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Guide to Road Design Part 6A: Paths for Walking and Cycling (2017 Edition)

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Publication no: AGRD06A-17 Pages: 119
Published: 02 June 2017


The Guide to Road Design Part 6A: Paths for Walking and Cycling provides guidance for designers and other practitioners on the design of paths for safe and efficient walking and cycling, both within the road corridor and outside the road corridor. The guide provides information on considerations that should be given in providing a path, describes the types of paths and covers the requirements of path users, e.g. operating spaces, factors that influence path locations, and geometric design criteria for a path and related facilities such as intersections between paths, and terminal treatments. Detailed guidance is provided on path location, alignment, width, clearances, crossfall, drainage and sight distance requirements.

The location and design of paths may be influenced by a range of aspects that need to be considered and facilities that need to be accommodated within roadsides. In particular, designers should refer to the Guide to Road Design:

  • Part 6:   Roadside Design, Safety and Barriers (Austroads 2010a)
  • Part 6B: Roadside Environment (Austroads 2015b).

The design of pedestrian and cyclist paths may also be influenced by design considerations and requirements covered in other parts of the Guide to Road Design. In addition, road designers should also refer to relevant parts of the Guide to Traffic Management in relation to traffic management devices and requirements that may need to be accommodated within a roadside or may otherwise influence the design.


This second edition has been restructured and contains editorial and technical changes. The title has been amended to better reflect the information on the functions and types of paths covered in this edition. Updated information and new information have been included with the key changes as follows:

  • Sections 1 to 4 has been reworded to provide generic information that is relevant for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Section 1.1: Universal Access – additional information on providing universal access.
  • Sections 2.2: Pedestrian Path and 2.3: Bicycle Path – amended to include information on levels of service.
  • Section 3: Path User Considerations – amended to broaden the range of path user considerations.
  • Section 3.2.1: Pedestrians – amended to include information on mobility scooters.
  • Section 5.1: Width of Paths – additional information for path widths based on volumes.
  • Section 5.7: Sight Distance – additional commentary on pedestrian needs and sight distance and replacement of Figure 7.7 with an equation to determine stopping sight distance.
  • Section 6.5: Special Treatments for Intersections of Paths with Paths – new section consolidating treatments for special circumstances.
  • Section 7.3: Treatments for Intersections of Paths with Roads – new information on path terminal treatments.
  • Section 7.5: Special Treatments for Intersections of Paths with Roads – new section on terminal treatments for special circumstances.
  • Section 8.3: Culvert Underpasses – new information on principles in providing paths through culverts.
  • Appendix B: Speed Limiting Treatments – new appendix providing information on speed limiting treatments on paths.
  • Appendix C.3.1: Bituminous Surface Pavements – additional information on bituminous surfaces.
  • Appendix C.4: Life Cycle Costing – new section on life cycle costing.
  • Commentary 1: Planning and Need for a Path – transferred from Section 2 as information relates to network plans and operation.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction
  • 1.1 Purpose
  • 1.2 Scope of this Part
  • 1.3 Safe System Approach
2. Types of Path
  • 2.1 General
  • 2.2 Pedestrian Path
  • 2.3 Bicycle Path
  • 2.4 Shared Path
  • 2.5 Separated Path
3. Path User Considerations
  • 3.1 General
  • Safe
  • Connected
  • Legible
  • Comfortable
  • Convenient
  • Universal
  • Pleasant
  • 3.2 Operating Space
  • 3.2.1 Pedestrians
  • 3.2.2 Cyclists
4. Design Considerations
  • 4.1 Location of Paths
  • 4.1.1 General
  • 4.2 Factors of Influence – Path Location
  • 4.2.1 Factors Influencing Roadside Alignment
  • 4.2.2 Paths in Medians
  • 4.3 Path Width
  • 4.4 Bicycle Paths
5. Design Criteria
  • 5.1 Width of Paths
  • 5.1.1 Clear Width
  • 5.1.2 Pedestrian Paths
  • 5.1.3 Bicycle Paths
  • 5.1.4 Shared Paths
  • 5.1.5 Separated Paths
  • 5.2 Bicycle Operating Speeds
  • 5.3 Horizontal Curvature
  • 5.4 Path Gradients
  • 5.4.1 Universal Access
  • 5.4.2 Ease of Uphill Travel
  • 5.4.3 Safety and Downhill Travel on Paths
  • 5.5 Clearances, Batters and Need for Fences
  • 5.5.1 Clearances
  • 5.5.2 Bicycle paths
  • 5.5.3 Batters and Fences
  • 5.6 Crossfall and Drainage
  • 5.6.1 Crossfall
  • 5.6.2 Drainage
  • 5.7 Sight Distance
  • 5.7.1 Bicycle Path Stopping Sight Distance
  • 5.8 Changes in Level
  • 5.9 Surface Treatments
  • 5.10 Surface Tolerances
  • 5.11 Lighting
  • Paths away from roads
  • 5.12 Underground Services
6. Intersections of Paths with Paths
  • 6.1 General
  • 6.2 Intersection Priority
  • 6.3 Intersection Signs
  • 6.3.1 Control Devices
  • 6.3.2 Wayfinding Signs
  • 6.4 Treatments for Intersections of Paths with Paths
  • 6.5 Special Treatments for Intersections of Paths with Paths
7. Intersections of Paths with Roads
  • 7.1 General
  • 7.2 Intersection Signs
  • 7.2.1 Traffic Control Devices
  • 7.2.2 Wayfinding Signs
  • 7.3 Treatments for Intersections of Paths with Roads
  • 7.3.1 Road Crossings where the Path has Priority over the Road
  • 7.3.2 Road Crossings in a Shared Environment Intersection
  • 7.4 Ancillary Devices for Intersections of Paths with Roads
  • 7.4.1 Push Buttons at Signalised Intersections
  • 7.4.2 Holding Rails
  • 7.5 Special Treatments for Intersections of Paths with Roads
  • 7.5.1 General
  • 7.5.2 Terminal Design Principles
  • 7.5.3 Terminal Treatments for Excluding Vehicles
  • 7.5.4 Terminal Treatments for High-conflict Locations
8. Paths at Structures
  • 8.1 General
  • 8.2 Road Bridges
  • 8.2.1 Use of Pedestrian Paths on Narrow Bridges
  • 8.2.2 Shared Path Structures
  • 8.3 Underpasses
  • 8.3.1 General
  • 8.3.2 Use of Existing Culverts
  • 8.4 Bicycle Wheeling Ramps
9. Construction and Maintenance Considerations for Paths
  • 9.1 General
  • 9.2 Bicycle Safety Audits
References
Appendix A Application of Envelopes and Clearances to Determine the Widths of Paths
  • A.1 Bicycle Paths
  • A.2 Shared Paths
  • A.3 Separated Paths
Appendix B Speed Limiting Treatments
Appendix C Path Construction and Maintenance
  • C.1 General Requirements
  • C.2 Path Maintenance Requirements
  • C.3 Pavements
  • C.3.1 Pavements for Bicycle Paths
  • Skid resistance
  • C.3.2 Bituminous Surface Pavements
  • C.3.3 Concrete Pavements
  • C.3.4 Unsealed Paths
  • C.3.5 Timber Surfaces
  • C.4 Life Cycle Costing
  • C.5 Provision at Works
  • C.5.1 General
  • C.5.2 Signing and Delineation at Work Sites on or Adjacent to Paths
Appendix D Bicycle Safety Audit Checklist
  • D.1 Introduction
  • D.2 General Requirements for Roads and Paths
  • D.3 Alignment and Cross-section
  • D.4 Signs, Delineation and Lighting
  • D.5 Riding Surface
  • D.6 Vegetation, Maintenance and Construction
  • D.7 Traffic Signals
  • D.8 Physical Objects
  • D.9 Paths
  • D.9.1 General
  • D.9.2 Alignment and Cross-section
  • D.9.3 Intersections
  • D.10 Roads
  • D.10.1 General
  • D.10.2 Intersections

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