Researchers develop tool that identifies priority locations for cycleways

Researchers at the University of Leeds have developed a tool that can identify priority locations for new cycleways, ranking roads by their ‘cycling potential’ estimated using a Propensity to Cycle Tool (PCT).

The system then represents the estimated number of cycling trips along this road travelling to or from work or school assuming the Government’s aim to double cycling by 2025 is met.

The ‘top ranked new cycleways’ represents the roads with the highest cycling potential which also have spare space; that is, are either wide or have two or more road lanes in one direction. Researchers restricted the analysis to focusing on roads with spare lanes since these have the capacity to accommodate new cycleways whilst maintaining two-way traffic. New cycleways on these routes may therefore be faster to deliver than those requiring roads to be closed to traffic or introducing one-way systems.

In addition, these are likely to represent the key arterial routes into town and city centres; hence new cycleways on these roads could result in large increases in cycling volumes.

The project was commissioned by Sustrans and the Department for Transport to develop a tool that would help with identifying promising locations for new cycleways in England. The immediate purpose of this project is to inform bids for Tranche 2 of the Emergency Active Travel Fund particularly for authorities which have not yet developed Local Cycling and Walking Investment Plans. Tranche 2 will fund temporary or permanent infrastructure schemes aimed at increasing active travel and helping to shift people away from public transport given capacity constraints imposed by social distancing.

For each combined and local authority, the tool identifies existing cycleways, promising locations for new cycleways on roads with spare space, top ranked new cycleways and what a cohesive cycling network might look like in the longer-term, according to researchers Dr Robin Lovelace and Dr Joey Talbot.

The tool also identifies the cohesive network by considering a wider range of interventions such as closing roads to motorised traffic and creating one-way systems. Unlike the ‘top ranked new cycleways’ layer, the cohesive network comprises all of the major high cycle potential corridors, including sections where the roads are narrower.

The layer was generated by joining up roads that have a high cycling potential on some or all their length. The cohesive network might help authorities considering area-wide interventions such as pedestrian and cycle zones or modal filters, said the researchers.

To find out how this tool could help you, please go to:


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