Table 6-6: Separated Bike Lane Configurations on a One-Way Street

Corridor-level Planning Considerations

One-way SBL

Counterflow SBL One-way SBL Plus Counterflow SBL Two-way SBL
One-way SBL Counterflow SBL One-way plus counterflow Two-way SBL
Access to Destinations Limited access to other side of street Full access to both sides of street

Limited access to other side of street

Network Connectivity Does not address demand for counterflow bicycling, may result in wrong way riding

Requires bicyclists traveling in the direction of traffic to share the lane (may result in wrong way riding in the SBL); counterflow progression through signals may be less efficient

Accommodates two-way bicycle travel, but counterflow progression through signals may be less efficient
Crash Risk

Lower because pedestrians and turning drivers expect concurrent bicycle traffic

Higher because pedestrians and turning drivers may not expect counterflow bicycle traffic
Intersection Operations

May use existing signals phases; separate bicycle phase may be required depending on vehicle volumes

Typically requires additional signal equipment; separate bicycle phase may be required depending on vehicle volumes

Table 6-7: Separated Bike Lane Configurations on a Two-Way Street

Corridor-level Planning Considerations One-way SBL Pair Two-way SBL Median Two-way SBL
One-way pair Two-way pair Median two-way SBL
Access to Destinations

Full access to both sides of street

Limited access to other side of street Limited access to both sides of street
Network Connectivity

Accommodates two-way bicycle travel

Crash Risk Lower because pedestrians and turning drivers may not expect counterflow bicycle traffic Higher because pedestrians and turning drivers may not expect counterflow bicycle traffic

Higher because pedestrians and turning drivers may not expect counterflow bicycle traffic, but median location may improve visibility and create opportunities to separate conflicts

Intersection Operations May use existing signals phases; separate bicycle phase may be required depending on vehicle volumes

Typically requires additional signal equipment; separate bicycle phase may be required depending on vehicle volumes

Street Buffer

Street buffer width is a central element in separated bike lanes and side path design. Appropriate street buffer widths vary depending on the degree of separation desired, right-of-way constraints, and the types of vertical elements, features, or uses that must be accommodated within the buffer. In general, the minimum width of a street buffer is at least 6 ft., regardless of the type of street buffer. Street buffers may be narrowed to a minimum of 2 ft. (3 ft. encouraged when on-street parking is present) in constrained conditions or where bicyclists and turning motorists are phase separated at a signalized intersection.

In addition to providing increased physical separation mid-block, street buffers impact bicyclists’ safety at intersections, driveways, and alley crossings. Street buffer widths that provide a recessed crossing between 6 ft. and 16.5 ft. from the motor vehicle travel lane have been shown to reduce crashes at uncontrolled separated bike lanes and side path crossings (See Figure 6-30).6, 7 This offset improves visibility between bicyclists and motorists who are turning across their path, and creates space for motorists to yield (this is discussed in more detail in Section 6.5.2).

Continuous or intermittent vertical elements are needed in the street buffer to provide separation between motor vehicle traffic and the bikeway operating zone. For new roadways and reconstruction projects, these vertical elements will typically be curbed medians. Depending on the available buffer width, it may also be possible to implement green infrastructure strategies such as linear bioretention cells within the buffered area; see L&D Manual Volume 2 for stormwater design. Existing or future street sweepers and snowplows should be able to access the bikeway. If the bikeway clear space widths are not able to accommodate the equipment, the vertical elements should be mountable or designed so that both the vertical elements and the maintenance equipment is not damaged.

For retrofit projects where separated bike lanes are being added to existing roadways, the street buffer typically consists of buffered bike lane pavement markings (see Section 6.3.5) and are supplemented with vertical elements. On lower speed roads (30mph or less), flexible delineator posts, concrete barriers, or other vertical elements (see Figure 6-12) can be used. On higher speed roads, vertical elements must be crashworthy. Vertical objects may be struck by motor vehicles and require regular replacement. Maintenance and operation crews should plan on replacing vertical objects placed in the buffer zone and refreshing pavement markings, on a regular basis. If vertical objects are struck with significant regularity, adjustments to the design should be considered. The placement of vertical elements within the street buffer should consider the need for shy distances to the bikeway and to the travel lane, access to and from on-street parking, drainage, and maintenance. Vertical element spacing should consider the alignment with corresponding pavement markings in the buffer and the necessary effectiveness of the vertical elements to keep vehicles from encroaching into the separated bike lane. For example, on a higher-speed suburban road where motorists are less likely to cross into the bike lane (i.e., fewer driveways or loading and unloading needs), a wider spacing of the vertical elements may be acceptable, but on lower-speed urban streets, a spacing of 15 ft. or closer may be appropriate to prevent vehicles from attempting to stop or park in the bike lane, similar to the recommended design for buffered bike lane markings. Vertical elements may also be more closely spaced approaching intersections or driveways to better see where the gaps in the vertical elements are provided for driveway access points while preventing vehicle encroachment too early at these conflict points.

On-street parking may be used as a street buffer without other vertical elements if the parking always has high occupancy throughout the day and night, but vertical objects are typically provided to prevent vehicles from parking within the street buffer or bike lane. Additional pedestrian accessibility considerations for on-street parking are identified in the sections below.

Figure 6-12: Vertical Elements in the Street Buffer Zone

Figure 6-12

Sidewalk Buffer

The sidewalk buffer zone separates the sidewalk from the separated bike lane to communicate that the sidewalk and the separated bike lane are distinct spaces. Sidewalk buffer widths may vary depending on context (See Chapter 4). When a separated bike lane is raised to sidewalk level, sidewalk buffers need to include a delectable edge so pedestrians with vision disabilities can distinguish between the bike lane and the sidewalk. See Chapter 4 for detectable edge design options.

Vegetation in the sidewalk buffer should be trimmed and maintained on a regular basis to keep the bikeway clear at all times.


For retrofit projects, most vertical elements are non-continuous or can be provided with gaps or drainage channels to allow stormwater to flow through the street buffer. This approach allows drainage patterns to remain largely unchanged from existing conditions and allows stormwater to reach existing catch basins. When some continuous vertical elements are introduced along separated bike lanes, this may impact existing drainage patterns and require alterations to a drainage system. Some example separated bike lane drainage patterns are shown in Figure 6-13. In some suburban and rural areas, the preferred practice is to direct runoff onto adjacent vegetated areas, where soils and slopes allow for runoff to be conveyed or infiltrated.

Figure 6-13: Examples of Separated Bike Lane Drainage Configurations

Figure 6-13


Maintenance of separated bike lanes should be discussed early in the design process to ensure that the bike lane will be maintained to provide safe operation for bicyclists. This often requires a discussion of existing street cleaning equipment and snow clearing equipment to understand the width needed to accommodate maintenance operations. Although a city or district may not have a typical plow or street sweeper narrow enough to get into a separated bike lane, there may be other existing equipment that can be used, such as a loader, tractor, or utility vehicle. The purchase of new equipment may also be appropriate, particularly as a bike network expands, to ensure that the equipment is appropriate for maintaining the bikeway type(s).

The consideration of maintenance may be the justification for providing a wider bike lane or locating vertical elements closer to the travel lanes to allow equipment to pass behind the vertical elements to sweep or plow the bike lane. Similarly, the justification for a two-way separated bike lane may be the ability to more easily sweep and plow the bike lane. Additional discussion of maintenance is provided in Chapter 12.

Accessible Parking and Loading Zones Adjacent to Separated Bicycle Lanes

Accessible parking and loading spaces require additional space adjacent to parking stalls for vans with ramps to allow passenger boarding and alighting, and to ensure an accessible route is provided to and from the sidewalk. This can present a unique challenge when separated bike lanes are present between the on-street parking and sidewalk.

Pedestrian accessibility guidelines define circumstances and minimum number of accessible on- street parking spaces that should be provided within a block perimeter where marked or metered on-street parking is provided. See PROWAG Section R214. In general, accessible parking is required on each block face, so accommodating accessible parking on cross streets where separated bike lanes are not present is preferred. However, where accessible parking is appropriate on a street with separated bike lanes, it may be provided close to intersections or mid-block.

When accessible parking or loading is provided close to intersections, the design should allow the intersection curb ramps to also serve as the accessible route for the parking space(s), see Figure 6-14. When accessible parking is provided mid-block, a separate curb ramp will be necessary to provide an accessible route, see Figure 6-15. In constrained locations where accessible parking is provided, the protected bike lane may be narrowed to a minimum constrained width adjacent to the parking. At locations without on-street parking but where an accessible parking or loading area is desired, a lateral deflection (bend-out) of the separated bike lane will often be required to accommodate the accessible space. Bike lane deflection should occur gradually but should not exceed the shifting taper guidelines to maintain bicyclist safety and comfort (See Section 3.6.3).

Figure 6-14: Example of Accessible On-Street Parking at Intersection

Figure 6-14

Figure 6-15: Example of Accessible Mid-block On-Street Parking

Figure 6-15

At locations where there is a higher volume of pedestrians crossing between the separated bike lane such as valets or designated rideshare pick up and drop off, the following treatments should be used:

  • Add a PED XING pavement marking across the bike lane where the approach grade is 3 percent or greater, or where the location is within 100 ft. of an intersection.
  • Use a raised street buffer and sidewalk or intermediate-level separated bicycle lane.
  • Increase the street buffer width. This may result in narrowing the bike lane width to constrained bike lane widths along this short segment.
  • Mark pedestrian crossings and use BIKES YIELD TO PEDS (R9-6) signs.
  • Pedestrian railings may be used along the bikeway to direct pedestrians to marked crossings of the bike lane at loading zones where pedestrian activity is anticipated to be high. When present, these should be placed at an appropriate offset so that they do not present a hazard to bicyclists (see discussion on Shy Spaces in Section 3.6.2).

Transitions between Separated Bicycle Lanes and other Bikeway Types

Transitions between separated bike lanes and other bikeway types is essential for all projects that include a separated bike lane. The actual transition design can vary greatly from location to location depending on many of the contextual factors discussed throughout this guide. The selected transition design should clearly communicate how bicyclists should enter and exit the separated bike lane in order to minimize conflicts with other users.

Transitions of two-way separated bike lanes to bikeways or shared lanes that require one-way bicycle operation require additional considerations. Bicyclists operating in the counter flow direction will be required to cross at least two directions of travel and potentially two or more roadways. Failure to provide a clear transition to the desired one-way operation may result in wrong way bicycle riding. The principles identified for intersection design in Section 6.5.1 should be followed.

The use of directional, tapered islands can provide positive direction for bicyclists to follow the desired transition route. It may also be desirable to use green-colored pavement within intersection crossings (see Section 6.3.4) and bike boxes and two-stage bicycle turn boxes (see Section 6.5.1) to improve legibility and provide strong visual guidance of the intended path across and through an intersection to all users. The crossing may warrant bicycle signals at signalized crossings (see Section 8.4)

Figure 6-16. through Figure 6-21. provide illustrations of some example transitions.

Figure 6-16: Transition to Shared Lane

Figure 6-16

Figure 6-17: Transition to Conventional Bike Lane

Figure 6-17

Figure 6-18: Transition to Conventional Bike Lane on Intersecting Street

Figure 6-18

Figure 6-19: Transition from One-Way to Two-Way Separated Bike Lanes at Protected Intersection

Figure 6-19

Figure 6-20: Transition from One-Way to Two-Way Separated Bike Lanes with Two-Stage Turn Box

Figure 6-20

Figure 6-21: Transitions between Offset Intersections with Two-Way Separated Bike Lanes

Figure 6-21

6.3.8 Bicycle Ramps

Bike ramps are used to improve bicyclist safety or comfort, to shift the elevation of a bikeway to a different elevation (e.g., from street-level to sidewalk-level), or to change the bicycle facility type (e.g., from a conventional bike lane to side path).

