May 21, 2013
…or perceived safety and objective safety of the cycle tracks
Usually, Urban segregated bike lanes (cycle tracsk) are perceived as safer than non segregated one, by many cycle advocates and public alike. Alas most accident statistics say otherwise, and most scientific studies conclude, consistently overtime, that segregated bike lanes impair safety by ~20% ( summarizes and complete previous studies, see also a list of studies at ), some older studies putting this number up to 4 fold time higher .
Of course, it is possible to find some studies saying otherwise, but usually those studies show significant methodology shortcomings. To focus only on recent Canada centric examples:  draws conclusion on cycle track from a field study conducted in cities not having such infrastructure per sei, as seen in  and  compares a cycle track set on a one lane residential street to a reference street carrying up to 6 lane of traffic (more critics here and there):
In urban area, most of the cyclist accidents are due to conflict with motor vehicles (85% in French cities according to the OSNIR), and most of them occur at intersection: In Canadian cities, 50% of fatal accidents and 72% of accidents resulting in serious injury occurred at intersections .
Thought, that a separated bike lane can remove potential conflicts along a road, and is recognized to reduce risk in such cases, it makes matter worse at intersections: This is mainly due to the fact cyclists, not on the road, tend to be overlooked by other road users, generating conflict at road intersections. The increased risk for cyclist is illustrated below:
Aware of this fact, Some transportation professional organizations don’t recommend separated bike lane, it is the case for the AASHTO in the USA, or the CERTU for urban area in France. A position supported by many cyclist organizations, be in France (FFCT, Fubicy) or Germany (ADFC), which have been at best rather neutral on the development of segregated cycle track, in some case opposed, and consistently advocating against the mandatory use of it. That eventually became the case for most of the french cycle track, circa 2000. For this later purpose a new road sign has been introduced, and Germany is following track:
An issue is that motorists tend to ignore the difference, and harass cyclists not using the cycle tracks
Traffic engineers, on their side, sometimes eager to remove cyclist of the road for their “good”, have worked to increase the safety of separate bike lane:
Reintroduction into general traffic at intersection
Treating cyclist as pedestrian at intersection
Cycling Commuters are generally not impressed by those treatments, which are just slowing down their commute, even when the obligation to walk the bike at intersections (Hong Kong case), is obviously widely disregarded by cyclists using such facilities.
The Copenhagen’s Treatment: Blue cycle crossings
It has been “invented” in Copenhagen in 1981: The basic idea is to mark the area of conflict between motor vehicles and cyclists blue so road users pay more attention to this conflict and cyclists have a lane marking through the junction area. Alas, while it is found effectively reducing the number of accidents (and injuries) with one line, it increases it with 2 blue lines or more, according to .
A reason for that is that, it becomes too much solicitation for the motorist than he can process – resulting in an increase of rear ending collisions and red light runnings; and provides a false “sense of safety” to the cyclists, becoming more complacent- not doing head check or using hand signals according to , what is consistent with the “naked street and risk compensation theories.
…and more often that not:
Separated bike lanes come with a panoply of restrictive sign
All, in the name of cycling safety of course…
But at the end, it is sometimes better to give-up
…than to cut the trees:
Should we be Against the separated bike lane?
or…Should we support the helmet law under evidence of greater safety provided by the helmet
Both generate passionate debates, and unfortunately, both generate biased scientific literature too.
Same logic apply to the cycle tracks: there is no need to deny their negative effect on road safety, or to produce biased studies to try to counter evidence, to support them: that is only conductive of complacency with poorly designed cycle tracks which do no good for cycling. Former Vancouver Planning Director, Brent Toderian was able to implicitly recognize the safety issue and supporting it : What is important is to produce evidence that the positive effect they induce outweigh their negative ones
 Traffic safety on bicycle paths – results from a new large scale Danish study, ICTCT workshop Melbourne, 2008
 Signalreglerade korsningars funktion och olycksrisk för oskyddade trafikanter – Delrapport 1: Cyklister. Linderholm, Leif, Institutionen för trafikteknik, LTH: Bulletin 55, Lund 1984
 Risk of injury for bicycling on cycle tracks versus in the street, Anne C Lusk, Peter G Furth, Patrick Morency, Luis F Miranda-Moreno, Walter C Willett and Jack T Dennerlein, Injury Prevention, February 2011. doi:10.1136/ip.2010.028696.
