Considering Shared Use Bicycle Facilities on Narrow Streets in Norway
Kelly Pitera, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Cristina Espinosa Mateo, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
This research examines the feasibility of shared-use facilities in Norway by studying successful implementations of shared-use facilities and determining if such facilities are appropriate given current Norwegian design standards and policies.
To accommodate the growing number of cyclists in already congested urban areas, it is important to consider how existing infrastructure could be better utilized. While it is optimal to physically separate bicycle traffic from motorized vehicle traffic, space constraints in the existing built environment often prevent this. One potential solution to accommodate both sets of users is that of shared-use facilities where bicyclists and motorists share the same travel lanes without a designated physical separation between the two modes. The objective of this research is to determine if such facilities can address the mobility needs of both motor vehicles and bicycles in narrow, urban streets in Norway. This was done by studying existing, successful implementations of shared-use facilities and determining if such facilities are appropriate given current Norwegian design standards and policies.
Various existing shared-use facilities were found to have similar attributes such as function and placement within the road network, but were adapted within each city to meet the needs of a particular environment and comply with given design standards. Standard facilities include advisory lanes, bicycle streets or woonerfs, contraflow bicycling lanes, and sharrow markings. Factors such as street widths, presence of parking, traffic volumes (motorized and non-motorized) and speed limits were identified as key factors in determining a specific solution.
Considering the characteristics associated with successfully implemented shared-use facilities throughout Europe, it was determined that such facilities would be appropriate for numerous configurations of one- and two-lane streets in Norway. Given current Norwegian design standards, these are streets with traffic volumes of less than 4.000 vehicles per day or speeds limits less than 50km/h, and widths between 4 and 6,5 meters. Several specific streets within the road network were suggested by the Norwegian Public Road Administration (NPRA) for further study. These streets are representative of the types of streets which the NPRA would like to consider shared-use facilities for. For these streets, sharrow markings and advisory lanes were the most commonly appropriate facility solutions, and thus are the facilities suggested for further study.
While this research has shown that it is physically possible to place share-use facilities on existing urban streets, existing policies and attitudes toward bicycle infrastructure add challenges to the successful implementation of such facilities. Further research should aim to strengthen the case for shared-use facilities. This includes traffic analysis to determine the impact of shared-use facilities on motorized traffic, as well as studying preferences and safety perceptions of both cyclists and motorists on such facilities.
Association for European Transport