Development of Bicycle Compatability Index for Rural Roads in Nebraska

Source: Transportation Research Board

The development of a rural bicycle compatibility index (RBCI) is described. A recent Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) research project developed a Bicycle Compatibility Index (BCI). This index was developed for urban and suburban roadway segments, and it incorporated those variables that bicyclists typically use to assess how compatible a roadway segment is for travel by bicycle. The FHWA BCI can be used by bicycle coordinators, transportation planners, traffic engineers, and others to evaluate existing facilities. With it, they can determine what improvements may be required, as well as the geometric and operational requirements for new facilities to achieve the desired level of bicycle service. No such tool exists for the rating of rural roadway segments, however. There was work done to develop a rural equivalent of the BCI. Roadways in rural Nebraska were used to develop the RBCI. Although the specific results of this work are clearly applicable to Nebraska and other similar rural areas, the general methodology and concepts could easily be used to develop a more general RBCI that would have national applicability. An RBCI will provide bicycle coordinators, transportation planners, traffic engineers, and others with the capability to better plan and design bicycle-compatible roadways. Specifically, an RBCI model can be used for operational evaluation, design, and planning.

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