 Route Infrastructure and the Risk of Injuries to Bicyclists: A Case-Crossover Study, Teschke K, Harris MA, Reynolds CC, Winters M, Babul S, Chipman M, Cusimano MD, Brubacher JR, Hunte G, Friedman SM, Monro M, Shen H, Vernich L, Cripton PA., American Journal of Public Health: December 2012, Vol. 102, No. 12, pp. 2336-2343.
 Safe Cycling: How Do Risk Perceptions Compare With Observed Risk?, Meghan Winters, Shelina Babul, H.J.E.H. (Jack) Becker, Jeffery R. Brubacher, Mary Chipman, Peter Cripton, Michael D. Cusimano, Steven M. Friedman, M. Anne Harris, Garth Hunte, Melody Monro, Conor C.O. Reynolds, Hui Shen, Kay Teschke, Injury Prevention, Canadian Journal of Public Health , Vol 103, No 9, 2012
 Bicycle Quaterly
 Gary James
 Conclusion of both  and  are drawn from a study carried from May 2008 to Nov 2009 in Toronto and Vancouver. To the bets of our knowledge, it was no “cycle track” in Toronto, and the only ones able to qualify in Vancouver, were an experiment started on July 2009 on Burrard Bridge, with no intersection along the ~1km cycle track segment, and a ~300m segment in one direction on a quiet street (Carral street) with ~300 cars at peak hour with only one very quiet intersection (Keefer street) featuring ~120 car at peak hour (From City of Vancouver’s 2006 traffic count) what is barely representative of a typical cycle track: The result provided for the cycle tracks is hence certainly irrelevant, and that is the reason it stands as an outlier.
 Bicycle Infrastructure Studies review by Ian Brett Cooper
 Bicycle Guidelines and Crash Rates on Cycle Tracks in the United States, Anne C. Lusk, Patrick Morency, Luis F. Miranda-Moreno, Walter C. Willett, Jack T. Dennerlein, American Journal of Public Health, July 2013
  draws conclusion by comparing current crash rate on some cycle tracks with some numbers collected, sometimes in specific situation- like a study on Boston’s bike messengers- more than 10 years ago, without correcting them of external factors, like significant general crashes reduction rate in the last decade, and well documented safety in number effect affecting more particularly the cyclists. Furthermore, one could argue that the “crash rate” is a very poor, if not uncorrelated, proxy, to qualify the safety of a road infrastructure: Roundabout are well-known to increase the rate of crashes, vs a signaled intersection, but they are also well recognized to reduce the risk of serious injuries, most of the crashes being limited to fender-bender type. In other word, a crash rate ratio is not representative of the safety social cost of an infrastructure…what ultimately matter. More awkward  suggests that “The AASHTO recommendations may have been influenced by the predominantly male composition (more than 90%) of the report’s authors” without being able to substantiate this assertion, showing that we have here more a opinion paper: attacking the gender of authors to disqualify their works, seems pretty petty at best!
 Vulnerable Road User Safety: A Global Concern, Transport Canada, 2004.
 Safety effects of blue cycle crossings: A before-after study, Søren Underlien Jensen, Accident Analysis & Prevention, Volume 40, Issue 2, March 2008
 Evaluation of Blue Bike-Lane Treatment in Portland, Oregon. Hunter,W.W., Harkey, D.L., Stewart, J.R., Birk, M.L., Transportation Research Record 1705, 2000
 The finding of  seems in fact to suggest that the increase in accident and injuries are mainly among motorists, and eventually moped: so that in fact the blue line could effectively be not than “unsafe” for cyclists. Unfortunately, the paper doesn’t provide detailed break down of the injuries according to the transport mode. In any case, the measured global effect is a negative one
 Vancouver Embraces Bikes, Adds Lanes, Tim Newcomb, Planning;, Vol. 77 Issue 2, Feb2011
That is from their May 7th, 2013 issue, which is rich of Transportation perspective,…,
and eventually illustrates the dichotomy of thought on it between the Western world and Asia
As you could know, Beijing is facing massive traffic issues, and here like too often in North America before, it is considered that the pedestrians are the problem. Enforcing the jaywalking laws is not an easy matter but it is deemed necessary by chinese,…this to be a “world class” country… at par with the USA…
In Vancouver, Councillor Heather Deal, whose devoted great amount of VPD time and taxpayer money to enforce the local jaywalking laws, couldn’t agree more .