It is common to use bike ramps when approaching roundabouts, at interchange ramp crossings, or at high-conflict zones (such as heavy weaving areas or high turning volume intersections). In these situations, the bike ramp serves the purpose of allowing bicyclists to avoid sharing travel lanes with motorists. In some instances, it may be appropriate to provide a bike ramp that would be used by most bicyclists, but also provide an on-street option for Highly Confident and Somewhat Confident Bicyclists to allow them to ride in the shared lane environment.

The other situation to use a bike ramp is approaching pedestrian conflict areas or raised crossings across a separated bike lane, where a change in elevation is desired to meet pedestrian accessibility guidelines, to slow bicyclists at conflicts, or to transition the bikeway elevation.

In either situation, the overall facility geometry, the extent of construction or type of project, or the types of bikeways being connected can affect the alignment of the bike ramp. Figure 6-22 identifies two options for bike ramps that transition to a shared use path. Detail 1 is preferable to provide a bicyclist with a comfortable change in alignment and ensure grade breaks are parallel to the path of travel. Detail 2 should be used where there is insufficient space to provide the straight taper shown in Detail 1. Designers may encounter the following challenges with the design shown in Detail 2:

  • Narrow bike ramp widths can force bicyclists to encroach on adjacent motorist travel lanes, pedestrian zones, or on- coming bicycle traffic on two-way facilities in order to access the ramp.
  • If grade breaks at the top and bottom of the bike ramp are not perpendicular to the bicyclist path of travel, bicyclists with more than two wheels (e.g., adult tricycles or bikes with trailers) can experience instability or overturning.

Figure 6-22: Bicycle Ramp to Shared Use Path or Sidewalk

Figure 6-22

Figure 6-22

In both situations, increasing the width of the bike ramp can help to address these issues.

Bike ramps are intended for the exclusive use of bicyclists and therefore the slopes need not comply with pedestrian accessibility guidelines. Ramp grades can be steeper than pedestrian curb ramps; however, grades of 5 to 8 percent can help to address issues of comfort when transitioning from one elevation to another. Where a bike ramp connects directly into a sidewalk or shared use path, a detectable warning surface shall be used at the top of the bike ramp, and may be supplemented with a directional indicator to guide pedestrians away from the bike ramp (see Section 4.3.3).

6.3.9 Bicycle and Micromobility Parking

When bikeways are provided along a corridor, bicycle parking should be included along the corridor and opportunities to accommodate bikeshare systems and other shared micromobility systems will increase. The placement of these bike parking and micromobility systems should be considered as part of any street design, particularly in regard to maintaining pedestrian accessibility on sidewalks. Without the provision of dedicated parking areas, bicycles and other micromobility vehicles have the potential to obstruct access. This section focuses only on short-term bike parking considerations. See the APBP Bicycle Parking Guidelines for additional bike parking considerations, including long-term bike parking.

As discussed previously, the sidewalk is made up of three zones: Pedestrian Through Zone (Pedestrian Access Route), Frontage Zone, and Buffer Zone. The buffer zone typically serves a wide range of amenities such as landscaping, street lighting, signage, benches, and traffic control devices. Another common use of this space is to provide bike racks or dedicated areas for bicycle and micromobility storage. These areas can be for personal vehicles or for shared fleet vehicles for municipal or regional bike and scooter share programs.

When bicycle or e-scooter parking is provided in the sidewalk buffer zone, it should generally not encroach into the pedestrian through zone unless an unobstructed path of travel for pedestrians is maintained as discussed in Chapter 4. Designers should follow the general design guidance provided below and defer to local or regional agency policies where applicable.

  • Select racks that are versatile and intuitive, allowing bicycles of all shapes and sizes to be locked through the frame and at least one wheel. See Figure 6-23 for examples of typical recommended bike racks and those that are not recommended.
  • A 5 ft. minimum clear pedestrian access route must be maintained behind any designated bike parking or designated dockless mobility parking area. In high-volume pedestrian areas, the unobstructed pedestrian through zone should match the widths discussed in Chapter 4.

Figure 6-23: Recommended and Not Recommended Bike Racks

Figure 6-23

  • A minimum depth of 6 ft. for bicycle parking and bikeshare docks and 5 ft. for scooter zones should be provided. Additional space to accommodate longer bicycles should be considered.
  • When a group of bike racks are provided, at least 36 inches should be provided between bike racks. 48 inches-60 inches of space should be allotted between parallel racks. A minimum clear distance of 36 inches should be provided between a bicycle rack and other streetscape elements so that the bike rack is functional. Bike racks can be installed with a minimum 24 inches offset from curbs (36 inches at intersections) on roadways with a posted speed of 35 mph or less. The 24 inch offset should be increased to 36 inches when adjacent to on-street parking (to maintain usable parking for bicycles and access to motor vehicle doors). See Figure 6-24 for different bike rack orientations.
  • Bikeshare docks typically feature semi-permanent structures that hold bicycles, while scooters may be parked in spaces designated by pavement markings and/or signage. Scooter stands may be installed to prevent scooters from tipping over.
  • Racks should be placed a minimum of 5 ft. from all fire hydrants.
  • Orient racks to facilitate easy access to dockless mobility vehicles.
  • Where bicycle parking is placed alongside on-street parking, bike racks should be placed to avoid conflicts with the parked vehicle’s opening doors.
  • Bikeshare pay and informational kiosks (if provided) should be accessed from the sidewalk.
  • Co-locate multiple dockless mobility options in the same location to maximize transportation choices and efficiency and minimize clutter. Additionally, consider co-locating hubs with rideshare pick-up/drop-off locations to create multimodal mobility hubs.
  • Bicycle parking and bikeshare stations may be installed within the pavement of a roadway in place of on-street parking to provide direct access to and from bikeways and eliminate conflicts with pedestrians on the sidewalk. When used, flexible delineators or other vertical elements should be used to prevent motorist encroachment into the bicycle parking area. See Figure 6-25 for an example of a bikeshare station installed in place of on-street parking. When feasible, additional space between the bike parking area and the adjacent travel lane (e.g., bike lane or vehicle lane) will provide additional maneuverability but given a constrained scenario this may not always be possible.
  • Bike parking and bikeshare dock installations should comply with the clear zone guidance specified in L&D Manual Volume 1, Section 600.2 for roadways with posted speeds of 40 mph or greater.

Figure 6-24: Typical Bike Parking Spacing for Parallel, Diagonal, and Longitudinally Oriented Inverted U Racks

Figure 6-24

Figure 6-25: Example of Bikeshare Stations Installed Within a Roadway

Figure 6-25

6.4 Evaluations of Uncontrolled Roadway Approaches to Bicycle Crossings

Where it is determined that bicycle approaches to intersections must be yield- or stop-controlled, the designer should evaluate traffic characteristics and quantify crossing opportunities where motor vehicles have an uncontrolled approach to the bicycle crossing. At these locations, natural crossing opportunities are created when motorists yield to crossing pedestrians, or when there are sufficient crossing opportunities (e.g., gaps) in traffic for bicyclists to cross. Table 6-8 identifies the recommended number of bicyclist crossing opportunities per hour that should be available at uncontrolled crossings. If sufficient crossing opportunities are not available, bicyclists are likely to accept smaller gaps or avoid the bikeway entirely due to the uncomfortable or inconvenient crossing conditions.

Table 6-8: Recommended Hourly Crossing Opportunities

Major Street Crossings (opportunities per hour)





A gap study may be used to evaluate the availability and frequency of safe crossing gaps, defined as critical gaps in the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM). The HCM provides a methodology to calculate the average pedestrian delay for an uncontrolled crossing. This approach may also be used to evaluate bicyclist delay at an uncontrolled crossing. The critical gap is determined by calculating the pedestrian or bicyclist departure sight distance that allows a person enough time to judge a gap and complete a full crossing of the roadway (see Section 3.5.2. Intersection Sight Distance – Case D).

Designers should evaluate the crossing opportunities provided during the peak hour, as well as the peak 15-minute period, similar to the evaluation of level of service for motorized traffic. Where sufficient crossing opportunities are not provided, countermeasures should be provided to increase the frequency of opportunities (see Section 6.4.1).

6.4.1 Countermeasures to Improve Yielding

At locations where gaps do not provide the recommended minimum crossing opportunities (Table 6-8), engineering countermeasures to increase crossing opportunities should be considered. For roadways operating over 30 mph, it may be necessary for a traffic control device to display a red signal to require motorists to stop for bicyclists (and pedestrians) crossing roadways at locations where gaps in traffic are not sufficient (See Tier 3 in Table 6-9).

In many contexts, the installation of multiple countermeasures may improve yielding and safety outcomes. Tier 1 should be considered as the base countermeasures that support Tier 2 and 3 countermeasures. Tier 1 and 2 countermeasures should support Tier 3 countermeasures.

Tier 1 Countermeasures

  • The goal of Tier 1 countermeasures is to clearly communicate the presence of a crossing to all users as the traffic volumes and speeds are conducive to motorists yielding. Where bike lanes are present, provide Bicycle Crossing Markings and Signs (see Section 6.5.1 and Section 6.7)

Table 6-9: Uncontrolled Crossing Evaluation Table8,9,10

Uncontrolled Crossing Countermeasure Evaluation Table

Roadway Type

Vehicle ADT
< 9,000

Vehicle ADT
9,000 - 12,000

Vehicle ADT
12,000 - 15,000

Vehicle ADT
> 15,000

(Number of Travel Lanes and Median Type)

Speed Limit (mph)













2 Lanes













3 Lanes with raised median













3 Lanes without raised median













4 Lanes with raised median**













4+ Lanes without raised median













* Where the speed limit exceeds 40 mph, Tier 3 should be considered

** Raised medians must be at least 6 feet wide to serve pedestrians. See Figure 3-2 for different bicycle lengths to serve bicyclists. Where median width is less than these values, review category of 4+ lanes without raised median.


Tier 1: 1
Tier 2: 2
Tier 3: 3
  • Improve Intersection Sight Distance:
    • Where intersection sight distance for either party is limited, consider removing parking or other sight obstructions, or installing curb extensions (see Chapter 4) to allow bicyclist to wait closer to the edge of the traveled way to shorten the crossing distance.
    • Where minimum intersection sight distances cannot be provided, stopping sight distance must be provided and advance warning beacons and signage should be installed (see Chapter 8).
    • Additional options for scenarios where neither intersection or stopping sight distance can be achieved include relocating the crossing or evaluating it for a signal or other traffic control device (i.e., stop sign, rectangular rapid flashing beacon, pedestrian hybrid beacon, etc.).
  • Reduce Approach Speeds:
    • Designers can complete a speed study and may be able to lower the posted speed limit. A reduction in the posted speed limit should be complemented by street design changes to reinforce the desired operating speed. Section 7.8 covers speed management and traffic calming measures.

Tier 2 Countermeasures

In addition to Tier 1 countermeasures, designers should consider the following as speeds, volumes, and roadway widths increase to clearly communicate the presence of the crossing to all roadway users.

  • Optimize Geometric Design:
    • The geometry of the intersection and crossing should be optimized to be as close to 90 degrees as practical to minimize the exposure of crossing users, reduce crossing distances, and maximize sight lines.
    • The crossings should be shortened to reduce exposure and increase the frequency of safe crossing gaps. Strategies to consider include travel lanes, travel lane removal, crossing islands, and curb extensions (see Chapter 7).
  • Reduce approach speeds (see Tier 1 Countermeasures).
  • Provide active beacon or rectangular rapid flashing beacon (see Chapter 8).

Tier 3 Countermeasures

The goal of Tier 3 countermeasures is to require motorists to stop for crossing bicyclists (and pedestrians) at a pedestrian hybrid beacon or traffic signal or to eliminate the conflict using grade separation (see Section 6.6). These roadways where Tier 3 countermeasures are appropriate have higher volumes and speeds where crossing opportunities are less likely. Tier 3 recommendations require an evaluation of OMUTCD warrants for signalized treatments, see Section 8.2. Where these options are considered, bicyclists must either be ramped from the street to a side path to access pedestrian pushbuttons or pushbuttons or other detection methods must be provided within the street. See Chapter 8 for guidance on beacons and signalization for bicyclists.

