Design and Build Mistakes to avoid

  1. Plan
  2. Design and Build
  3. Sell
  4. Evaluate

Mistake: you did not consider design goals for pedestrians on certain parts of the cycle highway

Design strategies for cyclists and pedestrians.

You opened your brand new cycle highway and you realise now that it is in a way too successful. You notice  that certain parts of your cycle highway are also used a lot by pedestrians (with impulsive pets). There are more and more conflicts and frictions between faster cyclists and pedestrians during rush hour. The number of complaints from both cyclists and pedestrians are rising. Faster cyclists are frustrated and complain that they cannot ride smooth and fast anymore. So now you are obliged to make harder choices or take extra measures to manage the frictions. Do you need to change the new infrastructure? Or is it likely to become a win or lose game for pedestrians?

This difficult situation could have been avoided in the design phase. For instance by considering design ambitions for pedestrians from the start. Maybe you missed an opportunity to provide a pedestrian zone that can be used during rush hour? Maybe you could have provided another attractive alternative? Other choices in your initial design could have helped you to avoid most of the problems and save extra costs. On the RS 1 cycle highway, the designers have provided a separate zone for pedestrians. Other design options around this topic can be found here.

Mistake: You missed a strong opportunity because you did not consider an important design goal.

In a late stage of the design and build process you realize that you missed an interesting opportunity. A small improvement of your design could have helped you to create extra benefits. As a result, you missed a strong and unique opportunity to provide a better design that serves more goals or is more future proof.

You focused on the design of safe and comfortable infrastructure and did not consider the design ambitions concerning attractivity, readability or improving the brand awareness. Therefore, you missed the opportunity to improve travel pleasure or to bring potential users in touch with your mobility product. You missed f.i. the unique chance to design the new cycle bridge, bicycle counter, shelter, service point, etc. in a way that new potential users more easily get in touch with the cycle highway brand. For examples browse the playlists exposure and services in the readability toolbox.

Mistake: you did not consider enough different scenarios for the route alignment.

In a late stage of the design and build process a stakeholder comes up with a new and very promising alternative scenario for the route alignment. This new scenario was not considered in the planning phase. The scenario:

  • enables you to achieve more design goals and ambitions and leads in the end to a better mobility product;

  • makes the design and build process much easier and maybe less expensive;

  • is picked up by an opponent of your cycle highway project. He starts to use this scenario to promote his or her own private goals (f.i. avoiding a cycle highway in his backyard, promoting another goal, etc.).

Mistake: the cycling connection is not a clear case of a cycle highway.

The cycling connection you want to design and build is not in accordance with the definition of a cycle highway (see also the maturity assessment tool). It is rather a recreational cycling connection or local cycle path. It becomes difficult to communicate and promote the benefits of the project to different stakeholders and to build up a strong support base. Some stakeholders drop out, others find the design ambitions much too high or completely wrong. People start to question the need to build it. Some of them might even start to lobby against the project and attract media attention. As a consequence, it becomes difficult to realize other valuable cycle highway projects in the region. Link to governance?

Mistake: you opted for a unique route-identity and local brand for your cycle highway.

CHIPS' recommended identity principles.

You have given your cycle highway a unique name with a local brand and look and feel. After some years you realize that this cycle highway is part of a much broader network of (future) cycle highways in your region, country or even continent.

More and more regions in Europe are investing in cycle highways as a new kind of mobility product in the mobility market (motorways, railways, metro lines, buses...) How will you position cycle highways in this market? Will you continue to invest in other unique route-identities, logos and specific promotion for each route? Or will you rebrand your cycle highway by opting for a more future-proof network-identity?

Opting for a network-brand has a lot of advantages. Each communication around a specific route will at the same time strengthen the general awareness of the broader network and the understanding of the concept cycle highway. And this works also in the other way. 

The network strategy also facilitates the integration of your local cycle highway products in different touch points like maps and digital tools for route planning (f.i. Google Maps), signalization and wayfinding strategies, #hashtags in social media, word-of-mouth communication etc. If you want to establish more exposure and harvest the strong economies of scale, you need to avoid the mistake of thinking too local. If you already have a local name, it is recommended to combine it with an ambitious network brand. By using the recommended c-number coding strategy, you opt for a future proof network-identity on the highest European scale. Different examples of network-branding can be found in the readability toolbox. Browse the readability toolbox to find more about CHIPS recommended identity-principles.

Mistake: a network-identity and brand colour strategy that is not future proof enough.

Comparison between RS1 branding strategy and the F-code-logo branding strategy. The logic behind the F-codes in Flanders.

One of the strong points of the desing project of the German cycle highway RS1 is that the designers have created a network-identity on a larger scale. Whith its letter-number code, the new RS1-brand refers to a broader future network of cycle highways in the region. While the central brand colour of the RS1 is blue, the plan is to opt for other brand colours for the other cycle highways. But are there enough contrasting colours to differentiate the future cycle highway network?  

The five Flemish provinces in Belgium have opted for F-numbers and go beyond the regional scale. The collaboration resulted in a network-branding on state level (Flanders). Together with the F-numbers in the Netherlands, Flanders and the Netherlands will achieve a remarkable international scale. But what about the F-cycle highways to Brussels? And what will be the branding-strategy when the Frensh speaking parts of Belgium invest in cycle highways? The best solution is that Brussels uses the same blue code-logo strategy with the more universal letter C instead of F. 

CHIPS recommends new starting regions to opt for a more European scale of branding. This can be achieved by implementing C-numbers. The C not only refers to the English word “cycling” and “cycle highway”, but also to the ancient greek word 'cyclos' or 'Kyklos' (ancient Greek κύκλος). The C can therefore work in different languages like Dutch, Danish, French or Italian (e.g. cyclostrade, cyclostrada). With its ancient roots in Greek and Latin, the C is more universal that the Dutch "F" or the Germen "RS" (Radschnellweg). Browse CHIPS' readability toolbox to learn more on this topic.


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