Sunday, January 22, 2017

Post Article on "Level of Traffic Stress" Bike Maps

Photo: Washington Post
Is biking stressing you out? Here’s how planners are trying to make things better is the title of an article in Sunday's Washington Post about how local jurisdictions are creating maps that show the level of traffic stress on bike routes.
Some planners in the Washington region — along with a growing number across the U.S. — are beginning to pay more attention to the vast majority of people who they say would bike more often and to more places if doing so felt safer.

Planners in the District and Montgomery and Arlington counties are using satellite maps and street-level data about road widths, speed limits and parking patterns to gauge the “level of traffic stress” (LTS) along local roads. That stress factors in the sense of danger, as well as unpleasant noise and vehicle exhaust.
Fairfax County is developing a similar map as an update to the current Fairfax County Bicycle Map. That map has two primary categories of routes, "Preferred" and "Less Preferred." With only two categories for on-road routes, cyclists who are not familiar with the routes have little information about their comfort level. Many of the Less Preferred routes are not bike-friendly and are avoided by most cyclists. They are shown only to connect the Preferred routes.

Level of Traffic Stress maps usually show several (4-5) .levels of stress. Besides giving cyclists more information, the highest stress routes clearly show where improvements are needed. Many of our neighborhood streets are very low stress but they do not connect to form a complete network.  A stress map would show where a few improvements could connect these lower stress roads.

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