In the Meantime, it is worth to note that in the not so “world class” countries such UK or France, jaywalking is legal as in many other European countries, and still it is generally safer to be a pedestrian there than in Vancouver and more generally in North America.
Cycling in Hong Kong raises a safety issue
Cycling is pretty much foreign to Hong Kongers: the fact that the Chairman of the Hong Kong Cycling alliance, Martin Turner, is a British raised individual is tale telling…And when cycling is considered it is mostly for recreational purpose, could lament Martin. Nevertheless, anecdotal evidences seem to show that cycling is on the rise in Hong Kong, like anywhere else, but it seems to be little appetite to quantify that:
Statistics show that bike accidents are on the rise too. Helmet laws and bike licensing, are called by some quarters, to reverse this worrisome trend!
Turner has another opinion, and is lobbying for bike rack on bus, like in San Francisco, or Vancouver,…a North American specificity not seen Europe. This promise to be a tough sell, but there is lot of things to do to improve cycling in Hong Kong beside that:
The debate concerns the redevelopment of the former Hong Kong’s airport: Kai Tak, which still look pretty much like below:
The Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) of Hong Kong has a grand vision for the site, which seems reminiscent of Le Corbusier’s cite radieuse, including a “people mover” under the form of a monorail :
Veolia operating The Hong Kong Trams, is making the case for a tramway. Many readers of the South China Morning Post support this idea. Norman Y. S. Heung, project manager at the CEDD Office, explains it is “Practically impossible to accommodate tram system at Kai Tak”, because taking too much road space (sic)…Worth to note that most of the area is not even built yet!
Many other arguments are advanced in favour of the Monorail, which is also presented as a tourist attraction… but at the end the quality of the urban environment is not one of them. It is also explained that the “walking environment will be improved by provision of footbridges and [underpasses]“ (sic).
So Does the Kai Tak’s monorail will look like the Chongqing one , or does Hong Kongers will push for a different street experience, may be on the model of the Kunming’s Zhengyi Rd?
 See the video and other information at Hong Kong CEDD
 Old Cat
 Vancouver launches campaign to educate ‘fragile’ pedestrians, Jeff Lee, Vancouver Sun, February 07, 2012.
March 15, 2013
Contribution to the debate:
Adam is sharing an illustration to support his proposal, which has been the object of a Sun column:
As many, the Adam’s proposal apparently assumes that the main demand is on UBC. It is worth to mention that the numbers ran by Translink suggests that the highest demand is on the central Broadway portion 
The Translink ridership predictions west of Arbutus (4000pphpd) is in fact less than a third of the one predicted on Central Broadway
This finding effectively strongly question the relevance of a subway west of Arbutus, or at least justify a phasing of the subway construction, a solution we have started to investigated in our previous post. In fact  has studied a first phase ending at Arbutus, costed at $1.5B, and states that:
The economic assessment of phasing RRT is positive with a benefit:cost ratio of 2.7, vs. 2.3 if built to UBC initially
 UBC Line rapid transit study: Phase 2 Evaluation report Steer Davies Gleave, August 2012
March 11, 2013
Post edited after comment number 3
I have noticed that Translink has made public on Monday its full study , which looks pretty comprehensive, so I have to swallow back some chunck of this post, to recognize this fact. An important figure from this study is how the line affect ridership region wise, and more especially the busiest segment of the Expo line:
2041 AM peak transit flow on on the Broadway-Commercial / Main-Terminal segment
|Business As Usual||23,104|
In fact the above illustrates that not extending the Millenium beyond VCC Clark, involve a cost to be burdened by the Expo line… just to be able to cope with the demand on its busiest segment. This cost can be eventually tremendous,  has advanced number above $1 Billion to upgrade the Expo line capacity above 20,000pphpd.