6.5 Intersections and Bicycle Crossings

This section discusses the design of bikeways at intersections and crossings. The preferred design treatment at every intersection and crossing should be selected based on the following design principles:

  • Minimize exposure to conflicts
  • Reduce speeds at conflict points
  • Provide adequate sight distance
  • Communicate right of way priority
  • Provide clear transition between bikeway types
  • Accommodate people with disabilities

6.5.1 General Bikeway Design at Intersections & Crossings

Separation of Modes

It is preferred that a bikeway and any physical separation provided along a bikeway be maintained up to intersections. Sections 6.5.2, 6.5.3, and 6.5.6 discuss when additional physical separation may be appropriate based on speeds, volumes, and contexts. In some instances, it may not be feasible to maintain a bikeway and separation to an intersection, which will necessitate specific design considerations and may not maintain the desired level of comfort and safety for the selected bikeway. Chapter 8 provides guidance for separating users through signalization strategies and Chapter 9 provides additional design treatments at complex intersections and roundabouts.

Visibility of All Users

Adequate sight lines are needed between all roadway users as they approach an intersection. Section 3.5 defines sight distance requirements for different intersection scenarios. Due to the mixed nature of traffic at intersections (pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists), the designer should keep in mind the speed of each travel mode and its resulting effect on design values when considering design treatments. The fastest vehicle should be considered for approach speeds (typically the motor vehicle and bicycle) because these modes require the greatest stopping distance. By contrast, for departures from a stopped condition, the characteristics of slower users (typically pedestrians and bicyclists) should be considered due to their greater exposure to cross traffic.

When a separated bike lane or side path is located behind a parking lane, it is typically necessary to restrict parking and other vertical obstructions near a crossing to ensure adequate sight distances are provided. At intersections and driveways with permissive turning movements where bicyclists and motorists are traveling in the same direction, parking restrictions (and the resulting sight distances) are a key consideration. See Section 3.5. At intersections and driveways with stop signs, where motorists must stop before turning across the separated bike lane or side path, the standard parking restricted area adjacent to the intersection (20 ft. minimum from a crosswalk and 30 ft. prior to a traffic control device at per ORC 4511.68 (6), (7)) may be adequate. More discussion of driveways is provided in Section 6.5.8.

Speed Minimization

If conflict points cannot be eliminated, intersection designs should minimize the speed differential between users at the points where travel movements intersect. Reducing speeds, particularly of motor vehicles, at conflict points may allow all users more time to react to avoid a crash and can reduce the severity of a potential injury if a crash does occur. Intersections where bicyclists operate should be designed to prioritize slower-speed turning movements and weaving movements across the path of bicyclists. Treatments for reducing speed and improving safety at conflict points are provided in subsequent sections based on the bikeway type and roadway configuration and Chapter 7 provides design guidance for the various traffic calming treatments as well as a discussion of design and check vehicles for evaluating corner radii.

Communicate Right of Way Priority

Intersection design should provide bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists with cues that both clearly establish which user(s) have the right of way and consistently communicate expected yielding behavior. Traffic control devices should communicate right of way priority through the provision of:

  • Marked pedestrian crossings of bikeways;
  • Marked bicycle crossings (lane extensions) at driveways and intersections;
  • Regulatory or warning signs for motorists and/or bicyclists who are crossing, merging, or turning where appropriate;
  • Signalization where provided.

Regulatory and warning signs will depend on the bikeway type and lane configuration and is discussed for each treatment type. At signalized intersections, bicyclists may be controlled by motor vehicle signals, pedestrian signals, or bicycle signals. A bicycle signal provides a separate indication for the exclusive use of bicyclists. See Chapter 8 for bicycle signalization design considerations.

Intersection Pavement Markings

Intersection pavement markings are used to highlight conflict areas and aid bicyclist navigation. Table 6-10 summarizes the preferred pavement markings based on the intersection and bikeway type.

Bicycle Crossing Markings (Lane Extension Lines)

Where a bikeway crosses an intersection separate from a crosswalk, bikeway lane markings may be extended through the intersection to delineate the bicycle crossing and raise awareness of the presence of bicyclists. Bike lane crossings are desirable to:

  • Delineate a preferred path for people bicycling through the intersection, especially crossings of wide or complex intersections,
  • Improve the legibility of the bike crossing to roadway users, and
  • Encourage motorist yielding behavior, where motorists must merge or turn across the path of a bicyclist.

Figure 6-26 provides design details for bicycle crossing markings. Bicycle crossings should consist of dotted extensions lines, which should at least match the width of the line it is extending. 6 inches is a typical width for a bicycle dotted extension line, but wider extension lines should be considered to further emphasize the crossing and improve the longevity of the markings. Bicycle lane symbols may be added within lane extension lines to communicate the directionality of the bike lane, which may be beneficial in areas where two-way separated bike lanes or counter flow bike lanes are present.

Table 6-10: Bicycle Crossing and Intersection Markings Selection Guidelines

Intersection Type Condition Separated Bicycle Lane

Conventional/Buffered Bike Lane

Bicycle Boulevard


Turn Conflict

Bars Bars No Markings

No Turn Conflict

Dashes Dashes No Markings

Bikeway Corridor Turns Left

Bike arrow Bike arrow Bike arrow left

High Turning Volume

Bars Bars No Markings*

All other conditions

Bars Dashes No Markings

Bikeway Corridor Turns Left

Bike arrow Bike arrow No Markings

*Additional treatment may be needed

Bicycle crossings may also be supplemented with green-colored pavement. If used, the green- colored pavement should align with the dotted extension line pattern of the dotted edge lines. If the green-colored bike crossings are proposed parallel to pedestrian crosswalks comprised of wide longitudinal lines (i.e., high visibility crosswalks) the dotted extension lines and green- colored pavement should align with the crosswalk markings. See Figure 6-26. This placement will reduce pavement marking clutter and ensure that the green-colored markings are spaced to avoid motorist wheel paths and improve the longevity of the markings.

At locations where the bicycle crossing is less than 1 ft. from the pedestrian crossing, the dotted extension line nearest the pedestrian crossing can be removed, allowing the edge of the crosswalk to serve as the edge of the bicycle crossing.

Figure 6-26: Bicycle Crossing Pavement Markings

Figure 6-26

Two-Stage Bike Turn Box (Interim Approval)

Figure 6-27 designates an area at an intersection intended to provide bicyclists a place to wait for traffic to clear before proceeding in a different direction of travel. To use the two-stage bike turn box, bicyclists traverse the intersection within the bike lane, stop within the turn box, reorient themselves to the cross street, and wait for the signal for the cross street to proceed, eliminating the need to merge across travel lanes.

Two-stage bicycle turn boxes may be used for left or right turns, and its use is preferred for making turns instead of a bike box (see Section below), particularly on higher-volume or multi-lane roads. A two-stage bike turn box may be used at signalized intersections per FHWA Interim Approval IA-20.12. The use of a two-stage turn box at an unsignalized intersection is not an approved use of this treatment and would require an experimental approval from FHWA.

Two-stage turn boxes should be installed where a bikeway intersects with another designated bikeway or where it would connect to a major destination, such as a school, community center, grocery store, etc. When designing a buffered or separated bike lane, designers should plan on installing two-stage turn boxes at most intersections to discourage merging with traffic to make a left turn before reaching intersections. When designing a conventional bike lane, if the volume or speed of the adjacent roadway is more than 6,000 ADT or 30 mph, designers should consider installing two-stage turn boxes at intersections.

Figure 6-27: Two-Stage Bike Turn Box Pavement Markings

Figure 6-27

Figure 6-28: Two-Stage Left Turn Box Placement

Figure 6-28

A two-stage bike turn box:

  • Must be located outside of the path of through and turning traffic;
  • Should be located adjacent to the direct path of bicyclist travel;
  • Should be located downstream of the crosswalk and downstream of the stop line;
  • Should be located in an area clearly visible to motorists and adequately illuminated;
  • Must include a bicycle symbol, preferably oriented in the direction in which the bicyclists enter the box, along with an arrow showing the direction of the turn; and
  • May include green-colored pavement or pavement markings to enhance the conspicuity of the box.

A NO TURN ON RED (R10-11) sign shall be installed where a two-stage bike turn box is not located outside the path of right-turning traffic to prevent motorists from entering the bicycle queuing area. The placement must also consider left- turning traffic that may otherwise overlap with the two-stage bike turn box. Passive detection of bicycles in the two-stage bike turn box must be provided if detection is required to actuate a traffic signal.

Two-stage bicycle turn box dimensions vary based on the street operating conditions, the presence or absence of a parking lane, traffic volumes and speeds, and available street space. The queuing area should be a minimum of 6.5 ft. deep measured in the longitudinal direction of bicycles sitting in the box. The box must be outlined with solid white lines.

Figure 6-29: Bicycle Box Configuration Across One Lane of Through Traffic

Figure 6-29

Bike Boxes (Interim Approval)

A bicycle box is a designated area on the approach to a signalized intersection consisting of an advanced stop line and bicycle symbol. Bike boxes mitigate conflicts between through bicyclists and right-turning motorists, reduce conflicts between motorists and bicyclists at the beginning of the green signal phase, and provide additional queuing space for bicyclists. Bike boxes should not be installed across more than one through travel lane with the intention of accommodating bicyclist turns; however, FHWA Interim Approval IA-18.10 does permit this installation with certain conditions. A two-stage bicycle turn box should instead be used to accommodate bicyclist turns. The use of bike boxes is limited to signalized intersections and should not be used in other locations.

At least one bicycle symbol should be placed in the box to indicate it is for bicycle use. Bike boxes should be a minimum of 10 ft. in depth and may be larger depending on anticipated bicyclist volumes. At least 50 ft. of bike lane should be provided on the approach to a bike box so bicyclists will not need to ride between lanes to enter the box. The approaching bike lane, and the bike box, may be colored green.

The stop line for motorists should be set back to coincide with the beginning of the bike box. The sign STOP HERE ON RED (R10-6 or R10-6A), aligned with the motorist stop line, should be installed to indicate the correct stopping location for motorists, with an EXCEPT BICYCLES (R3-7bP) word legend plaque. The sign STOP HERE ON RED (R10-6 or R10-6A) should not be used in locations with a separate turn lane where motorists are stopping in two different locations (see Figure 6-29).

Turns on red should be prohibited on the approach where a bike box is placed in front of traffic that has potential to turn on red, using a NO TURN ON RED sign (R10-11 series). At intersections where a high number of collisions occur between through bicyclists and turning vehicles, alternative treatments should be considered such as a protected intersection (see Section 6.5.2), leading or exclusive bicycle signal phases (see Chapter 8), separate lanes for through and turning traffic, or a combination of these and other treatments.

6.5.2 Separated Bike Lanes at Intersection Design

A protected intersection (discussed below) is the preferred intersection treatment for separated bike lanes and side paths. When intersections are constrained, designers should consider the following in the order listed:

  1. Reduce each roadway element (motor vehicle lanes, buffers, separated bike lanes, and sidewalk) to its minimum dimensions or minimum number of travel lanes necessary.
  2. Eliminate the sidewalk buffer while still providing a detectable edge adjacent to the road for pedestrians with disabilities (see Chapter 4).
  3. Provide a conventional bike lane or mixing zone (not appropriate for side paths or two-way separated bike lanes) by transitioning the separated bike lane to:
    • A conventional bike lane with an optional bicycle ramp to the sidewalk for roadways with operating speeds of 35mph or greater. If local jurisdictions prohibit bicycle use on sidewalks, this option is limited to when the ramp leads to a side path or shared use path or requires a sign to indicate that a bicyclist must dismount and walk their bike.
    • A conventional bike lane or shared lane for roadways with operating speeds of less than 35 mph.
  4. These options are further discussed below and in Section 6.5.3 for conventional bike lane designs.

