TfL releases best practice guidance on cycle design standards


Following a major international study comparing cycling networks across 14 major cities, Transport for London (TfL) has published its finalised London cycle design standards to help spread best practice across the capital and beyond.

TfL's design guide, published on the back of the study’s conclusions, covers a wide range of areas for civil engineers and urban planners including general design requirements, tools and techniques, cycle lanes and tracks, junctions and crossings and signs and markings.

The document also builds on lessons from TfL’s previous trials of cycling infrastructure such as methods of separation from motor traffic and low-level cycle signals.

Ben Plowden, director of surface strategy and planning at TfL, said: ‘Cycling in London has progressed by leaps and bounds in the last decade, with the number of people living in London that cycle to work having more than doubled in this time.

'This vital international best practice study has allowed us to look closely at how other major cities across the world have increased cycling, so we can learn from their lessons and encourage more people to take to two wheels.’

TfL’s design document identified ‘six core design outcomes’, which together form best practice, these include safety, directness, comfort, coherence, attractiveness and adaptability.

Supported with case studies and clear visual examples the document sets out Do’s and Don’ts in each area. Advice includes: ‘Space for cycling is important but a narrow advisory cycle lane next to a narrow general traffic lane and guard-rail at a busy junction is not an acceptable offer for cyclists.

‘Uncomfortable transitions between on-and off carriageway facilities are best avoided, particularly at locations where conflict with other road users is more likely.’

The guidance, which was put out to consultation in June last year, will help inform TfL and London boroughs as they deliver the mayor’s ongoing £913m Vision for Cycling.

The 12-month International cycling infrastructure best practice study , which helped influence the TfL document was carried out by John Dales (Urban Movement) and Phil Jones (PJA).

It analysed best practice from across the world, and highlighted some common factors that can be seen in the best cycling cities.

These included:

· dedicated, fit-for-purpose space for cycling, generally free of intrusion by heavy and fast motor vehicle traffic;

· clarity about the overall cycling network, with connectedness, continuity, directness and legibility all being key attributes;

· clear, widely-accepted and routinely-used guidance on the design of cycling infrastructure.

Cities featured in the study included New York, Berlin, Christchurch and Seville, as well as Amsterdam and Copenhagen - seen as ‘mature’ cycling cities that had adapted their cycling policies over time.

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