Lot of activity on the Broadway subway front those days:
- A KPMG study financed by the City of Vancouver
- The finding of what is presented as a Phase 2 of the UBC line rapid transit study: One year study for a 9 pages pamphlet :
Isn’t it pathetic?No, now Translink has made available the full 406p study on its site 
- A Vision’s campaign for the Broadway subway, with its Town hall meeting sunday March 10th
The result of the KPMG study are unsurprisingly aligned with the buyer, City of Vancouver, expectation. Nevertheless, they address an important global economic aspect of why rapid transit is needed, and we will have probably the opportunity to develop on this aspect
The Vision town hall meeting, or Broadway subway Rally
A gray hair, subway hostile crowd was out in full force at the St James Community Hall in the heart of Kitsilano, and was seeming to set a pretty dominating adversarial tone for this meeting. It turn out that the Geoff Meggs presentation  was able to keep their ire under control. After that, the “anti subway” looby was not really able to come with any constructive comment/question: Usually sarcastic, and more often that not fear-mongering and deriding UBC students.
The refreshing voice of one of them was in fact framing the debate: the young of UBC, representing and wanting to be the fuel of the future of the regional economy vs the old gray hair, living on and of over-inflated real estate, contemptuous of everything West of Alma, and East of Arbutus, and representing a past era.
In that sense, this meeting probably achieved its key objective. Some tried to make the case for an LRT, based on the premise that for a subway, you can have many LRTs. Geoff Meggs admitted that he has to believe the Translink engineer more than the “engineer” Patrick Condon (the champion of this idea).
The Phasing of the Line
Richard Campbell questioned about that, and it is probably the only way to see this line someday as well as the best way to move forward as suggested before and potentially enable to defer technology choice west of Arbutus to a later date. Below some useful numbers from an Ottawa study ; which are relatively inline with a Parisian study ; for the matter relevant to the Broadway Subway:
|Component||Ottawa Cost ||Paris Cost |
|Twin bored tunnel (3m radius)||$45M/km|
|Single bored tunnel (4m radius)||€25M/km|
|Underground Station (up to 30,000pph)||$40M||€32M|
|Open air Station (up to 30,000pph)||€27M|
The total leads to a $2Billions for the Broadway line, adding a 50% contingency fund as assumed in , brings the cost to $3Billions, not including rolling stock and land acquisition.
The numbers suggest that a first phase VCC Clark/Arbutus could come at a $1.3Billion price tag.
For matter of comparison, the 6km extension of the metro line 14, including 4 new stations North of Paris, in a arguably much more complex typology, is costed at €1.2Billion .
Phasing can arise some challenges,
- It need to make sense from a Transit network perspective to allow to leverage the new line, and efficient reworking of the bus network
if tunnel is done in several phases
- More well access to tunnel could be necessary
- Duplication of starting cost and acquisition of expensive machinery like tunnel boring machine
So it is fair to examine the idea to build all the component requiring a TBM in a single phase, and defer later investments at an ulterior date.
- The drawback is that we have a sleeping investment not generating revenue, if it happen to build unused tunnel
The twin tunnel option should also be considered as a starting default point, not as a political statement, like it seems to tend to be done in Vancouver. Considering the topography and traffic level, A cut and cover method could be applied reasonably as soon as West of MacDonald under 10th avenue. This method properly deployed doesn’t need to be despised on the ground of a bad experience, and is still routinely used around the world, including working under temporary deck :
The advantage of it, is that it allows a good phasing of the line in the vicinity of Arbutus.
It is also possible that in the case of the Broadway line, especially East of Arbutus, an single large bored tunnel accommodating stacked tracks north of Broadway could make sense, since, taking account of the topography, it could allow a better access to platform in both directions:
It is worth repeating that there are host of options, and none should be despised on pure political ground, and the one selected should be on the ground of best value for the $.
 It was in fact a rehash of a presentation done by the Vancouver engineering department to city council: Broadway Rapid transit, November 27, 2012
 Development of a downtown Transit solution and network implications, MacCormickRankin Corporation and Delcan, April 2008
 Prolongement de la ligne 4 du metro parisien, Lot 1, des techniques variees pour un lot complexe et delicat, V. Dore, B. Bizon, F. Billon, S. Leroux and L. Petit Jean. Tunnels et Espace souterrain, Nov/Dec 2010.
 UBC Line rapid transit study: Phase 2 Evaluation report Steer Davies Gleave, August 2012
 Expo line upgrade strategy SNC Lavalin and Steer Davies Gleave, September 21, 2010
 Arc express Etudes, insertion de traces, impact sommaire et redaction du DOCP, Setec Tpi, Xelis and Ingerop, 2009
 Metro ligne 14: Prolongement de St lazare a mairie de St Ouen, April 2012