General Intersection Design

The principles and basic pavement marking treatments of intersection design are covered in Section 6.5.1. This section covers only issues that are unique to separated bike lane and side path intersection designs.

Reducing Speed at Conflict Points

Where motorists are permitted to turn across the path of bicyclists, intersections should be designed to reduce motorist turning speeds. Designers should apply the following treatments for reducing motorist turning speeds when feasible based on the roadway context:

  • At protected intersections, the effective radius of the intersection corner plays a significant role in determining the speed at which turning motorists may negotiate the corner. See the Protected Intersection section below and Chapter 7 for design information regarding reducing turning speed through the use of corner islands, truck apron treatments, and design and check vehicles.
  • The speed of left-turning motorists crossing a bikeway should also be considered. Channelizing devices such as median islands and hardened centerlines (see Chapter 7) can be used to establish a smaller turning radius, reducing the speed of motorists, which can improve yielding and reduce the severity of crashes.
  • Raised crossings can also be an effective treatment for reducing both left and right turning vehicle speeds, increase visibility of bicyclists, and increase yielding behavior of motorists. See Chapter 7 and the bike ramp discussion in Section 6.3.8.

It may also be necessary to slow the speed of bicyclists approaching an intersection, especially where the grade of the roadway will frequently result in a higher speed of travel.

  • Bending the bike lane away from the adjacent motor vehicle lane is preferred, as this creates a larger offset at the intersection from turning vehicles, while also introducing horizontal deflection in the bike lane. The offset may also allow for the provision of a corner island or protected intersection. The horizontal deflection should follow the bicycle taper rate design criteria specified in Chapter 3 using the desired operating speed.
  • Where horizontal deflection is not feasible due to geometric constraints, designers may consider vertical deflection for bicyclists, raising the elevation of the bikeway to reduce their speed as they approach an intersection. See the following Transitions between Elevations section for vertical deflection design parameters.

Transitioning Bikeways between Elevations

Separated bike lanes may transition from one elevation to another in order to accommodate:

  • Raised crossings at intersections,
  • A vertical deflection to slow bicyclists as they approach an intersection, and
  • At loading/unloading areas that prioritize pedestrians such as accessible parking, valet parking, transit stops, or ridesharing pick-up/drop-off

The ramp for the bicyclist should provide a smooth vertical transition with a maximum slope of 8 percent; however, a 5 percent slope is generally preferred. For side paths, any transitions must be consistent with pedestrian accessibility guidelines. Speed hump markings should be used on bicycle ramps to allow the ramp to be more visible to bicyclists. Transition ramps should typically not be located within a lateral shift or curve in the bike lane alignment near an intersection. Transition ramps may impact drainage flow and require additional storm sewer infrastructure.

Restricting Motor Vehicles

Separated bike lane and side paths should be marked with bicycle crossings (Figure 6-26) and crosswalks (Section 4.5.1), respectively, at intersections and driveways. These marked crossing treatments are often sufficient to communicate that motor vehicles are not the intended user of the bikeway. Bicycle lane symbol markings (Section 6.3.4) located close to an intersection or driveway can further reinforce the intended user. Green-colored pavement or markings in the bicycle crossing and/or close to an intersection or driveway can further enhance the conspicuity and reinforce that vehicles are not authorized.

KEEP RIGHT or KEEP LEFT signs (R4-7, R4-8), supplemented with an optional EXCEPT BIKES plaque (Section 6.3.4), can be installed in the street buffer to reinforce that motorists should not enter the bikeway.

If the above-mentioned treatments have been implemented and found to be ineffective, changes to the width of the separated bike lane or side path may be considered. Visually narrowing the width of the bikeway using white edge lines should first be considered. For one-way separated bike lanes, the use of flexible delineators or other vertical elements (Section 6.3.7) may be used to narrow the physical width of a one-way separated bike lane to no more than 6 ft. at intersections and driveways, but these treatments should not be placed in the middle of a one-way separated bike lane. For two-way separated bike lanes or side paths, if the above treatments are found to be ineffective, the treatments from Section 5.6.1 may be considered. A two-way separated bike lane may include a flexible delineator post on the centerline at intersections as a temporary measure to acclimate drivers to the lane configuration and then the flexible delineator can be removed once driver education has occurred.

Protected Intersection

Protected intersections maintain bicyclist separation in a separated bike lane or side path up to the intersection using corner islands (vertical elements or curbing) to separate bicyclists from traffic. The design principle may be used at signalized and unsignalized intersections and driveways.

At uncontrolled approaches of intersections and at signalized intersections where turning vehicles and bicycle through movements are expected, designers should offset the bicycle crossing between 6 and 16.5 ft. from the adjacent motor vehicle lane. This treatment creates a yielding space for motorists and has been shown to reduce crashes at uncontrolled and permissive conflict locations. Figure 6-30 shows the design components for a protected intersection.

Designers should consider using a text-only TURNING VEHICLES YIELD TO PEDESTRIANS AND BICYCLES sign to communicate when turning motorists need to yield to these street users.

Figure 6-30: Protected Intersection Design Components

Figure 6-30

Corner Island

Figure 6-30 shows the corner islands in a protected intersection. The corner island is a key component of a protected intersection, which provides the following benefits:

  • Helps establish the horizontal offset between the adjacent motor vehicle lane and the bike crossing, creating a motorist yield zone,
  • Provides a defined intersection corner to slow turning vehicles,
  • Positions bicyclists waiting to cross ahead of the adjacent motor vehicle lane via an advanced bicycle stop line, allowing bicyclists to be more visible,
  • Creates queuing space for bicyclists making a two-stage turn, outside of the path of through bicyclists, thus eliminating the need for some two-stage bicycle turn boxes, and
  • Allows for a pedestrian crossing island, shortening the crossing length and reducing exposure.

Corner islands may be constructed of concrete and curbing, or may be constructed with low-cost materials, such as paint and flexible delineator posts or engineered rubber curbs and/or rubber speed cushion (see Figure 6-31). If a corner island is constructed of mountable materials, such as rubber speed cushions, designers should understand that the forward queuing area for bicyclists and pedestrian crossing islands may no longer be protected from turning motorists and should therefore be removed. Where flex posts or other vertical elements are used, they should be placed at least 1 ft. offset from the turning radius of design vehicles at all intersection and driveways, See Chapter 7 for determining intersection curb radii.

Figure 6-31: Protected Corner Treatment Examples: Concrete Corner Island (left) and Flexible Delineators and Rubber Parking Stops (right)

Figure 6-31

Pedestrian Considerations

When the street buffer is at least 6 ft. in width, it may be used as a pedestrian crossing island, which can shorten the pedestrian crossing distance. In this case, pedestrians would cross the separated bike lane as an uncontrolled crossing, then cross the motor vehicle lanes as a separate crossing.

When the pedestrian crossing is located at a signalized intersection, the designer can consider reducing the signal timing for the pedestrian crossing to reflect this shorter crossing distance only if the pedestrian pushbuttons are located within the pedestrian crossing island. Yield markings, BIKES YIELD TO PEDS (R9-6) signs, and crosswalk markings should indicate the right of way between bicyclists and pedestrians at these locations.

When the street buffer is less than 6 ft. in width and there is not space for a pedestrian crossing island, the crossing distance cannot be shortened, and any associated signal timing must be calculated for the entire street width.

When on-street parking is located along a corridor, normal parking restrictions at intersections will allow space for a wider street buffer as the separated bike lane approaches the intersection. When there is no parking along the corridor, an offset can be created by narrowing or removing the sidewalk buffer and increasing the width of the street buffer as the separated bike lane approaches the intersection (i.e., bending the bikeway out, away from the adjacent travel lanes).

Separated Bike Lanes with Mixing Zones at Intersections

Where protected intersections are not viable, or where separate signal phasing cannot be provided between right-turning motor vehicles and bicycles, the following mixing zone options may be considered for separated bike lanes at intersections. Mixing zones create a defined merge point for a motorist to yield and cross paths with a bicyclist in advance of an intersection. They require removal of the physical separation between the separated bike lane and the motor vehicle travel lane, and are therefore generally appropriate as an interim/retrofit solution or in situations where right-of-way constraints make it infeasible to provide a protected intersection.

The speed of motor vehicles at the merge point is a critical factor for the safety and comfort of bicyclists in mixing zones to accommodate the Interested but Concerned Bicyclist profile. The following strategies can be used to reduce speeds of motor vehicles entering the merge point:

  • Minimize the length of the merge area to slow motorists prior to the conflict area.
  • Locate the merge point as close as practical to the intersection.
  • Minimize the length of the storage portion of the turn lane based on anticipated vehicle queue length (see L&D Manual Volume 1, Section 401.6.3).
  • Provide a buffer and physical separation (e.g., flexible delineator posts) from the adjacent through lane after the merge area, if feasible.
  • Highlight the conflict area with a green-colored pavement and dotted bike lane markings, as necessary, or shared lane markings. See Figure 6-32.

Figure 6-32: Separated Bike Lane to the Left of a Right-Turn Lane (left) or Transitioning to a Shared Right-Turn Lane (right)

Figure 6-32

6.5.3 Bicycle Lanes at Intersection Design

As a bicycle lane approaches an intersection, designers should provide a continuous and direct route through the intersection, driveway, or alley that is legible to all users of the roadway. Designers should minimize or eliminate conflict areas between bicyclists and motor vehicles, where possible. To minimize the potential for conflicts, designers should adhere to the following design principles:

  • Designers should communicate where motorist are expected to yield to bicyclists.
  • Bicycles should not operate between turning lanes and moving lanes with traffic operating over 30 mph on either side of them for distances longer than 200 ft. (see further discussion in the Right Turn Only Lanes section).
  • Bicycle crossings of weaving or merging movements by motor vehicles operating over 20 mph should be avoided or minimized to a length of 200 ft. or less.
  • It is preferable for motorists merging and crossing movements across bike lanes be confined to a location where motor vehicles are likely to be traveling at speeds less than 20 mph.
  • It is preferable for bicycle crossings of intersections to be marked (see Section 6.5.1. General Bikeway Design at Intersections & Crossings)

A conventional or buffered bike lane can be transitioned to a protected bike lane and follow the design of a protected intersection to increase the comfort of the bikeway at the intersection. Designers should consider this design as operating speeds reach 35 mph or higher. See Chapter 3 for bicycle lane taper rates and Section 6.5.2 for protected intersection design. When a protected intersection is not feasible for operating speeds of 35 mph or greater or motor vehicle turning volumes exceed 150 turning vehicles per hour, a bicycle ramp (Section 6.3.8) should be considered to give bicyclists a choice to exit the roadway to a side path or sidewalk prior to the intersection.

Approach Markings

Bike lane lines may be solid or dotted on the approach to and within intersections where motor vehicles are permitted to enter a bike lane to prepare for a turning, crossing, or merging maneuver.

The choice between a solid or dotted lane line should be based on several factors including the speed and volume of turning vehicles, the presence of bus stops and frequency of transit use, and the types of vehicles that may cross or enter the bike lane (see Figure 6-6). A key consideration is the legibility of the bike lane network to both bicyclists and drivers and consistency of application within a community.

At locations with infrequent conflicts, the bike lanes should remain solid to the intersections. Dotted lane lines should be used to delineate conflict areas within the bike lane at locations where:

  • intersections are signalized and bicyclists and motorists operate concurrently.
  • where right turn lanes are not provided and turning motorist volumes are high.
  • buses frequently cross the bike lane at transit stops.

