Flexible Roadway Design Key to Safer Streets

Posted by Federal Highway Administrator Greg Nadeau

At the Federal Highway Administration, we know that a multi-modal transportation network is key to getting people where they need to go, whether they make the trip by car, on foot, on a bicycle, or all of the above.

However, when it comes to designing highways and other roads, our local partners are often unaware of the flexibility they have to safely accommodate all road users – including bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit riders.

That’s why we recently published a new guide to help states, local governments, transit agencies, and others make the most of their road infrastructure.

The guide – Achieving Multimodal Networks: Applying Design Flexibility and Reducing Conflicts – builds on the work FHWA has done both internally and with industry groups like the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO).

DOTThese groups’ design manuals already encourage a flexible, holistic design approach, which many states, counties, and cities nationwide have embraced.

Still, concern remains about the potential for violating federal guidelines, which can lead to rigidity in road design that leaves out vulnerable road users.

Part 1 of Achieving Multimodal Networks makes clear that flexibility is not only allowed but encouraged under existing guidelines, pointing to FHWA’s own guidance on the subject as well as references to works from AASHTO, NACTO, and others in the field.

Part 2 provides specific, practical guidance as to how to achieve multimodal design in real-world scenarios. Thanks to input from a nationwide, multidisciplinary team of planning professionals, we were able to include case studies from real transportation projects that include everything from bike lanes to enhanced sidewalks and bus stops.

By taking a comprehensive approach to road design, vulnerable populations like seniors, people with disabilities, and children on the way to and from school all benefit from “complete streets” that help keep them out of harm’s way.

Federal Highway Administrator Greg Nadeau
Federal Highway Administrator Greg Nadeau

This approach is better for motorists, as well, as these flexible road designs produce a driving environment that is more coherent, predictable, and less likely to result in conflict with other road users.

Overall, we’re proud to contribute this resource toward the growing movement for multimodal transportation networks.

By working together and thinking creatively, we can make our transportation system safer and more accessible for all.

Original post https://www.transportation.gov/fastlane/flexible-roadway-design-key-safer-streets