General Principles

Cycle Design Principles:

Cycle Infrastructure Design LTN 1/20 sets out 5 core core design principles, specifically that Networks and Routes should be Coherent, Direct, Safe, Comfortable and Attractive. These principles should guide all designs from start to finish:

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.

More detail behind these principles can be found in Chapter 1 of Cycle infrastructure design LTN 1/20

The DfT’s Gear Change: A bold vision for cycling and walking also outline the following key design principles:

  • People who cycle must be separated from volume traffic, both at junctions and on the stretches of road between them.
  • People who cycle must be separated from pedestrians
  • People who cycle 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

There are 22 summary principles set out in LTN 1/20, which form an integral part of the guidance on cycle infrastructure design. These will help to deliver high quality infrastructure based on the lessons learned from cycle infrastructure delivered to date – both where this has been done well but also where delivery did not meet the outcomes desired.

ECC Recommendations

Anyone involved in the design of cycle schemes should use the above principles wherever possible to ensure the delivery of high quality cycle infrastructure in Essex.