As buffered bike lanes approach intersections, the buffer should not be marked where motorists must cross or enter the bike lane and a bicycle crossing should be considered. Where bike crossings are marked, the bike crossing should be widened to match the width of the full bike lane and buffer. Where a bike crossing is not marked, the buffer should be discontinued by dropping the inside lane line along the bike lane as shown in Figure 6-33 to ensure the motor vehicle travel lane is provided a continuous edge line. As buffered bike lanes approach intersections with shared through/right lanes, the buffer may terminate as shown in Figure 6-34.

Shared Through/Right Motor Vehicle Lanes

When bicycle lanes are present on two-lane roadways, designers should see the Approach Marking guidance above for when to provide a solid or dotted line at the intersection approach.

Figure 6-33: Buffered Bike Lane Treatments at Merge Areas

Figure 6-33

Figure 6-34: Buffered Bike Lane Treatments Approaching Intersections

Figure 6-34

At intersection approaches with limited space where a right-turn lane is not required but there are relatively high right-turn volumes (more than 150 vehicles during the peak hour) or an existing crash history, designers should consider converting the conventional bike lane to a separated bike lane by adding a 2 ft. wide minimum buffer with flexible delineator posts beginning at least 50 ft. in advance of the intersection to provide added comfort for bicyclists, slow the speed of turning motorist, and reduce the length of the conflict area (see Figure 6-35). Signal phase separation of bicyclists and motorists should be considered, but if concurrent movements are permitted a bike box or forward bicyclist queuing area should be considered.

Figure 6-35: Bicycle Lane Treatment for high turning volumes from a shared through/right motor vehicle lane

Figure 6-35

Right Turn Only Lanes

Vehicular right turn only lanes are often used where higher volumes of right-turning motor vehicles warrant an exclusive right turn lane to increase motor vehicle capacity at intersections or for safety benefits. As right turn volumes increase, the potential for conflicts between bicyclists and motor vehicles also increases at merging or crossing locations.

The following are common scenarios for bike lane approaches to intersections with right turn lanes. These scenarios and subsequent treatments are discussed in order of most separated to least separated. Designers should work to provide the highest level of separation feasible to both accommodate the Interested but Concerned user and reduce motorists and bicyclists conflict points.

Figure 6-36: Example Bike Lane Approach to a Right Turn Only Lane

Figure 6-36

Right-Turn Only Lane with Separated Bike Lane

At signalized intersections where a right-turn lane is provided, the bike lane can transition to a separated bike lane with the provision of a separate bicycle crossing signal phase. See Figure 6-36.

Bicycle Lane Adjacent to a Right Turn Only

On roadways when a right-turn only lane is added on the approach to an intersection by either widening or by restricting on-street parking, drivers must yield to bicyclists when merging across the bicycle lane into the right-turn lane. To reduce bicyclist exposure on roadways with operating speeds of 35mph or less (see Figure 6-37) and turn lanes less than 200 ft. in length, designers should:

  • Mark the merging area with dotted pavement markings for no length greater than 200 ft.
  • Mark the merging area where motorists’ speeds are lower, typically within 400 ft. of the intersection. For these locations, designers should:
  • Provide the ‘BEGIN RIGHT-TURN LANE YIELD TO BIKES’ (R4-4) signs to remind drivers of yielding obligations.
  • Add green colored pavement to highlight the conflict area and reinforce that drivers should yield to bicyclists.

Figure 6-37: Example Bike Lanes on Streets under 35 mph with Right Turn lanes < 200 Ft. in Length

Figure 6-37

  • Include vertical elements, such as medians or flexible delineators, between the bike lane and through lane to force motorists to enter the turn lane at the clearly defined beginning, thus providing a more predictable conflict point.

On roadways with operating speeds over 35 mph (see Figure 6-38), or at locations where right turn lanes exceed 200 ft. in length, designers should also:

  • Provide a bicycle lane as wide as possible, with a bike lane width of 6 ft. or greater and a minimum 2 ft. buffer on either side. In constrained locations, the minimum bike lane width is 4 ft. with a minimum 2 ft. buffer adjacent to the through traffic lane.
  • Consider providing a bicycle ramp to allow bicyclists to exit the roadway to an off-street bikeway or sidewalk prior to the merge area, if desired.
  • Consider providing mountable medians or flexible delineators within the buffer adjacent to the through travel lane (where present) to prevent motorist encroachment into the bike lane and constrain the motorists merging area across the bike lane.

Figure 6-38: Example Bike Lanes on Streets over 35 mph or Right Turn Lanes > 200 ft. in Length

Figure 6-38

Figure 6-39: Through Lane Drops to Right Turn Lane with Bike Lane

Where buffered bike lanes or bike ramps to an off-street bikeway or sidewalk are not feasible for roadways with operating speeds greater than 35 mph or right turn lanes that exceed 200 ft. in length, the bike lane may remain along the curb until it is within 400 ft. of the intersection, at which points the bike lane shall transition to the left side of the right turn lane, as shown in Figure 6-39.

Through Lane Transitions to a Right Turn Only Lane

Figure 6-39 shows an intersection where a through travel lane becomes a right turn only lane or an auxiliary lane. In this scenario, the bicyclist must transition to the left side of the turn lane. This is a challenging maneuver for bicyclists, and it increases crash risk as traffic speeds exceed 30 mph and motorist volumes increase. To compensate for this, the bike lane should remain along the curb until it is within 400 ft. of the intersection. The bike lane drops at this point and is re-introduced on the left side of the right turn lane. Design treatments should be selected based on the operating speeds:

  • Operating speeds less than 35 mph - shared lane markings may be used to delineate the likely path of travel of bicyclists transitioning to the shared lane and then into the bike lane. The bike lane should not be striped diagonally across the travel lane, as this inappropriately suggests to bicyclists that they do not need to yield to motorists when moving laterally. In this situation, the BEGIN RIGHT TURN YIELD TO BIKES (R4-4) sign should not be used, since bicyclists are the users who need to yield as they are weaving across the path of motor vehicle traffic. A BICYCLE warning sign (W11-1) or BICYCLES MERGE sign should be placed where the curb side bike lane ends.
  • Operating speeds over 35 mph - a bicycle ramp should be considered to allow bicyclists to exit the roadway, if desired, to an off-street bikeway or sidewalk prior to the merge area.

Bike Lane Ends to Develop a Right Turn Lane

If there is insufficient space for a bike lane and a right turn only lane, designers must select from three primary design alternatives. Bicyclists often prefer to operate within the lane that has a lower traffic volume, experiences less queueing, and has lower operating speeds than the adjacent lane. Designers should select the treatment that maximizes bicyclist safety and comfort:

  • Bike Lane Transitions to a Shared Right-Turn Lane - If the right turn only lane is best suited for bicyclists, the adjacent travel lane should be narrowed to the minimum width allowed by the L&D Manual Volume 1 to maximize the width of the turn lane for shared operation. At locations where the right turn lane is 14 ft. or less in width and posted speeds are less than 35 mph, shared lane markings may be located within the center or left-most portion of the turn lane (See Figure 6-40).
  • Bike Lane Transitions to a Shared Through Lane - At locations where the right turn lane experiences extensive or frequent queuing or there is no bike lane present on the downstream side of the intersection, and has operating speeds below 35 mph, the shared lane markings may be located within the right-most through lane instead of within the right-turn lane. In these locations, the shared lane markings should be located following the guidance provided in Section 6.3.1 and Figure 6-3.

Figure 6-40: Example Right Turn Only Lane with Shared Lane Markings

Figure 6-40

  • Bike Lane Transitions to an Off-Street Bikeway or Sidewalk - At locations where operational speeds exceed 35 mph or motorist volumes exceed 150 turning vehicles per hour, a bicycle ramp should be considered to allow bicyclists to exit the roadway to an off-street bikeway (separated bike lane or side path) prior to the termination of the bike lane.

Dual Right Turn Only Lanes

Avoid installing dual right turns on streets with bicycle lanes. If dual right turn lanes are necessary to accommodate heavy right-turn volumes, a designer should transition the bike lane to a separated bike lane or side path in advance of the intersection (see Figure 6-36). The high right turn volumes will require the provision of a separate bike crossing phase (see Chapter 8).

If the bike lane cannot be transitioned to a separated bike lane, shared lane markings may be located in the adjacent through lane if posted speeds are less than 40 mph.

6.5.4 Raised Bike Lanes at Intersections

At locations where bike lanes are raised and located near adjacent travel lanes, it will be necessary for the raised bike lane to transition to a street level bike lane, shared lane, or to a sidewalk, side path or separated bike lane (see Figure 6-41).

It is preferable to transition the raised bike lane to bend away from the travel lane to form a protected intersection where space allows to minimize conflicts with turning motorists (Option 1).

Where it is determined to transition the raised bike lane to a standard bike lane or shared lane, that transition should occur 50 ft. to 200 ft. prior to the intersection (Option 2). A bike ramp should be considered to allow bicyclists to transition to the adjacent sidewalk or side path at locations where bicyclist may encounter high volumes of motorized traffic.

Figure 6-41: Intersection Approach Options for Raised Bike Lanes

Figure 6-41

Where protected intersections are not feasible, the raised bike lane should transition to street level. It is preferable for the raised bike lane to continue to the intersection and return to street level on a ramp within 10 ft. of a pedestrian crosswalk (Option 3). This option is only applicable when the bike movement is phase separated (see Chapter 8).

6.5.5 Counter flow Bike Lanes Intersection Design

At intersecting streets, alleys, and major driveways, DO NOT ENTER (R5-1) signs and turn restriction signs should include a supplemental plaque reading EXCEPT BICYCLES to establish that the street is two-way for bicyclists and to remind motorists to expect two-way bicycle traffic. At traffic signals, signal heads and suitable bicycle detection measures should be provided for counter flow bicyclists. If bicycle specific lenses are not used, a supplemental plaque reading BICYCLE SIGNAL may be needed beneath the signal to clarify its purpose. Bicycle crossing may be marked to further emphasize the counter flow movement of bicyclists to motorists.

Counter-flow transitions should normally occur at intersections or locations where bicyclists may return to normal two-way travel or naturally transition to the correct side of the street in another bikeway. If transitions are not made at logical locations, bicyclists may continue to ride counter flow in a shared lane, in a bicycle lane, or on a sidewalk which can substantially increase their crash risk.

Figure 6-42: Signing for Counter-flow Bike Lanes

Figure 6-42

6.5.6 Bicycle Boulevard Intersections and Crossings

Low-stress Intersection Crossings

An important principle of bicycle boulevards is to ensure that street crossings maintain the low- stress nature of the bikeway with minimal delay. Many of the intersections a bicyclist will cross will be local streets crossing other local streets. These are commonly all-way or two-way stop or yield-controlled, fully uncontrolled, or fully uncontrolled with traffic circles (see Chapter 7). Frequent stopping along a bicycle boulevard can significantly increase the bicyclist’s total ride time and may result in reduced stop sign compliance where stops are closely spaced and crossing traffic volumes are low. For a bicycle boulevard to function as an alternative route to a parallel arterial, it should provide a similar travel time for the bicyclist as they would experience on the parallel arterial. In many cases, achieving this outcome may involve intersection control changes along the bicycle boulevard.

Traffic Controls for Minor Street Crossings:

  • Limit locations where stop control is used on the bicycle boulevard to less than one location per half mile (in the direction of travel along the bicycle boulevard). Yield controls are preferable to stop controls as it allows bicyclist to slow and assess the cross traffic without having to stop and restart.
  • On long corridors with a frequent application of all-way or two-way stop control, efficiency of the bicycle boulevard can be improved by removing stop controls on the bicycle boulevard and requiring the cross street to stop or yield, or by utilizing mini-roundabouts.
  • Parking restriction signs may be necessary to provide the required sight distance at intersections where stop signs are removed or where yield control is provided.
  • Consider supplementing STOP or YIELD signs with either CROSS TRAFFIC DOES NOT STOP (W4- 4P) signs and Bicycle Guide Signs. When used, Bicycle Guide Signs shall be installed on a separate post than the STOP sign.

