Evaluation of Safety, Design, and Operation of Shared-Use Paths

Title: Evaluation of Safety, Design, and Operation of Shared-Use Paths
Author: Hummer, J E
Publication Date: July 2006
Dewey Decimal Number: 388.41
Call Record: DIGITAL      388.41  Hummer  2006


Evaluation of Safety, Design, and Operation of Shared-Use Paths―Final Report
Cover of Evaluation of Safety, Design, and Operation of Shared-Use Paths―Final Report

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National Technical Information Service

5301 Shawnee Road
Alexandria, VA 22312 USA


Shared-use paths are becoming increasingly busy in many places in the United States. Path designers and operators need guidance on how wide to make new or rebuilt paths, and on whether to separate the different types of users. The current guidance is not very specific; it has not been calibrated to conditions in the United States, and does not accommodate the range of modes found on a typical U.S. path. The purpose of this project was to develop a level of service (LOS) estimation method for shared-use paths that overcomes these limitations. The research included the development of the theory of traffic flow on a path, an extensive effort to collect data on path operations, and a survey through which path users expressed their degree of satisfaction with the paths shown in a series of videos. Based on the theory developed and the data collected, the researchers developed an LOS estimation method for bicyclists that requires minimal input and produces a simple and useful result. Factors involved in the estimation of an LOS for a path include the number of times a typical bicyclist meets or passes another path user, the number of those passings that are delayed, the path width, and whether the path has a centerline. The method considers four other types of path users besides the adult bicyclists for whom the LOS is calculated―pedestrians, joggers, child bicyclists, and skaters.

Supplemental Notes:

See also FHWA-HRT-05-138 and FHWA-HRT-05-139.

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Corporate Authors:

North Carolina State University, Raleigh

Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering
2501 Stinson Drive, Campus Box 7908
Raleigh, NC 27695-7908 USA

Federal Highway Administration

Office of Safety Research and Development, 6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101-2296 USA


Hummer, J E
Rouphail, N M
Toole, J L
Patten, R S
Schneider, R J
Green, J S
Hughes, R G
Fain, S J



Publication Date:



Final Report

Period Covered:

September 2000 – May 2005

Media Type:



Appendices (3) ; Figures (41) ; References (61) ; Tables (36)

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Subject Areas:

Design; Highways; Pedestrians and Bicyclists; Planning and Forecasting; Safety and Human Factors; I21: Planning of Transport Infrastructure