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When choosing the type of facility to use between intersections, consideration should be made according to the order presented in the table below, which has been developed based on the hierarchies by department of Transport (2008) and Institute of Highways and Transportation (1996):

Table 2: Hierarchy of provision for cycling

Consider first 

 Consider last

  1. Reduce traffic volumes
  2. Reduce traffic speeds
  3. Treat hazardous sites/pinch points/intersections
  4. Reallocate carriageway space to provide space for cycling (not necessarily marked, eg wide lanes or shoulders)
  5. Specific cycle facilities (eg painted cycle lanes, separated cycleways, depending on the traffic speed and volume and  target audience)
  6. Exclusive off-road facilities for cycling
  7. Shared paths

Note that the table outlines an order of consideration, not the priority of implementation. Whereas specific cycling infrastructure is often assumed the most suitable way of providing for cycling, this table shows that this should in fact only be considered after the issues higher in the list. Converting footpaths to shared use paths is commonly presented as a solution for providing for cycling, but this should be the last option considered, as such facilities do not necessarily offer a suitable LOS for cyclists and can also compromise the LOS for pedestrians.

The hierarchy approach should not be applied with the presumption that the location of a cycle route has already been determined, and that it is then just a matter of identifying the correct treatment. Instead, as Parkin and Koorey (2012) suggest, spatial planning and demand modelling are important first steps when considering the broader network. These steps may include the identification, provision and protection of suitable corridors for cycling (whether along road networks or elsewhere).  That is, the hierarchy approach should be applied in conjunction with route selection. 

The needs of the cycling target audience must be considered in conjunction with the above table. Different target audiences will have different opinions about what is acceptable for each level of the hierarchy.  For example, a less confident cycling audience will require a greater reduction in traffic volumes and speeds than a more confident audience; thus it is more likely that it will be necessary to progress to subsequent levels of the hierarchy for a less confident audience.