Designers should be aware that the removal of stop signs can result in increased motor vehicle speeds and volumes. When bicycle boulevards run parallel to a congested arterial or are the only route through an area with few connecting streets, it may attract cut-through motorized traffic. Designers should consider traffic calming or diversion treatments to discourage or prevent increased traffic volume, speeds, or both (see Chapter 7).

Traffic Controls for Major Street Crossings:
Major street crossings along bicycle boulevards can be significant barriers. At intersections where a bicycle boulevard crosses an arterial road, or any other major road where the bicycle boulevard is stop- or yield-controlled, an uncontrolled crossing of the major roadway is common. Where traffic signals are not present, additional crossing measures may be needed to ensure bicyclists can continue along the route. Designers should ensure that there are sufficient crossing opportunities (see Table 6-8) and apply appropriate countermeasures as needed (see Section 6.4). Chapter 8 provides design guidance for beacon and signal countermeasures. Bicycle boulevards are commonly used by families with children because they often originate in neighborhoods and provide connections between neighborhoods. At major streets, bicycle boulevard crossings may also be used by pedestrians. For these reasons, intersection crossings should assume pedestrians are crossing and include crosswalk markings, along with other appropriate design measures to accommodate pedestrian and bicycle crossings. Designers should be guided by the following performance criteria when evaluating and designing bicycle boulevard crossings at major intersections:

  • Crossing time and acceleration should accommodate pedestrians and child bicyclists (Section 3.3.1 and Section 3.5.2 - Case D)
  • Sight distance eye height should be based on recumbent bicyclist (Section 3.5)

In some instances, active beacons or traffic signals may be present to control the major street. At intersections with bicycle boulevards, it may be desirable to allow coordinated traffic signals to operate on half signal cycle lengths or to operate in “free” or uncoordinated mode during off-peak hours to reduce delays for bicyclists and provide frequent service (see Chapter 8).

Offset Intersections:

Along a bicycle boulevard, there may be discontinuities in the street grid. In order to continue, a bicyclist may be required to turn or travel for a brief distance on a roadway with higher motorist volumes and/or speeds. Without comfortable crossing treatments, offset intersection with these streets become a barrier along the corridor. In general, designers should select a bikeway for the major street based on the bikeway selection criteria identified in Figure 3-3 and follow the guidance for traffic control devices at major crossings in this section. Example connections could be a bicycle lane with two-stage turn boxes (Section 6.5.1) or a two-way separated bike lane or side path connection as shown in Figure 6-43.

Figure 6-43: Reserved for Future Use

6.5.7 Paved Shoulder Intersection Design

Designers can transition a shoulder to a bicycle lane prior to intersections and driveways, and then transition back to a paved shoulder. Figure 6-44 shows an example of introducing a bike lane at an intersection where a right turn lane is present. For instances where a dedicated right turn lane is not present, see Section 6.5.3. Designers should follow signing and striping design in Section 6.3.4 and 6.5.3. Transitioning a paved shoulder to a separated bikeway at intersections may be desirable at locations near high-speed exit and entrance ramps to highways, or along high-volume, high-speed rural arterials with long deceleration, and right turn lanes where on-street bike lanes are not a preferred treatment.

When paved shoulders are not transitioned into bicycle lanes, bicyclists crossing an intersection from the paved shoulder or merging into the adjacent travel lane to turn left, continue straight, or turn right on to a roadway without a shoulder must yield to all vehicles within the roadway. As noted previously, the yielding requirements for vehicles traveling along the paved shoulder may not be clear to all roadway users. At a minimum, a regulatory sign reinforcing Ohio state law should be posted stating “BICYCLIST ON SHOULDER MUST YIELD” when the paved shoulder is wide enough to allow for bicycle use and it is a designated bikeway, such as a state and U.S. bicycle route, or where bicyclists are expected. The paved shoulder striping should not taper towards the cross street at intersections, but it can transition to a dotted edge line where motorists are expected to use the paved shoulder to begin their turning movement. Figure 6-44 shows both of the above described conditions for typical paved shoulder designs to accommodate bicycling.

Bypass lanes at T-intersections of two-lane roadways can be incorporated, so as to facilitate the passing of motorists stopped to make left turns onto intersecting roads. Where this is done on a highway with paved shoulders, a minimum of 4ft. of shoulder pavement should be carried through the intersection along the outside of the bypass lane and designated as a bike lane. This is especially critical on roadways with higher volumes and operating speeds where bicyclists operating on the shoulder are likely to be in conflict with bypass lanes. See Figure 6-45.

Figure 6-44: Example Paved Shoulder Markings to Accommodate Bicycling

Figure 6-44

Figure 6-45: Motorist Bypass Lane with Bicycle Lane

Figure 6-45

6.5.8 Driveway and Alley Crossings

When on-street bike lanes cross driveways, the bike lane may be continued with solid white lines, if driveway volumes are low, or bicycle crossing markings may be provided at higher volume driveways. Table 6-11 identifies treatments for roadways based on motor vehicle volumes with the goal of both reinforcing right of way operations and slowing turning motorists crossing bikeways as conflicts increase. Driveway volume ranges shown in Table 6-11 should be used as a guide and may be adjusted based on land use context and roadway characteristics.

For all driveways, the design of the intersection between the driveway and a separated bike lane or side path should clearly communicate that bicyclists and pedestrians have the right of way by continuing the surface treatment of the bikeway across the driveway.

Where separated bike lanes or side paths intersect with high-volume driveways, crossings should be designed according to the protected intersection design principles (see Sections 6.5.1 and 6.5.2). At driveways where it is not possible to provide a protected intersection, or where there are other constraints or safety concerns, designers should take additional measures to increase the visibility of bicyclists to turning motorists, and to reinforce yielding behaviors. Some or all the following measures can be taken:

Table 6-11: Driveway & Alley Treatments along Roadways

Driveway Volume


Elevation Considerations

Driveway Design Considerations

<200 veh/day

Bike lane markings should be maintained across driveway. Bike Crossing Markings may be used

Bike lane may be located at any elevation

A concrete driveway apron should be used

200-500 veh/day

Bike Crossing Markings should be used. Green-colored markings are allowed

Bike lanes may be located at any elevation

A concrete driveway apron should be used

>500 veh/day

Bike Crossing Markings should be used. Green-colored markings should be considered

Bike lanes may be at any elevation, but intermediate- or sidewalk- level bike lanes should be considered

A concrete driveway apron should be used. Where separated bike lanes or sidepaths are provided, the street buffer width should be between 6 and 16.5 ft.

*Green-Colored pavement is permitted for use with Interim Approval from FHWA. (See Section 1.2.2)

  • Raised crossings for bicyclists and pedestrians should be considered to increase motorist yielding behavior. See Chapters 4 and 7.
  • Sight distances should be kept clear to ensure motorists exiting the driveway can see oncoming bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists before leaving the driveway, and that motorists entering the driveway can see bicyclists and pedestrians approaching the driveway entrance and yield appropriately. Designers must consider if motorists will be permitted to block a separated bike lane to view approaching motor vehicle traffic (see Section 3.5.2 – Case C).
  • Designers should minimize the width of driveways and consider access management strategies along separated bike lane routes to minimize the number and frequency of driveway crossings.

For corridors with on-street parking and commercial driveways spaced 100 ft. apart or less, designers should consider eliminating on-street parking between these driveways to maximize sight distances. For higher-volume commercial driveways, adjacent on-street parking must be eliminated to provide the adequate sight distance (see Section 3.5).

6.6 Overcrossings and Underpasses

As discussed in Chapters 4 and 5, grade-separated crossings may be necessary for bicyclists to cross common barriers such as freeways, arterials, and railroads. Designers should refer to Section 4.7 and 5.4 for details and design considerations.

6.7 Work Zone Bicycle Accommodations

Construction projects often disrupt the public’s mobility and access. Proper planning for bicyclists through and along work zones is as important as planning for motor vehicle traffic. The OMUTCD (6A.01) states that, "the needs and control of all road users (motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians) ... through a temporary traffic control zone shall be an essential part of highway construction, utility work, maintenance operations, and the management of traffic incidents". Bicyclists should be expected on all roads unless prohibited (e.g., limited access highways), therefore work zone treatments such as temporary lane restrictions, detours, and other traffic control measures should be designed to accommodate bicyclists.

Guidance for providing bikeways through or around work zones is discussed in the ODOT Traffic Engineering Manual and the OMUTCD. If a bicycle detour is needed, a route with similar or lower traffic stress should be provided, if feasible. ODOT’s online Level of Traffic Stress calculation tool includes pre-calculated values for level of traffic stress for the State & US Bike Route System and may be used for this detour evaluation.

Sections 670-2 of the TEM notes that “if the temporary traffic control zone affects the movement of bicyclists, adequate access to the roadway or shared use paths shall be provided.” OMUTCD Section 6G.05 addresses work affecting pedestrians and bikeways. OMUTCD Chapter 6D and Sections 6F.74 and Chapter 603 provide additional information regarding steps to follow when pedestrians and bikeways are affected by the worksite.

When feasible, designers should incorporate the following recommendations into project construction plans:

  • Maintenance of bicycle travel should be included whenever the need for temporary traffic control is being considered. Designers should determine how to maintain existing bikeways during construction and details should be provided in the MOT design portion of the project plans. Options include accommodating bicyclists through the work zone or providing a suitable alternate route with the least amount of detour necessary. It is preferable for the alternate route to direct bicyclists to a bikeway that is equal to or lower in traffic stress than the existing route.
  • Similar to other vehicular traffic, work zones should be compatible with bicycle travel. Work zone concerns for bicyclists may include road or path closures, sudden changes in elevation, construction equipment or materials, and other unexpected conditions. Providing bicyclists access through or around the work zone may result in the need for the construction of temporary facilities, including paved surfaces, structures, signs, and signals. The OMUTCD includes appropriate mode-specific detour guidelines in the section on temporary traffic controls.
  • Work zone signs, construction vehicles, and other related construction materials should not be stored or placed within bikeways or on sidewalks that are open for use. Workers who routinely perform maintenance and construction operations should be aware of these considerations.
  • For sections of separated bike lanes or shared use paths which are closed to bicyclists, advanced warning is necessary to allow bicyclists sufficient time and space to transition out of the bikeway. This may require construction of temporary curb ramps to transition bicyclists to a street or sidewalk. It is also preferable to maintain physical separation from traffic where feasible, as separated bike lanes and shared use paths often attract people who are not comfortable operating in mixed traffic.

Chapter 6 Endnotes

  1. Hess, G. and M. N. Peterson. “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” Signage Communicates U.S. Roadway Rules and Increases Perception of Safety. PLoS One, Vol. 10, No. 8, 2005.
  2. Teschke, K., M. A. Harris, C. C. Reynolds, M. Winters, S. Babul, M. Chipman, M. D. Cusimano, J.R. Brubacher, G. Hunte, S. M. Friedman, M. Monro, H. Shen, L. Vernich, and P. A. Cripton. Route Infrastructure and the Risk of Injuries to Bicyclists: A Case-Crossover Study. American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 102, No. 12, 2012, pp. 2336-2343.
  3. Schepers, J.P., P. A. Kroeze, W. Sweers, J.C. Wüst. Road Factors and Bicycle-Motor Vehicle Crashes at Unsignalized Priority Intersections. Accident Analysis and Prevention, Vol. 43, 2011, pp. 853-861.
  4. Zangenehpour, S., J. Strauss, L.F. Miranda-Moreno, N. Saunier. Are Signalized Intersections with Cycle Tracks Safer? A Case-Control Study based on Automated Surrogate Safety Analysis using Video Data. Accident Analysis and Prevention, Vol. 86, 2016, pp. 161-172.
  5. Smith, R. L. and T. Walsh. Safety Impacts of Bicycle Lanes. In Transportation Research Record 1168. TRB, National Research Council, Washington, DC, 1988.
  6. Schepers, J.P., P. A. Kroeze, W. Sweers, and J.C. Wust. Road Factors and Bicycle-Motor Vehicle Crashes at Unsignalized Priority Intersections. Accident Analysis and Prevention, Vol. 43, 2011, pp. 853-861.
  7. Madsen, T., and H. Lahrmann. Comparison of Five Bicycle Facility Designs in Signalized Intersections Using Traffic Conflict Studies. Transport Research Part F, Vol. 46, 2017, pp. 438-450.
  8. FHWA Safety Effects of Marked Versus Unmarked Crosswalks at Uncontrolled Location
  9. FHWA Guide for Improving Pedestrian Safety at Uncontrolled Crossing Locations
  10. Fitzpatrick, K., S. Turner, M. Brewer, P. Carlson, B. Ullman, N. Trout, E. S. Park, J. Whitacre, N. Lalani, and D. Lord. National Cooperative Highway Research Program Report 562: Improving Pedestrian Safety at Unsignalized Crossings. NCHRP, Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC, 2006.

