Bicycles and Pedestrians


Bicyclists travelling on protected bike lanes in Chicago, IL

Safe, comfortable, and connected pedestrian and bicycle networks allow people of all ages and abilities to safely and conveniently get where they want to go. Connected networks of walking and bicycling infrastructure contribute to safe, accessible, and livable communities; promote physical activity and health; enhance access to opportunity and essential services; and reduce motor vehicle emissions. Legislation and regulations require the consideration of bicycle and pedestrian policies and projects in transportation plans and project development. State DOTs and MPOs are responsible for the development and integrated management and operation of transportation systems and facilities including accessible pedestrian walkways and bicycle transportation facilities. As such, planning for walking and bicycling should be a part of the transportation planning and Federal-aid project development processes.

Bicycle transportation facilities and pedestrian walkways must be considered, where appropriate, in conjunction with all new construction and reconstruction of transportation facilities, except where bicycle and pedestrian use are not permitted. Accordingly, transportation agencies should plan, fund, and implement improvements to their walking and bicycling networks, including linkages to transit. In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S.DOT) encourages transportation agencies to go beyond the minimum requirements, and proactively provide convenient, safe, and context-sensitive facilities that foster increased accessibility to jobs and community services with the use by bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities, and use universal design characteristics when appropriate. Transportation programs and facilities should support accessibility and mobility that accommodates people of all ages and abilities, including people too young to drive, people who cannot drive, and people who choose not to drive by providing viable nonmotorized transportation options.

This PlanWorks Decision Guide is intended to help Metropolitan Planning Organizations, State Departments of Transportations, and other partners fully integrate pedestrian and bicycle planning and design into the formal transportation planning process. It provides detailed information on how multimodal transportation can be incorporated into specific steps in the planning process.

The Decision Guide provides detailed information on the individual key decisions at which these processes are integrated. Explore the graphic below to learn about this relationship:

  • Hover over the highlighted key decisions to understand the specific relationship of bicycles and pedestrians to the decision.
  • Click on any highlighted key decision for more information concerning bicycles and pedestrians and this decision. You will find useful information in the "Data" and "Integrated Planning" tabs.

Key Decisions that are grayed-out have no specific relevance to the individual application or topic area but are still accessible from this graphic.