Pedestrian and Cycle Movement

In new residential areas, pedestrian and cycle movement should be coherent, direct, safe, comfortable and attractive. The pages in this section outline the design guidelines for how this can be achieved identifying considerations around pedestrians and cycles, cycle movement in developments and design principles.

Route design should overcome any physical barriers to pedestrian and cycle movement while taking into account topography, the lighting of routes and appropriate shelter, seating and resting points. The latter in particular should be accessible to and suitable for users of all ages and a range of physical and mental abilities. It is worth noting that this may result in the creation of less direct but flatter routes.

Direct routes should be provided to local facilities and adjacent neighbourhoods in such a way that it is more convenient and attractive to walk or cycle than to drive to such destinations.

The overarching aim should be to discourage the use of cars for local trips and to encourage walking and cycling between homes and local facilities. It is also important to ensure good accessibility and multiple pedestrian and cycle access points to residential areas from major roads.

A wealth of cycling infrastructure is available to designers; for more information, refer to Sustrans’ ‘Guide to Cycle Friendly Infrastructure’  and ‘Essex Cycling Strategy’  documents.

Pedestrians and Cycles

  • Cyclists bust be separated from volume traffic, both at junsctions and on the stretches of road between them.
  • Cyclists must be separated from pedestrians
  • Cyclists must be treated as vehicles, not pedestrians
  • Routes must join together; isolated stretches of good value provision are of little value
  • Routes must feel direct, logical and be intuitively understandable by all road users
  • Routes and schemes must take account of how users actually behave
  • Purely cosmetic alterations should be avoided
  • Barriers, such as chicane barriers and dismount signs, should be avoided
  • Routes should be designed only by those who have experienced the road on a cycle

Cycle Movement in Developments

Designers need to ensure that they understand what cyclists need and how they behave, i.e. widths required by cyclists, visibility needs at junctions, preferred gradients, low-speed manoeuvres, parking manoeuvres etc.

In addition, designers need to understand the characteristics of a cycle network and should demonstrate how their proposals will enhance existing strategic networks in Essex. For more information, refer to the suite of cycling plans created by Essex County Council.

Networks within new developments should link to the wider community while providing access to and through local centres. This often requires the introduction of mixed-priority streets, direct connections, filtered permeability, area-wide 20mph limits, cycle-friendly junctions, on- and off-carriageway cycle tracks and traffic-free routes. As a rule, developments should maximise route opportunities with secure and convenient cycle-parking at both ends.

Designers should consider the principles that underpin cycle-friendly design and how they can be applied to route design and development. The central principles of cycle-friendly design seek to encourage routes that are coherent, direct, safe, comfortable and attractive.

The following principles have been adapted from the Sustrans publication Cycle Infrastructure Design: Local Transport Note 1/20 and are recognised as industry standards.

Table below shows the core cycle-friendly design principles.

Criteria Description
Coherent Cycle networks should be planned and designed to allow people to reach their day to day destinations easily, along routes that connect, are simple to navigate and are of a consistently high quality.
Direct Directness is measured in both distance and time, and so routes should provide the shortest and fastest way of travelling from place to place. This includes providing facilities at junctions that minimise delay and the need to stop. Minimising the effort required to cycle, by enabling cyclists to maintain momentum, is an important aspect of directness.
Safe Not only must cycle infrastructure be safe, it should also be perceived to be safe so that more people feel able to cycle.
Comfortable Comfortable conditions for cycling require routes with good quality, well-maintained smooth surfaces, adequate width for the volume of users, minimal stopping and starting, avoiding steep gradients, excessive or uneven crossfall and adverse camber. The need to interact with high speed or high-volume motor traffic also decreases user comfort by increasing the level of stress and the mental effort required to cycle.
Attractive Cycling and walking provide a more sensory experience than driving. Cycle infrastructure should help to deliver public spaces that are well designed and finished in attractive materials and be places that people want to spend time using.

Design Principles

This diagram illustrates how traffic volume and speed should influence decisions about the segregation of cyclists from other traffic. It also demonstrates how the restraint of traffic speeds and volumes may be used to create conditions likely to encourage new and novice cyclists to use the carriageway.

Cycle Links and Designs

Incorporating the relevant infrastructure from the outset is key to the success of both pedestrian and cycle routes – as are adequate storage/cycle-parking facilities.

In new developments, good design can create opportunities for children to cycle to school unaided and unaccompanied – unfortunately, unsafe routes and a lack of safe cycle-parking at or near schools can prevent this becoming a reality.

For further information, please see the Essex Cycle Design portal.


Page updated: 18/11/2021


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