Tools CHIPS' ARC principle for change of direction

CHIPS' ARC principle for change of direction
Playlist
Change of direction
Tooltype
Strategy
Scale
Europe
Review
CHIPS recommended
Location
Europe
Tool provider
Name
CHIPS consortium Joris Van Damme
Readability tool main characteristics
Title
CHIPS' ARC principle for change of direction
Playlist
Change of direction
Tooltype
Strategy
Scale
Europe
Does the readability tool encompass a certain location?
Yes
Location
Europe
To whom is the tool primarily directed?
New user (e.g. someone who wants to try it)
Readability tool branding strategy
Is the tool related to
Other mobility product

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Readability tool description
Readability tool description

Decision points

Once you enter a cycle highway you know you just have to cycle straight forward.  A cycle highway route however is not always a straight and self-explaining line of infrastructure between A and B. At certain points cycling straight forward means that you leave the cycle highway. How do you know on time that you have to turn left or right on an intersection? And how do you know you left the cycle highway in the case you made an error? And in the case there are two equivalent options to continue straight forward, how do you know which option is the right one? On these kind of decision points specific guidance is needed to help the cyclist in the right direction. 

Self-explaining cycle highways ideally have a clear route-alignment and self-explaining infrastructure that limits the number of decision points and wayfinding tools. But cycle highways are also the backbone of the local cycle network and need to have intersections to improve the connections. On these intersections the cyclist needs tools to help him or her take the right decision. 

ARC principle 

The CHIPS consortium recommends to apply the ARC-wayfinding principle on important decision points like a change of direction or a crossing. By applying this principle consequently in both situations, you provide a consequent uniformity for the user. The ARC-principle consists of three steps: 

  1. Announce before the intersection the decision the cyclist needs to take. This can be done 50 meters before the decision point (see f.i. readability tools in Flanders).  By using a direction sign that is well visible in advance (before approaching an intersection), users are prepared and do not have to stop to find their way or make surprise maneuvers because they spotted a sign in the last moment. Crossings are often a place of interaction between users, so the cyclist needs to know the direction in advance to be able to signal their intentions and focus on observation of other users.
     
  2. (Re)direct on the decision point. This wayfinding tool helps the cyclist to take the right decision (f.i. turning left or right after a crossing). This second step is a very common step in all way finding systems. However, if there is no announcement before (step 1), a new cyclist will need more time and effort to make a decision and the chance for errors will increase. The first step improves the efficiency of the second step . 
      
  3. Confirm after the decision point that the cyclist is right. This is at the same time an error strategy.

Confirmation signs after a crossing or intersection might seem redundant, but this confirmation improves the general route identification and can also be part of an error strategy. You know you are wrong when you don't get a confirmation and this early detection of an error enables you to correct fast. Redundancy in signposting is also good for another reason.  Users need to get in touch with the identity/brand. Redundancy improves the route identification and makes the wayfinding system more robust. From time to time signs go missing, are obscured by overgrown vegetation, vandalized or turned in the wrong direction. 

Browse the toolbox for specific examples of the ARC-principle in Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands...

See also the chapter on signposting.

Functionality
  • The principle is based on best practices and lessons learned from Belgium, Danmark and the Netherlands.
  • Surveys show that the announcement step before the decision point helps safe and smooth decision making on the crossings. Most cyclists prefer to have information before the decision point.
  • The confirmation step provides an error strategy and improves at the same time route identification.
  • Robust system that can keep on functioning when one of the elements is missing.
  • The principle improves the safety and predictability on the cycle highway.
  • The 3 steps have the implication that more tools are used with a higher (maintanance) cost.

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