3. Option identification

3.1 Problem identification

Problems and issues that prevent or discourage walking or cycling should be identified so that solutions and opportunities for improvement can be identified and implemented appropriately. These problems and issues can take various forms including:

  • Lack of active travel infrastructure or appropriate facilities
  • Poor connectivity between paths, public transport interchanges, appropriate land uses
  • Physical safety concerns with inappropriate infrastructure for the speed and volume of traffic or poor quality facilities not navigable by wheelchairs, prams or the elderly – these inadequacies may be the result of poorly designed and maintained infrastructure (such as trip hazards, lack of ramps, inadequate path widths or excessive poles)
  • Lack of security as people may feel unsafe without CCTV, lighting or ‘passive surveillance’ from activity of nearby building or facilities along the path
  • Inadequate ancillary infrastructure (such as drinking fountains, shade planting, seating, signage, bicycle parking and end of trip facilities)
  • Poor knowledge and awareness of the facilities available and associated benefits (such as better health and travel time savings).

3.2 Potential active travel approaches

3.2.1 Triple Bottom Line

Triple Bottom Line (TBL) assessment is a potentially important tool in identifying, designing and assessing active travel initiatives. Relevant TBL criteria include:

  • Health: Research indicates that increases in levels of physical activity, including walking and cycling, are associated with long term health benefits for individuals and the community.
  • Physical safety: This criterion has social and economic dimensions: improvements in active travel infrastructure can reduce the incidence and severity of crashes involving walkers and cyclists, as well as the personal trauma and economic costs caused by crashes.
  • Personal security: This is primarily a social indicator relating to how likely a person is to use a facility depending on their perceived personal security.
  • Pedestrian amenity: This criterion incorporates elements of individual developments that directly affect the quality and character of the public domain.
  • Cyclist amenity: This social and environmental criterion is affected by the quality and character of the active travel facility.
  • Encouraging mode shift: New or enhanced active travel infrastructure may produce a mode shift towards non-motorised transport with consequent health, economic and environmental benefits including reduced congestion and reduced environmental impacts such as air and noise pollution.
  • Active travel time saving: This is a component of the economic benefit of an active travel initiative.
  • Installation cost: This refers to the upfront (investment) component of the economic cost of an active travel initiative.
  • Maintenance cost: This encompasses the ongoing (recurrent) component of the economic cost of an active travel initiative.

A list of infrastructure options available to support active travel is included in Appendix B. The majority of these options are associated with the road network where road crossing facilities and interactions at intersections are significant. Appendix B includes images/diagrams of some of the less known interventions and options available and a reference table is attached in Appendix C, which can act as a guide to assessing the impacts of the interventions described.

3.3 How interventions influence demand

The potential for a specific active travel initiative to influence active travel demand will be determined by its location, scale and quality.

For example, a new pedestrian/cycle bridge would heavily influence active travel demand if it provides a connection to/from areas or facilities of significant population or land use (for example, from a residential area to an educational facility). On the other hand, a refuge island treatment on an existing road would not increase demand along a route but would provide additional safety to existing users. Similarly, a new off-road shared pedestrian/cycle path may increase the number of active travellers along that route, while an on-road cycle lane might only improve safety for existing active travel users. Incorporating end of trip facilities at a new office development - such as bicycle parking, changing rooms, showers and lockers - could have a significant impact on active travel demand, particularly work trip demand. However, installation of a water fountain on a pedestrian/cycle path would primarily benefit existing users.

3.4 How interventions influence safety and security

Active travel poses a relatively high crash risk when compared with car travel (see section 2.2.4).

The primary risk to the safety of active travel users is a crash, most likely from interactions with motorised transport. There are four levels of causality severity following a crash incident:

  1. Fatality
  2. Hospitalised
  3. Medical treatment
  4. Minor injury.

There are also risks to physical safety posed by inadequate infrastructure such as trip hazards (for example, uneven surface, heaving in concrete footpaths and potholes in roads), lack of ramps, inadequate path widths or excessive or poor placement of power and light poles.

Continuing the example described in section 3.3, a new off-road shared pedestrian/cycle path would likely see a significant improvement in safety for cyclists as they no longer need to interact with vehicles. By comparison, delineation of an on-road cycle lane may improve drivers’ awareness of cyclists but have only a minor safety benefit because the potential for conflict between cyclists and motorised is not greatly reduced.

Personal security needs to be considered where facilities are not properly monitored through CCTV or passive surveillance, or where there is poor lighting. This can be dealt with using Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED), a crime prevention strategy that outlines how physical environments can be designed to lessen the opportunity for crime.

Roundabouts generally form a safe intersection for motorists but result in higher crash rates for cyclists. This is especially the cases when roundabout design prioritises capacity over safety. In particular, multi-lane roundabouts are a concern, with fast moving vehicles interacting with bicycles.

3.5 The cost of active travel interventions

The cost of active travel infrastructure will vary depending on its type, location, scale and quality.

By way of example, the cost for a grade separated facility for a bridge crossing a four-lane road is approximately $1.5 million. That cost could increase by about $4.25 million were the bridge to be accessed by ramps rather than stairs.

A pedestrian refuge island could cost between $5,000 and $30,000 depending on the style and extent of the facility.

On-road cycle lane marking is estimated to cost about $2,500 per km plus $100 per bicycle symbol. An off-road shared pedestrian and cycle path would cost in the order of $130 per square metre for a concrete pathway, with an additional cost of $650 per linear metre for minor associated works and line marking. DIT (2012, p.65) cites construction costs for pedestrian/cycle paths in a number of Australian capital cities ranging between $1.5 million and $3 million per km.