Alberta bicycle facilities design guide project

The City of Calgary, Alberta Transportation, The City of Edmonton, The City of Red Deer, The Town of Canmore and Rocky View County worked in partnership to develop an Alberta specific design guide for bicycle facilities - The Alberta Bicycle Facilities Design Guide. The development of the guide included a review of best practices from a:

  • local level
  • provincial level
  • national and international levels

Next Steps and Current Status

A comparison to the current Provincial legislation was done to see if changes are required to accommodate bicycles as shown in the draft guide. These included looking at:

  • the Traffic Safety Act
  • Use of Highway
  • Rules of The Road Regulation

The comparison found gaps that need to be looked at before the draft reference in The Guide can be removed.  Addressing the gaps identified will follow the Province of Alberta’s process for changes to legislation.

Project goals

The overall project goals for the Alberta Bicycle Facilities Design Guide include:

  • Adding consistency to bicycle facility design across the Province, including tie-ins between jurisdictions.
  • Reducing pressure to justify final designs of bicycle facilities.
  • Providing useful information for jurisdictions of all types and sizes on building world-class bicycle facilities in Alberta.

It is important for both designers and the public to be aware that the planning, design, implementation and maintenance of bicycle facilities is an evolving practice. It must use sound engineering judgement and include attention for site specific and legislative constraints.

Project background

An action item in The City of Calgary’s Council Approved Cycling Strategy (2011) was to develop a bicycle facility design guide for use by The City. The intent was to provide guidance for the inclusion of cycling facilities in the Complete Streets Guide.

With experience gained between 2011 and 2015, The City began to develop a guide to design bicycle facilities. The Province of Alberta determined that more consistency was needed in bicycle facility design throughout the province because of:

  • the variety of local and national practices
  • inconsistent practices and treatments
  • the introduction of new devices
  • and the usage of more roundabouts

A guide for all of Alberta

Development started on a guide that could be used across the province by jurisdictions of all types and sizes. Therefore it was important that the development of the guide be a partnership with all levels of legislation.

Development and Engagement

The development of The Guide included looking at local, provincial, national and international best practices for the planning, design and implementation of bicycle facilities.  The development followed a multi-phase plan and reviewed over 25 other documents that cover the planning, design and implementation of bicycle facilities. 

Community Road Shows

Initial engagement with stakeholders was through Community Road Shows held throughout June and July of 2017 at nine different locations across Alberta. The purpose of Community Road Shows was to:

  • bring together various stakeholder groups
  • introduce the project
  • provide an overview of the schedule and process
  • present a preliminary overview of the content to be included in the Design Guide
  • identify local guidelines and standards to be considered in the scan of other jurisdictions
  • identify issues or concerns with current design guidance and content that would be useful to include in the new Design Guide

The project team consolidated the feedback received from the engagement, completed a scan of guidance from both the partner jurisdictions and other jurisdictions, and used that information to draft initial contents for the Design Guide.


The project team re-engaged Stakeholders in June 2018 through workshop sessions and provided an opportunity to provide online feedback. The stakeholders were provided with an overview of the draft content in The Guide. The team used this opportunity to gather feedback on

  • the content of the guide
  • what additional concerns they want to address
  • support for the guide

The team used the feedback gathered through engagement along with experience and conversations with team members from the partner jurisdictions and information found in over 25 documents that were reviewed to develop the Alberta Bicycle Facilities Design Guide.

For more information

If you have questions or feedback about the Alberta Bicycle Facilities Design Guide, connect with The City of Calgary. 


This information has no legal status and cannot be used as an official interpretation of the various bylaws, codes and regulations currently in effect. The City of Calgary accepts no responsibility to persons relying solely on this information. Web pages are updated periodically. ​