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Cities for Cycling

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How NACTO helps cities design better streets for bikes

In 2010, cities banded together to develop a first-of-its-kind document: bikeway design guidance developed by cities, for cities. This manual, the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide, sparked a design revolution in cities nationwide, where city ingenuity and values were elevated, in service of safe and vibrant streets and transportation networks. In the decade since the Guide was first published, redesigned city streets, for many decades an afterthought, are now widely seen as key to stemming North America’s safety, equity, and climate crises.

The Cities for Cycling network continues to gather the planners, engineers, and practitioners working to make biking better in their cities–and in the wider city transportation field. Through practice-informed publications and design guidance, peer network events like design charrettes, and technical conversation on our members-only listservs, NACTO creates a forum for city staff to engage with one another, and rapidly raise the state of practice for bikeway design in North America.

Cities, and the staff who power them, are the site of so much innovation, from the first protected bikeways in North America to current work with bike share and shared micromobility, low traffic streets, protected intersections, and planning for equity in bike networks. The NACTO method elevates best practices developed by cities, for cities–and raises the state of the practice everywhere.

Over 2022 and 2023, NACTO will be releasing the next chapters of bike design guidance for cities, by cities, including the long-awaited third edition of the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide

Over the next year (2022), we’ll be releasing several working papers expanding bikeway guidance. These papers will cover the most critical gaps in vetted guidance for cities, including best practices for data collection, network design, equitable network design, and scaling success to better meet the challenges of our time. And this work will feed into an even larger resource, with the first new edition of the Urban Bikeway Design Guide since 2014.

Read more about the next chapter of NACTO’s bike design guidance.

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Related NACTO Publications

Developed by and for cities, the Urban Bikeway Design Guide outlines state-of-the-practice solutions that can help create complete streets that are safe and enjoyable for people on bikes and more.

This guidance builds on NACTO’s Urban Bikeway Design Guide and sets an All Ages & Abilities criteria for selecting and implementing bike facilities.  It considers contextual factors on streets, allows planners and engineers to determine when, where, and how to best combine traffic calming tools with roadway design changes to reduce traffic fatalities and increase cycling rates and rider comfort.

Expands on the NACTO’s Urban Bikeway Design Guide and adds detailed guidance on intersection design treatments that reduce vehicle-bike and vehicle-pedestrian conflicts, including protected bike intersections, dedicated bike intersections, and minor street crossings, as well as signalization strategies to reduce conflicts and increase comfort and safety.

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Cities for Cycling Events

Since NACTO started running the Cities for Cycling network in 2010 while developing the Urban Bikeway Design Guide, we have tailored spaces for peers to regularly meet to discuss experiences and lessons learned from their work, assist with the development of design guidance, and participate in highly-tailored programming opportunities. These have included in-person and virtual trainings, roundtables, and roadshows across North America, where we brought cutting-edge treatments from the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide to:

Atlanta (2014)
Charlotte (2014)
Portland (2014)
Champaign (2015)
Denver (2015)
Portland (2015)
Atlanta (2016)
Bloomington-Normal (2016)
Chicago (2016)
Georgia (2016)
Albany (2017)
Anchorage (2017)
Aurora (2017)
Chicago (2017)
St. Louis (2019)

Chicago (2011)
Atlanta (2012)
Austin (2013)
Indianapolis (2013)
Memphis (2013)
Oakland (2014)
Boston (2016)
Nashville (2016)
New Haven (2017)
San José (2017)
San José (2017)
St. Louis (2017)
Columbus (2018)
San José (2019)
Virtual (2020)

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Additional Resources

Endorsement Campaign

66 cities, counties, and states have endorsed the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide. This unified endorsement enabled federal and state governments to recognize these best practices, and ultimately make it easier to build safe, active, and livable streets. Read about the campaign.

Bikeway Accelerators

NACTO’s City Accelerator program helps cities rapidly implement high-quality transit or bike corridors, from design to build out. The program was started in 2014 as a way to provide in-depth, on-the-ground support to member cities implementing new street design projects that may depart from existing practice.

Whether a red bus lane or protected bike lane, undertaking new projects requires changing business as usual. Under Accelerators, NACTO helps cities develop the new partnerships and pathways needed to implement these projects, bringing together the rich peer network to help cities move projects from idea to implementation through lasting programmatic change. Learn about how NACTO is helping cities accelerate high-quality bikeway implementation.