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Environmental Enhancements

Recent Developments

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Bicycle Friendly America's 2013 Edition Published by League of American Bicyclists

The League of American Bicyclists has published the 2013 edition of Bicycle Friendly America. Included in its American Bicyclist magazine, Bicycle Friendly America highlights how hundreds of entities across the country have incorporated league work into their efforts to improve bicycling. The publication also includes individual bicycling ranks for cities and other features, such as a section that provides actionable tips for improving bicycling. For more information, link to American Bicyclist, March – April 2014. (4-1-14)

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Research Circular Describes Methods to Monitor Bicycling, Walking Modes

A research circular on monitoring bicycling and walking – also known as “active transportation” – has been issued by the Transportation Research Board. The circular, titled Monitoring Bicyclist and Pedestrian Travel and Behavior: Current Research and Practice, describes a selection of recent advancements in bicycle and pedestrian data monitoring pertaining to both traffic volumes and behavioral data and introduces a selection of ongoing projects expected to contribute to the field. For more information, link to the report. (3-19-14)

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FHWA Safety Program Publishes Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon Guide

FHWA’s Safety Program has published a guide about the recommended uses of pedestrian hybrid beacons (PHB). PHBs are only activated when pedestrians are present. According to the guide, “PHBs are useful in locations where traditional crosswalk signings and markings do not result in adequate motorist yielding rates, and where the deployment or cost of a full traffic signal would not be warranted.” The beacons also protect pedestrians at mid-block crossings or uncontrolled mainline crossing points. The guide discusses PHB’s ability to reduce pedestrian crashes and PHB implementation policies. In addition, the guide includes a case study examining a PHB’s role in improving a problematic roadway. For more information, link to the guide. (3-17-14)

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Report Touts Benefits and Uses of Federal Recreational Trails Program

FHWA has released a report describing the benefits of the Federal Recreational Trails Program (RTP) and how the program is used across the country. Since its inception 20 years ago, RTP has led the creation and improvement of over 17,000 trail-related projects throughout the U.S. According to the report, RTP-funded projects have benefited local economies, increased youth employment, enhanced accessibility, fostered safe and livable communities, improved overall health and fitness, encouraged active transportation, and conserved habitats. For more information, link to the 2013 Recreational Trails Program Annual Report. (3-11-14)

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Transportation Research Record Includes 17 Papers on Bicycle Transportation and Infrastructure

The Transportation Research Board has published an edition of its Transportation Research Record consisting of 17 papers studying various aspects of bicycle transportation and related infrastructure. The publication examines specially designed traffic signals for bicycles, automated data collection of bicyclists, bicycles’ role in reducing Dutch poverty levels, education materials, and forecasting bikesharing ridership at individual stations. In addition, the publication also explores cyclists-commuter travel behavior, North American public bikesharing programs, and several topics related to Washington D.C.’s biksharing program, among other topics. For more information, link to Transportation Research Record – Bicycles 2013: Planning, Design, Operations, and Infrastructure. (2-27-14)

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Report Finds Bicycle Use Extends the Service Area of Transit

The Mineta Transportation Institute has issued a report on a study to describe the effects of transit use by people who ride a bicycle to and from buses, trains and ferries. The report says that these cycle-transit users increase the geographic area that a mode of transit can serve, also known as the “catchment area.” The report also says that a cycle-transit catchment area is more complex than the area for those who approach transit on foot, since cycle-transit users often combine two or more travel purposes in each trip, such as commuting and shopping. Study participants stated that there is much still to do to provide bicycle enhancements at transit facilities. For more information, link to Perceptions of Bicycle-Friendly Policy Impacts on Accessibility to Transit Services: The First and Last Mile Bridge. (1-22-14)

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Summary Outlines FHWA Bicycle and Pedestrian Research and Activities

FHWA has released a summary of its bicycle and pedestrian program activities and research. The summary provides an update on federal-aid funds for the pedestrian and bicycle projects and program for fiscal year 2013; pedestrian and bicycle research and technical assistance programs; ongoing safety projects and those under development; and safe route to school activities. The summary also includes links to several FHWA websites and updates and to relevant contact information. For more information, link to Summary of Federal Highway Administration Pedestrian and Bicycle Research and Program Activities. (1-13-14)

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Institute Publishes Bike Share Planning Guide

The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy has released a bike sharing planning guide. Divided into sections corresponding to the various phases of planning and implementing a city bike sharing program, the guide assists practitioners with conducting feasibility studies and designing bike plan specifics. An overview of different bike sharing business and financing models is also provided, as is information related to implementing a bike sharing system. For more information, link to The Bike-Share Planning Guide. (12-5-13)

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FHWA Guide Details Pedestrian Facility Maintenance Options to Enhance Safety and Mobility

The Office of Safety at FHWA has released a guide describing methods to maintain pedestrian facilities to increase mobility and safety. Several issues are addressed in the guide, including information related to the need to maintain pedestrian facilities, typical issues encountered when maintaining pedestrian facilities and inspections and accessibility. The guide also describes measures to maintain pedestrian facilities, maintenance funding options and construction measures that can reduce the need for future repairs. For more information, link to A Guide for Maintaining Pedestrian Facilities for Enhanced Safety. (11-25-13)

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Costs of Pedestrian and Bicycle Infrastructure Documented in Report

The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center has issued a report, funded in part by the Federal Highway Administration, that documents cost information for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. It includes information on bicycle facilities (such as bicycle parking and bikeways); traffic calming measures; pedestrian accommodations (such as fences and gateways, lighting, sidewalks, and paths); signals for drivers, bicycles, and pedestrians; signage; and pavement markings. The project compiled bid-letting summaries and price indices from state departments of transportation websites into a database and calculated average cost, median cost, and high and low ends of the cost range. For more information, link to Costs for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Infrastructure Improvements. (October 2013)

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FHWA Issues Memo Supporting Flexible Approaches to Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities

FHWA has released a memorandum detailing the agency’s support for flexible approaches to bicycle and pedestrian facility design. The memorandum includes links to resources from AASHTO, the National Association of City Transportation Officials and the Institute of Transportation Engineers to assist practitioners planning, designing and operating bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Memorandum attachments offer information on the Michigan Department of Transportation’s buffered bike lanes and the City of Missoula’s colored bike lanes and provide contact information for FHWA bicycle and pedestrian staff. For more information, link to Bicycle and Pedestrian Facility Design Flexibility Memorandum. (8-20-13)

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FHWA Posts Recordings of TAP Webinars

Recordings of two webinars covering the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act have been posted online by FHWA. An Aug. 28, 2013, webinar reviewed the final TAP guidance issued by the agency and also allowed participants to ask questions about the program. A second webinar, held on Aug. 29, 2013, offered outreach tips and a discussion on program performance information. For more information and recordings of other webinars, link to MAP-21 Webinars. (8-29-13)

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