For a past transportation engineering safety class, I wrote a report studying the effectiveness of bicycle infrastructure safety treatments and their implication to traffic, pedestrian and cyclist mobility.
The report ranked bicycle infrastructure found in the City of Vancouver based on its cost, perceived safety benefits and substantive (real) safety benefits. The report used a literature review and a measure called “Collision Modification Factors” to show the expected change in safety performance associated with the corresponding change in bicycle infrastructure. The following types of infrastructure were studied:
Increasing the number of cyclists on roads has many proven benefits for the environment, economy, quality of life and public health. The most effective way to increase the number of bicyclists is to increase road safety. To rank the infrastructure for the purpose of this study, the relative effectiveness and relative cost of each bicycle infrastructure treatment was given a score from 1 – 10. Further details of the methodology can be found in the report. The results of this study show that bike lanes, followed by paved off-street pathways and cycle tracks, to have the highest investment score.
Since all scores are above one, all the treatments were found to be cost-effective in increasing bicycle safety. In reality, the optimal bicycle infrastructure treatment should be most dependent on the type of bicycle rider targeted (i.e. AAA – All Ages and Abilities) and the existing built environment. An effective network of safe, attractive and connected facilities is a crucial step in creating a bicycle friendly city. To encourage bicycle use, communities must focus on the improvement of bicycle safety through determining the most effective bicycle infrastructure treatments and administering proper engineering and design.