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Development of Rural Bicycle Compatibility Index [Final Report]
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Development of Rural Bicycle Compatibility Index [Final Report]
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    SPR-PL-1(038) P533
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    Level of Service (LOS) is a qualitative measure that describes the operation of motor vehicle traffic. LOS is defined using traffic characteristics such as speed, travel time, freedom to maneuver, and safety. A standard system for measuring Level of Service has been in use for many years in the description of motor vehicle traffic. In the area of bicycle transportation, no such standard currently exists. Many attempts at developing a LOS standard have been made for describing urban traffic, but no research has specifically focused on describing rural bicycle traffic. The development of a rural bicycle compatibility index (RBCI) is described. A recent Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) research project developed a Bicycle Compatibility Index (BCI). This index was developed for urban and suburban roadway segments and incorporated those variables that bicyclists typically use to assess how compatible a roadway segment is for travel by bicycle. The FHWA BCI can be used by bicycle coordinators, transportation planners, traffic engineers, and others to evaluate existing facilities to determine what improvements may be required, as well as the geometric and operational requirements for new facilities to achieve the desired level of bicycle service. The objective of this thesis is to develop a rural equivalent of the BCI. Roadways in rural Nebraska were used to develop the RBCI. Although the specific results of this work are clearly applicable to Nebraska and other similar rural areas, the general methodology and concepts could easily be used to develop a more general RBCI that would have national applicability. An RBCI will provide bicycle coordinators, transportation planners, traffic engineers, and others the capability to better plan and design bicycle compatible roadways. Specifically, an RBCI model can be used for operational evaluation, design, and planning.

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