Designing safer, cleaner city travel
With cities becoming ever more conscious of the need to encourage non-motorized travel, the need to provide safe access for bicycles on road networks is growing. Once largely only seen in Northern Europe, cycle tracks (protected bike lanes) are now becoming important aspects of city planning across the globe.
A key feature of a cycle track is that while they are located along streets or roads, they are physically separate from vehicle traffic, allowing cyclists to travel more safely around road networks. Traditionally streets have incorporated bike (cycle) paths lanes that are only separated from other traffic by road markings. The design of more distinct lanes for bikes is evolving rapidly as more and more cities begin to include them in their planning.
BuroHappold Engineering was tasked with exploring options for the design of a cycle track along a large, heavily trafficked avenue. The proposed cycle track would pass a Metro station entrance and exit point where there is limited queuing space. Our team needed to consider a number of factors to find a plan that would work within a tight space and busy junction. Challenges such as parked cars, intersections, busy sidewalks and turning cars all had to be incorporated into our plans.
As well as developing possible solutions for the route of the path itself, we also needed to present our findings to our client in an impactful and accurate way, to help them fully understand the options available to them.
We created an agent-based model to visualize two different options for the proposed cycle track. Traditional intersection analysis represents issues numerically using a spreadsheet, or spatially, using a drawing. By using videos to show our ideas, we were able to demonstrate actual true-to-life conditions, bringing the facts and figures to life.
Our model was based on video recordings of the location, signal timing, volume counts, and speed calculations. The model recreated the busiest conditions expected at the location. Additionally, quantitative data was extracted from the simulation for comparison.
Our first proposed option continues the cycle track straight through the junction and adds a pedestrian refuge island in the parking lane. The second option expands the width of the walkway at the station exit, with the bike lane swerving around it.
Animation of existing situation
Option A – with cycle track running straight through the junction and a pedestrian refuge island in the parking lane
Option B – shows a wider walkway at the station exit, with the bike lane alongside it
BuroHappold’s approach to developing proposals for the new cycle track allowed multiple options to be compared holistically – incorporating pedestrian, cyclist and driver perspectives – allowing the client to observe behaviors, actions, and reactions. This enabled us to not only effectively demonstrate the different options available to our client, but to accurately map the route of the proposed cycle path, taking into consideration the conditions and challenges of the location.
Services and approach
When we integrate our specialist teams around an approach, the benefits to the client multiply