NACTO Releases Reader-Friendly Design Guide for Bike-Friendly Streets

Bike planners, professional and amateur: Come and get it. The National Association of City Transportation Officials has released its Urban Bikeways Design Guide in digital format.

Bike boxes are one of the many innovative design treatments covered by NACTO's guide. Photo: NACTO

Now transportation planners can take advantage of a printable version in the traditional design guide format. NACTO officials hope transportation professionals around the country make a home for it on their bookshelves, next to the old standbys like the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and AASHTO’s Highway Safety Manual.

NACTO first released its design guide last month, cataloging the latest and greatest approaches to bicycle planning from Europe and the U.S.’s leading bicycle cities.

The guide was the result of a year of collaboration between transportation officials from 15 major US cities. It recognizes and standardizes innovative cycling treatments like bike boxes and cycle tracks — two methods that are on the rise in American cities but have yet to be enshrined in the standard toolbox of FHWA or AASHTO.

NACTO’s design guide was intended to provide authoritative guidance on these cycling treatments as their use spreads in the U.S., so that trail-blazing cities would not be forced to slog through duplicative research and experimentation.

Already the guide is helping communities around the country, said David Vega-Barachowitz a fellow at NACTO. The state of Washington has put forward legislation that permits local jurisdiction to use the “latest and best” cycling treatments, including those spelled out in the NACTO guide. Local governments in Washington were formerly limited to treatments that were contained in the state DOT’s design manual.

In the meantime, NACTO will be updating the web version of the guide to keep up with the latest advances in the field.