By the end of 2014, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will release guidelines on designing protected bike lanes. Until recently, the U.S. DOT's policy on bicycling was essentially to adhere to manuals such as AASHTO's Green Book and FHWA's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).
But last year, the FHWA released a new strategic plan that put an emphasis on bicyclist and pedestrian safety, and on the need to create connected walking and biking networks for all ages and abilities.
FHWA Secretary Anthony Foxx, installed in 2013, has made bicyclist and pedestrian safety a key issue of his administration. Last year, the FHWA also endorsed "design flexibility" for the first time, encouraging engineers to look to new sources for pedestrian-friendly design ideas.
Moving into the future, the agency will do even more for the issue, Streetsblog reports, starting with the FHWA manual on protected bike lanes. The guidelines will cover the pros and cons of different intersection designs, one- versus two-way lanes, and different types of protection. It will also include a call to action, urging cities to implement protected bike lanes and to collect before-and-after data when they do.
“One conclusion to draw from our effort is that, yes, separated bike lanes are part of the toolbox that you can use to create and connect bike networks,” said FHWA's Dan Goodman, “and that’s where we’re going.”