Before you start designing and improving your cycle highway, it is important to be sure about the optimal route alignment. You might want to avoid the mistake that in a late stage of the design process someone comes up with a better scenario for the route alignment.
In certain cases (e.g. the F8 cycle highway along the canal) the route alignment is evident and uncontroversial. Alternative scenarios are not important if there are no feasible alternatives or when there is a very strong opportunity like an old railway track or a waterway that provides valuable connections for commuters.
In other cases however there is more than one scenario to realize or improve the cycle highway. These alternative scenarios for the route alignment may have (depending on the design ambitions) their own pros and cons and need a well-considered choice in the planning phase. Some scenarios might be more direct and straight forward, but they could be less attractive or safe (e.g. more intersections) and might miss an important connection to a major working place, residential area or public transport hub.
You can use the following questions to assess the overall quality of the preceding planning phase.
Checklist route alignment:
1. What are the alternative scenarios for the route alignment?
When you want to design and build only one segment of the desired cycle highway route, it is important to assess how this segment is related to the whole route alignment. Without a clear vision on the whole route you might end up spending a lot of money on a segment that might not be a part of a future cycle highway.
It is advised to assess how the preferred scenario for the route alignment is related to popular roads that are already being used by cyclists (see f.i. strava global heatmap)? Can you imagine a very promising alternative scenario that was not investigated in the earlier planning phase? Is there f.i. a much cheaper (traffic calming) scenario for cars that enables you to recycle existing roads and render the need for new expensive cycling infrastructure obsolete?
If there is a new promising scenario, it is advised to go back to the first planning phase to evaluate the different options. Keep also in mind that you might want to avoid the mistake that in a late stage of the desing process opponents come up with very strong arguments for a better route alignment.
2. What were the criteria to evaluate the different scenario’s for the route alignment?
Maybe the planning phase focused too much on certain criteria like improving directness and neglected other important criteria such as attractiveness, gradient, coherence, social safety or connections to the local network? This could be corrected by opting for another route alignment or by adding extra design goals in the design and build phase. Browse the cycle highway assessment tool to explore more design goals.
3. What are the most important pros and cons of the preferred route alignment?
If there was a well-considered choice for one scenario above other alternative scenario's for the route alignment, you have a good view on the main challenges and bottlenecks you have to deal with in the design and build phase. Some of the collected feedback from stakeholders will have an impact on the design goals of your project.
The preferred scenario for the route alignment can also learn from the other alternative scenarios. If the chosen scenario scores lower on f.i. attractivity, coherence or social safety, you might want to select design goals to improve these aspects for the preferred scenario.