7 - Motor Vehicle Facilities Supporting Multimodal Accommodation

Published: January 20, 2023

7.1 General

This chapter provides an overview of how typical roadway elements can be designed to support a multimodal transportation network. Other chapters in this Guide provide guidance on addressing pedestrian and bicyclist travel and behavior, whereas this chapter focuses on addressing motorist travel and behavior. Designers should consider all existing and planned modes during the design process. As discussed in Chapter 3, this process may require design flexibility when applying roadway design criteria.

7.1.1 Design Principles and Objectives

ODOT’s mission is to provide safe and easy movement of people and goods from place to place. Based on existing data, crashes involving motor vehicles with pedestrians or bicyclists are disproportionately higher by volume than crashes only involving motor vehicles, and when crashes occur at conflict points with higher speeds the severity of injury increases. Roadway designers should address these systemic safety issues to reduce the frequency and severity of crashes where they are likely to occur.

Designers should refer to the Multimodal Planning Goals described in Chapter 2 for an understanding of the principles that guide active transportation planning, facility selection, design, and project prioritization.

7.2 Minimizing Turning Speeds at Intersection

Vehicle turning movements affect operations and safety at an intersection. If conflict points cannot be eliminated through signal phasing or grade separation, intersection design should minimize the speed differential between users at the points where travel movements intersect. The process for controlling the speed of right turning vehicles is described in Sections 7.2.1 through 7.2.6. For controlling left turning vehicle speed, see Section 7.2.7. Raised crossings may also be considered at intersections and have been shown to reduce turning vehicle speeds of both right and left turning vehicles (see Section 4.5.5).

7.2.1 Intersection Design and Check Vehicles

For roadways where the most common vehicle is a passenger car, delivery vehicle, or single unit truck, designing intersections to easily accommodate larger vehicles with large turning radii can negatively affect crossing distances, exposure to conflicts, speed of common turning vehicles, and can impact right-of-way or be inconsistent with the surrounding land use context. Similarly, using a smaller design vehicle at intersections regularly used by larger vehicles should be avoided because frequent operational challenges may occur, may lead to encroachment beyond the edge of pavement or curbline, and can lead to damage to infrastructure such as curb ramps, signs, or poles.

The L&D Manual Volume 1 Section 401.9 defines the two types of vehicles that must be considered at each intersection: Intersection Design Vehicles (IDV) and Intersection Check Vehicles (ICV). Figure 401-15a shows the recommended IDVs and ICVs along with their acceptable Degrees of Encroachment (DE) for ODOT roadways based on the functional classifications of the intersecting roadways. On many local roadways, particularly in residential areas, the design and check vehicles will be smaller than those stated in Figure 401-15a. In addition, where the intersection check vehicle is an emergency service vehicle, a greater degree of encroachment may be considered which may require sloped (mountable curbs). Designers should check local policies for selecting IDV and ICV and adjust based on the roadway type and surrounding land use context.

7.2.2 Turning Vehicle Design Speed

At both signalized and unsignalized intersections (including roundabouts), steps should be taken to ensure that turning speeds are kept low and that sight distance is not compromised for either the pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorists. While performing swept path analyses, the maximum recommended turning speed of the design and check vehicle is 10 mph.

7.2.3 Actual and Effective Curb Radius

Two distinct radii need to be considered when designing street corners. The first is the actual radius of the street corner itself, and the second is the effective turning radius of the selected IDV or ICV, see Figure 7-1. The effective turning radius is the radius needed for a turning vehicle to clear any adjacent parking lanes and/or to align itself with its new travel lane. Using an effective turning radius allows a smaller curb radius than would be required for the motorist to turn from curb lane to curb lane.

Figure 7-1: Actual Corner Radius vs. Effective Turning Radius

Figure 7-1

7.2.4 Designing Intersection and Driveway Corner Radii

Designers should strive to provide the smallest appropriate corner radius for the given IDV and ICV, target turning speeds, acceptable lane encroachment, number of receiving lanes, and effective pavement width. In addition to discouraging higher turning speeds, smaller corner radii are preferred in order to better align curb ramps with pedestrian paths of travel and shorten crossing distances.

To achieve the smallest appropriate corner radius, designers should follow these strategies:

  • Using vehicle turning software or turning template, designers should minimize the corner radius while accommodating the effective turning radius of vehicles.
  • Where pedestrians or bicyclists are expected and the effective turning radius exceeds 15 ft., consider the following:
    • Push back the stop line of the receiving street beyond the minimum 4 ft. from crosswalks where appropriate. Ensure that any encroachment does not conflict with overlapping phases at signalized intersections. In general, stop lines should not be pushed back more than 30 ft. from crosswalks as motorist compliance may be diminished; however, the maximum distance from stop line to traffic signals cannot exceed the sight distance and clear zone requirements established in OMUTCD Chapter 4D.
    • Provide a truck apron to increase the effective radius of larger vehicles, including SU-30, while providing a smaller effective radius for the majority of vehicles (e.g., passenger car). See Section 7.2.5 for additional information and design guidance.
    • At skewed intersections and where truck aprons would exceed 15 ft., consider a channelized island as described in Section 7.2.6.
    • Consider a raised crossing to slow turning vehicles. See Section 7.8.3.

As described elsewhere in these guidelines, curb extensions are beneficial to pedestrians. It is acceptable to have a curb bulb with a larger curb radius that shortens crossing distances while accommodating large vehicles. For curbless streets, care should be taken at corners to ensure that proper design treatments are included to identify safer turning distances for large vehicles. Such treatments may include pavement coloring, different materials, and other features that provide a visual indication of the apex of the turn.

Flex delineator posts or engineered rubber curbs may be used as an interim treatment to reduce larger corner radii. When used, they should be placed at least 1 ft. offset from the turning radius of design vehicles at all intersections and driveways.

7.2.5 Truck Aprons

Truck aprons are most common within the center island of a roundabout but should also be considered at intersection corners to accommodate the turning characteristics of larger vehicles while slowing the turning speeds of smaller design vehicles. The truck apron must be designed to be mountable by larger vehicles to accommodate their larger turning radius while smaller vehicles follow the smaller radius along the outside edge of the truck apron, see Figure 7-2.

The outside edge of a truck apron (i.e., closest to the travel lane) is constructed using a mountable curb and should be designed so that passenger vehicles follow this mountable curbline at the desired 10 mph speed. Larger vehicles, including SU-30, can traverse the truck apron if desired, but the control vehicle should be used to specify the effective radius.

The truck apron is part of the motorist travel way. Truck aprons shall not extend through bike lanes or crosswalks unless they are designed to accommodate these users, and bicycle stop bars and pedestrian accommodations (e.g., curb ramps, crosswalks) must be placed to prevent these users from waiting in the travel way. Colored concrete and/or pavement markings should be used within the truck apron area to provide a visual contrast from the adjacent roadway and sidewalk. This communicates to drivers of smaller vehicles that this is not an area to drive over. Where widths exceed 15 ft., the intended use of the apron may not be clear and designers may consider a channelizing island to limit the street crossing distance for pedestrians and bicyclists (see Section 7.2.6).

In retrofit conditions, a truck apron that extends all the way to the existing curbline may not be possible without significant stormwater system modifications. In these situations, truck pillows that maintain drainage along the existing curbline may be more practical and feasible.

See DWG 7-1 for additional design details for truck aprons and truck pillows.

An edge line should be provided along the outside edge of wider truck aprons to ensure that the path of travel is visible. Gore markings may be installed on the truck apron itself, but this is often unnecessary if colored pavement is used, see Figure 7-3.

Where buses are likely to traverse the truck apron with regularity (such as transit routes), truck aprons should be designed to allow the bus to complete the turn without traversing the truck apron. A tiered truck apron with a curb reveal from 0 to 1 inch can be constructed for use by buses while the second tier can be designed with a 3 inch curb reveal for use by larger trucks, see Figure 7-3.

Figure 7-2: Typical Truck Apron Layout at a Protected Intersection

Figure 7-2

Figure 7-3: Truck Apron with Concrete and Pavement Markings (top) and Tiered Truck Apron with Colored Concrete (bottom)

Figure 7-3

Figure 7-3

7.2.6 Turning Lanes and Channelized Islands

A channelized right turn lane may be preferable to a larger corner radius to decrease the street crossing distance for pedestrians and bicyclists. These are common at skewed intersections or other roadways with large curb radii and cross-sections.

Where channelized right turn lanes are provided, it will be necessary to choose between a flat angle (> 140 degrees) or a right-angle (< 120 degrees) approach to the cross street (see Figure 7-4). To ensure the channelized right turn lane promotes motorists yielding at pedestrian and bicycle crossings, as well as to cross street motorists, a right-angle entry design is preferred. This design encourages lower turning speeds and improves the driver’s view of people approaching crosswalks and motorists approaching from the cross street.

Figure 7-4: Channelized Right Turn Design Options

Figure 7-4

The use of flat-angle approaches should be avoided, except where:

  • motorists have their own receiving lane on the cross street, and
  • higher turning speeds are necessary for safe merging onto the cross street, and
  • it is needed to accommodate the turning path of the design vehicle (e.g., at skewed intersections), and
  • pedestrian and bicycle crossings are not allowed or infrequent, or traffic controls devices are provided to control the conflicting motor- vehicle movement and facilitate pedestrian and bicyclist crossings.

A raised crosswalk (see Section 4.5.5) should be considered at channelized right turn lanes where motorists do not face stop or traffic signal control to encourage motorist yielding. They may also be beneficial at yield, stop, and signal control intersections where it is desirable to reduce encroachments into the crosswalk. When used at a channelized island, the crosswalk should be located to allow one vehicle to wait between the crosswalk and the cross street.

L&D Manual Volume 1, Section 401.7.2, provides additional guidance on the design of channelized islands.

7.2.7 Median Islands and Hardened Centerlines

Chapter 4 discusses how a raised median island can be used to provide pedestrian refuge space to cross a major street. In that situation, a minimum of 6 ft. is required to accommodate a pedestrian or bicyclist waiting to cross the second portion of the crossing. When less than 6 ft. in width is available, designers can still provide a center median, also known as a hardened centerline, to channelize and slow the speeds of left turning motorists as they prepare to cross the path of pedestrians and bicyclists.

A hardened centerline is comprised of a painted centerline supplemented by flexible delineators, mountable curb, rubber curb, concrete curb, IN-STREET PEDESTRIAN CROSSING signs (R1-6), or a combination of these treatments. The dimensions of a hardened centerline will depend on the intersection geometry and vehicle turning radius. Hardened centerlines should be considered where higher-speed left turns occur concurrent with pedestrian and/or bicyclist movements, as they have been found to reduce the speed of left turning motorists by reducing the effective turning radius.1 Hardened centerlines can be appropriate on both the departure roadway and the receiving roadway to control the left turning motorist path of travel. See Figure 7-6 and Figure 7-7.

