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 are working in partnership to develop an Alberta specific design guide for bicycle facilities - The Alberta Bicycle Facilities Design Guide.  The development of the guide includes a review of local, provincial, national and international best practices.

Project goals

The overall project goals for the Alberta Bicycle Facilities Design Guide included (but were not limited to):
  • Adding consistency to bicycle facility design across the Province, including tie-ins between jurisdictions;
  • Alleviating pressure on jurisdictions to justify final designs of bicycle facilities; and
  • Providing useful information for jurisdictions of all types and sizes on building world class bicycle facilities in Alberta that allow cyclists to feel fully accommodated.

It is important for designers and the public to be aware that the planning, design, implementation and maintenance of bicycle facilities is an evolving practice and must be done using sound engineering judgement and include consideration 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. Bicycle facility design was relatively new to The City at the time and more experience was desired before starting to develop the guide, as a result the project was temporarily put on hold.

With experience gained between 2011 and 2015, The City was now ready to begin developing a guide to design bicycle facilities. In addition to the experience gained by The City, the Province of Alberta determined that more consistency was desired in bicycle facility design across the province because of a proliferation of local and national practices; inconsistencies in practices; the introduction of new devices, practices and treatments; and the implementation of more roundabouts. These items resulted in the need for the development of a guide that can be used across the Province for the design of bicycle facilities. The intent of the guide is that it can to be used by jurisdictions of all types and sizes, with this intention, it was important that the development of the guide be a partnership that includes jurisdictions of different types and sizes.

Engagement timelines

The guide has been under development through multiple phases. The first phase included engagement with stakeholders 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; and, identify issues or concerns with current design guidance and content that would be useful to include in the Design Guide.

After the Community Road Shows, the project team consolidated the feedback received, 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 a number of workshop sessions and provided an opportunity to provide online feedback. At that time 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, asked what additional concerns stakeholders may want addressed; and sought out support for the guide.

Since June 2018, the team has been using the information gathered through engagement, experience and conversations with team members from the partner jurisdictions in the ongoing development of the Alberta Bicycle Facilities Design Guide.

Next Steps

The next steps are to compare The Guide to current local and provincial legislation, looking at how bicycles are accommodated based on the rules of the road including (but not limited to) the Traffic Safety Act to see if changes are required to accommodate bicycles as shown in The Guide. A timeline for potential changes to legislation will follow the Province of Alberta’s process for changes to legislation.

For more information

If you have questions or feedback about the Alberta Bicycle Facilities Design Guide, connect with The City of Calgary through the Traffic Control Change Feedback online form.