Research Papers

Improving Multi-modal Safety through Specialized Audits: the City of Red Deer Commuter Bicycle Pilot Program Example

Version 1
Date added June 17, 2014
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Category 2014 CMRSC XXIV Vancouver
Tags Research and Evaluation, Session 3A
Author/Auteur Raheem Dilgir, John Morrall, Michael Williston
Stream/Volet Research and Evaluation

Slidedeck Presentation Only (no paper submitted)

3A Morrall_Improving Multi-modal Safety through Specialized Audits



Safety audits of road transportation facilities have been in use in Canada since the early 1990’s and are becoming a regular part of transportation projects in Alberta. The increase in active transportation in recent years has prompted the advent of specialized safety audits to address the needs of specific road user groups. In particular, the increase in cycling facilities within municipalities has attracted commuters to shift to non-motorized modes for daily commutes, and challenged municipal officials to provide facilities that are as safe and comfortable as possible.


In 2011, the City of Red Deer, Alberta embarked on its Commuter Bicycle Pilot Program. This consisted of a major expansion of the City’s on-street bicycling network to support active transportation along existing routes. The facilities included several new bicycle lanes, and shared facilities along several other routes. In the fall of 2013, the City commissioned a safety audit of the facilities by an expert safety audit team to provide an independent evaluation of the City’s program.


The audit utilized the principles of the Transportation Association of Canada’s Road Safety Audit Guide, supplemented by a number of other bicycling safety audit tools, including the FHWA’s Bicycle Safety Audit Guidelines, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Urban Bikeway Design Guidelines, and other modern assessment tools developed by members of the audit team.

Results and Conclusions

This paper will provide some background on the use of audits to improve the safety of specific travel modes, describe the methodology applied to the City of Red Deer Bicycle Commuter Pilot, and present some of the key findings of the audit. Some of the concepts/issued that will be highlighted are:

  • The use of commuter facilities in conjunction with recreational facilities
  • Issues with cycling facilities through a central business district
  • Route connectivity challenges
  • Potential hazards within bicycle lanes
  • Night-time visibility issues
  • Pinch points with vehicular traffic

Enhancements to address the above issues and other items raised in the audit will also be presented. The presentation will consist primarily of photographs depicting the issue. It is hoped that the audience will gain an appreciation for the types of safety features that cyclists value in the road environment and the types of issues they face that may deter them from using the facilities. With the increasing pressure within municipalities to provide additional or enhanced bicycle facilities to alleviate traffic congestion and promote healthy and active lifestyles, the lessons learned from specialized safety audits of facilities such as the City of Red Deer’s Commuter Bicycle Pilot Program will be a valuable tool towards accommodating and protecting the more vulnerable users of the transportation network.

Raheem Dilgir, John Morrall, Michael Williston