Figure 7-6: Example of Hardened Centerline Applications with Flexible Delineators on the Departure Roadway and a Pedestrian Crossing Island on the Receiving Roadway

Figure 7-6

Figure 7-7: Flexible Delineators and Hardened Centerline to Control Turning Speed

Figure 7-7

7.3 Vehicle Travel Lane and Shoulder Widths

L&D Manual Volume 1, Section 301.1.2, Fig. 301-2 and Fig. 301-4, provide the lane widths for rural and urban areas, and Section 301.2.3, Fig. 301-3 and Fig. 301-4, provide guidance on shoulder widths for rural and urban areas.

When pedestrians or bicyclists are expected to be present, designers should use the minimum widths as described in the L&D Vol. 1 for travel lanes, on-street parking, and potentially shoulders. Deviations from the minimum lane and shoulder widths may be considered where appropriate to achieve the project goal(s). Narrow lane widths discourage higher operating speeds, reduce pedestrian crossing distances, and create spaces for sidewalks and bikeways. FHWA no longer considers lane and shoulder width as controlling criteria for roadways on the National Highway System (NHS) with less than 50 mph design speeds, allowing for increased flexibility to implement narrower lanes on those roadways. For roads on the National Network (or National Truck Network) a design exception for lane width is required if at least one 12 ft. lane in each direction cannot be provided. See Section 105.3 of the L&D Vol. 1 for more information. In retrofit situations where excess pavement cannot be reduced, travels lanes can be visually narrowed with pavement markings or contrasting materials. This space could be used for a buffer for bike lanes, a marked center median, or to provide space for a designated shoulder or bike lane.

In constrained settings, sidewalk or bikeway buffer zones could accommodate traditional shoulder functions of drainage, snow storage, and lateral support of pavement.

These concepts are further discussed in Section 7.5.2.

7.4 On-Street Parking Considerations

Section 6.3 provides details on the design and considerations of on-street parking in relationship to bicycle lanes. Guidance on parallel and angled parking is provided, as well as an overview of considerations for loading zones and accessible parking spaces. Where angled parking can be accommodated, back-in angled parking is preferred as it improves driver sight lines when exiting parking spaces. Additionally, back-in angled parking directs passengers exiting the vehicle back towards the curbline (i.e., the opened vehicle doors block access towards the street) which can beneficial to direct children exiting vehicles towards the sidewalk.

Sections 4.6 and 6.3.7 provide guidance for the design of accessible on-street parking spaces. Section 7.7 provides additional guidance on restricting parking near intersections, driveways, and crosswalks.

7.5 Reallocating Street Space

Streets and highways can be retrofitted to better accommodate bicyclists and other users by widening the roadway or by reallocating pavement to these users by reconfiguring the travel lanes. This approach can better balance the level of service for all travel modes by providing wider sidewalks, bike lanes, and buffers between bicyclists, pedestrians, and motor vehicles. Space can also be dedicated to plantings and amenity zones and reducing crossing distances.

When retrofitting roads for bicycle facilities, the width guidelines for bike lanes and paved shoulders (see Sections 6.3) should be applied. For additional information on retrofitting bicycle facilities on existing streets and highways see the FHWA Incorporating On-Road Bicycle Networks into Resurfacing Projects and the FHWA Road Diet Information Guide.

Retrofitting bicycle facilities on bridges presents special challenges because it may be impractical to widen an existing bridge. The guidance below for retrofitting bicycle facilities without roadway widening is applicable to existing bridges. Further guidance on accommodating bicyclists on bridges is presented in Chapters 5 and 6.

7.5.1 Retrofitting Bicycle Facilities by Widening the Roadway

Where right-of-way is adequate, or where additional right-of-way can be obtained, roads can be widened to provide the desired multimodal facilities. The design should follow the design principles discussed throughout this guide and ensure that widening the roadway does not result in increased vehicle speeds that may adversely impact bicyclists and pedestrians.

7.5.2 Retrofitting Bicycle Facilities Without Roadway Widening

In many areas, especially built-out urban and suburban areas, physical widening is impractical, and bicycle facility retrofits are constructed within the existing paved width. There are three methods of modifying the allocation of roadway space to improve bicyclist accommodation:

  1. Reduce or reallocate the width used by general purpose travel lanes.
  2. Reduce the number of general purpose travel lanes.
  3. Reconfigure or reduce on-street parking, including parking lane width.

Travel lane widths can often be narrowed without any significant changes in levels of service for motorists. Before a reduction or reallocation in the number of travel lanes or their widths is considered, an operational study must be performed to evaluate the impact of the proposed changes on the level of service. One benefit is that bicycle LOS will be improved when adding a bicycle facility. Creating shoulders or bike lanes on roadways can improve pedestrian conditions as well by providing a buffer between the sidewalk and the roadway.

Lane Narrowing

Narrowing existing motor vehicle lanes may create enough space for separated bike lanes, widening sidewalks and buffers, or a combination of on-street bike lanes and enhancements to the pedestrian realm. Lane widths that are greater than the minimum values shown in L&D Vol. 1, Figures 301-2 and 301-4 and, depending on condition, may be candidates for narrowing. Narrower lanes can contribute to lower operating speeds along the roadway, which may be appropriate in dense, walkable corridors or near transit in more rural areas.

Figure 7-8: Lane Narrowing Scenarios

Figure 7-8

Lane Reduction

Lane reductions, or road diets, are most typically done on roadways with excess capacity where anticipated traffic volumes have not materialized to support the need for additional travel lanes.

The most common road diet configuration involves converting a four-lane undivided road to three lanes: two travel lanes with a turn lane in the center of the roadway, also known as a Two-Way Left Turn Lane (TWLTL)—see L&D Manual Volume 1, Section 402 for more information. The center turn lane often improves safety and reduces motor vehicle delay by giving turning vehicles that previously blocked the through lanes their own turning lane.

The space gained for a center turn lane is often supplemented with painted, textured, or raised center islands. If considered during reconstruction, raised median islands may be incorporated in between intersections (See Section 4.5.3).

Road diets are most appropriate on roadways with the following configurations:

  • Four-lane streets with volumes less than 15,000 vehicles/day are generally good candidates for four- to three-lane conversions.
  • Four-lane streets with volumes between 15,000-25,000 vehicles/day may be good candidates for four- to three-lane conversions. Refer to FHWA Road Diet Informational Guide.
  • Six-lane streets with volumes less than 35,000 vehicles/day may be good candidates for six- to five-lane (including a center two-way left turn lane) conversions.

A traffic study must be conducted to evaluate potential reductions in crash frequency and severity, to evaluate motor vehicle capacity and level of service, to evaluate bicycle LOS, evaluating driveway density and impacts to LOS, and to identify appropriate signalization modifications and lane assignment at intersections before implementing a road diet.

7.6 Driveways and Alleys

See Section 4.5.5 and 4.5.7 for discussions of pedestrian accessibility and motorist speed management at driveways and alleys.

7.7 Crosswalks at Uncontrolled Intersections and Mid-block Locations

See Sections 4.4, 5.6, and 6.5 for discussions of pedestrian and bicyclist design considerations at uncontrolled and mid-block locations.

7.8 Speed and Volume Management for Multimodal Design

People walking and bicycling are particularly vulnerable in the event of a crash, and vehicle speeds where conflicts occur are a primary factor in the likelihood of serious injuries and fatalities (see Figure 7-9). Where vulnerable road users are present and in urban contexts, ODOT’s speed zone calculations will be derived from the 50th percentile speed as determined from a speed zone study. For information on conducting a speed zone study, refer to Section 1203 of the TEM.

Figure 7-9: Vehicle Speeds and Risks to Pedestrians2

Figure 7-9

Design speeds are discussed in L&D Manual Volume 1, Section 104. Where pedestrian and bicycle facilities are provided on low-speed facilities, design speeds should be equal to the legal speed. Using a design speed higher than the legal speed may cause motorists to feel comfortable exceeding the posted speed. When motor vehicle operating speeds create a safety concern for people walking or bicycling, designers should reduce the number of conflict points and overall exposure of pedestrians or bicyclists. Where conflicts remain, designers should increase visibility (e.g., sight distances and illumination) and provide ample warning to both motor vehicles and more vulnerable users. On existing roadways with operating speeds that exceed the legal speed, roadway redesign and traffic calming measures should be considered to reduce speeds and improve safety and comfort for all users.

Traffic calming devices help to manage motor vehicle operating speeds and volumes by introducing changes to the roadway cross-section (horizontal deflection), pavement elevation (vertical deflection), reductions in roadway width, alterations to typical motor vehicle travel patterns, or a combination of these techniques. By managing speeds, reinforcing target design speeds, and managing vehicle volumes, traffic calming increases the comfort of a shared operating environment and minimizes conflicts between users. Traffic calming devices are not appropriate in every context. The following sections discuss both the application and design of traffic calming devices.

The addition of traffic calming treatments can result in through traffic trips diverting to other nearby streets. While this may be preferable for bicycle boulevards (see Section 6.3.2), it may create undesirable conditions on other parallel streets. To avoid unintended behaviors, traffic calming should be considered from a roadway network perspective.

7.8.1 Application

The use of traffic calming devices should consider the following:

  • Design speed should target the posted speed.
  • Designs shall consider both the design and check vehicle.
  • Some vertical deflection treatments may have an adverse effect on emergency response vehicles. Many types of vertical deflection can be designed to accommodate transit and emergency vehicles by leaving gaps that match the wheelbase.

Traffic calming treatments are most effective when they are deployed at regular intervals ranging from 200 to 400 ft. between treatments.

7.8.2 Horizontal Deflection

A horizontal deflection hinders the ability of a motorist to drive in a straight line by creating a horizontal shift in the roadway. This shift forces a motorist to slow the vehicle in order to comfortably navigate the measure. Horizontal deflection is most appropriate on local and collector streets. Lateral shifts and mini roundabouts may also be appropriate on thoroughfares. See L&D Manual Volume 1, Section 202 and Section 301.1.4, for allowable horizontal deflection and curve design criteria and transition/taper rates.

Lateral Shifts & Chicanes

Lateral shifts cause travel lanes to shift in one direction, often by shifting on-street parking from one side of a street to the other side of the street. Chicanes are a series of curb extensions, pinch points, parking bays, or landscaping features that alternate from one side of the road to the other to establish a serpentine path of travel for motorists along a street. The following design guidance should be considered for both treatments:

  • Lateral shifts and chicanes can be used on two-way streets with one lane in each direction, and one-way streets with no more than two lanes.
  • Traffic-calming effects are greatest when deflection shifts vehicles back and forth by at least one full lane width.
  • The shifting taper of horizontal deflections should be based on the posted speed. Provide advisory speed plaques (W13-1P) where appropriate to supplement Horizontal Alignment Signs (See OMUTCD, Section 2C.07).

Figure 7-10: Examples of Lateral Shift (left) and Chicane (right)

Figure 7-10

  • If vegetation or other features are used within chicanes, it should generally be low maintenance and not grow taller than 2.5’ to avoid impeding sight distance. In locations with mid-block pedestrian crossings, sight distances must be maintained.
  • Interim chicanes can be created using a combination of pavement markings, parked cars, flexible delineator posts, or other vertical elements.
  • Avoid using these horizontal deflection treatments along streets with bus, freight, or emergency response activity unless traffic volumes are very low and large vehicles can use the full roadway width.
  • Bikeways should be maintained throughout to avoid abruptly squeezing bicyclists into motor- vehicle traffic on streets with higher traffic volumes, particularly in locations with uphill grades where bicyclists may be traveling slower than other roadway traffic.

Traffic Circles

Neighborhood traffic circles are primarily used at four-