Case Studies in Delivering Safe, Comfortable, and Connected Pedestrian and Bicycle Networks

This report provides an overview of pedestrian and bicycle network principles and highlights examples from communities across the country.

by Federal Highway Administration

A pedestrian and bicycle transportation network consists of a series of interconnected facilities that allow nonmotorized road users of all ages and abilities to safely and conveniently get where they need to go. A connected network is not established by a standalone bike lane project, new sidewalk, or curb ramp upgrade. Rather, a network will use these types of projects to deliver a transportation system that prioritizes the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists to safely and conveniently access the destinations they need to reach. By providing connected networks, communities are helping to facilitate all of the following types of bicycling and walking trips:

  • Access to work from residential areas;
  • Active transportation to and from school;
  • Bicycling and walking links to transit;
  • Recreation and physical activity opportunities; and
  • Access to grocery stores, government buildings, health care, and other essential services.

A well-connected pedestrian and bicyclist network recognizes that trips vary in purpose and nature. In the same way, a connected network will facilitate travel for a number of different types of users. A bicycle commuter who needs access to a place of employment may not want to travel along the same shared use path that is used by dog walkers and other recreational users. A system of low volume, low speed streets that provide a comfortable bicycling environment may not provide a direct walking route between a person’s house and the nearest grocery store.

Understanding that different users have different needs, pedestrian and bicycle networks should be designed to provide options for continuous, safe, seamless, and convenient travel between all possible destinations.

Attached document published December 2015

About the Author

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), part of the US Department of Transportation, provides expertise, resources, and information to improve the nation's highway system and its intermodal connections. The Federal-Aid Highway Program provides financial assistance to the States to construct and improve the National Highway System, other roads, bridges, and trails.

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