Mobility and Transport

Clean transport, Urban transport

1.2 Cycle tracks

1.2 Cycle tracks

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A cycle track is part of the road network used exclusively by people who cycle, which has physical separation from motorised traffic.

Considerations for applicability

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Level of cycling

The expected level of cycling influences suitability and design of cycle track. Whilst cycle tracks are likely to be beneficial for all levels of cycling in cities, (provision of dedicated space for cycling), they are likely to be most suited to climber and champion cities. 

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Urban layout/topography

Steep gradients can negatively impact the comfort and attractiveness of a cycle track. Cycle track routes should avoid steep gradients, although the directness of a route should also be considered.

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Cycle tracks may be able to support the mobility of seasonal peaks in tourists by offering routes to and around tourist sites. Students often live within cycling distance of their education facility and so cycle tracks may also encourage the use of bikes and improve safety for students who cycle. This is also the case for the provision of cycle tracks connecting various population groups to a range of popular destinations.  

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Finance resources

Cycle tracks can be costly as they require the physical adaption of an existing road or pavement, which may include installing bollards or creating grade differences. Consider the indirect costs of supporting measures such as signage and enforcement. Particular attention should be given to intersection approaches of cycle tracks.

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Time & human resources

Cycle tracks can take time and significant human resources to construct and maintain. Time and human resources may be required immediately following their implementation to ensure cars do not enter the cycle track.

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Warning sign - safety Road safety

Cycle tracks provide a physically separated space in which people who cycle can travel without mixing with motor vehicles. Along straight sections of the carriageway, cycle tracks provide greater protection for people who cycle compared with cycle lanes. However, at intersections design must ensure that the visibility of people cycling to motorists is maximised.

Note: An overview of the direct and indirect impacts resulting from correctly implemented cycling measures is available in Challenges that cities face and how cycling can address them.

In-depth measure analysis, case studies and further guidance