• Assessment of Separated Bike Lane (SBL) Applications in North Carolina

    NCDOT Research Project Number: 2020-24

 Executive Summary

  • ​Communities across North Carolina are stepping up efforts to plan and design safe, comfortable and connected networks of transportation facilities that serve bicyclists of all ages and abilities. Design and planning guidance on the national level has expanded in recent years to feature a range of bicycle facilities, from more common shared lane markings and bicycle lanes to innovative treatments like buffered and separated bicycle lanes. This guidance is based on a growing body of research documenting the benefits of separated bicycle facilities for safety and mobility. With more local agencies in North Carolina pursuing separated bike lanes (SBLs) and other low-stress bicycle facilities, there is an opportunity to assess the state of the practice with respect to SBLs in North Carolina and perform research that can influence future projects.

    Our team proposes to work with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to assess the state of the practice with respect to SBL planning and design, conduct research on the performance of SBL applications in North Carolina, and summarize these findings in a report that will also make recommendations for future activities related to SBL planning and design. The first phase of this work will involve a review of national guidance and existing research around SBLs with the goal of documenting what is currently known about these facilities and how they can be incorporated into roadway design. We will then examine how SBLs are being incorporated into plans and projects around the State of North Carolina by surveying practitioners working in local agencies, NCDOT stakeholders, and others who have been part of discussions around SBL projects in North Carolina. We will seek to learn about barriers and challenges encountered during these projects, documenting both successes and missed opportunities. The third phase of this project will involve observational data collection at sites where SBLs will be installed in North Carolina. By collecting data at these sites before and after the projects are implemented, our team will be able to document their impacts on safety, bicyclist volumes, motor vehicle volumes, speed, and other outcomes. We will document our findings from our literature review, the assessment of practices around the State, and observational research into a final report that will also make recommendations for future work on this topic.

    This project will help NCDOT lead a consistent approach to planning and designing bicycle facilities across the State of North Carolina. ​


Sarah Worth O`Brien
Sarah Worth O`Brien; Dan Gelinne; Taha Saleem; Sarah E. Searcy; Chris Vaughan; Blythe Carter
John A. Vine-Hodge
Lisa E. Penny
UNC Chapel Hill - HSRC
NC State University - ITRE

 Related Documents

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 Report Period

  • August 1, 2019 – July 31, 2021


  • In Progress


  • Planning, Policy, Programming and Multi-modal

 Sub Category

  • Bicycle and Pedestrian

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