Edge lane roads (ELRs), also known as advisory bike lanes or advisory shoulders, are a type of shared street where two-way motor vehicle (MV) traffic shares a single center lane, and edge lanes on either side are preferentially reserved for vulnerable road users (VRUs). This work comprises a literature review, an investigation of ELRs’ operational characteristics and potential road user interactions via simulation, and a study of crash data from existing American and Australian ELRs.
The simulation evaluated the impact of various factors (e.g., speed, volume, directional split, etc.) on ELR operation. Results lay the foundation for a siting criterion. Current American siting guidance relies only upon daily traffic volume and speed—an approach that inaccurately models an ELR’s safety.
To evaluate the safety of existing ELRs, crash data were collected from ELR installations in the US and Australia. For US installations, Empirical Bayes (EB) analysis resulted in an aggregate CMF of .56 for 11 installations observed over 8 years while serving more than 60 million vehicle trips. The data from the Australian State of Queensland involved rural one-lane, low-volume, higher-speed roads, functionally equivalent to ELRs. As motor vehicle volume grows, these roads are widened to two-lane facilities. While the authors observed low mean crash rates on the one-lane roads, analysis of recently converted (from one-lane to two-lane) facilities showed that several experienced fewer crashes than expected after conversion to two-lane roads.
Michael Williams is the owner of Michael Williams Company, a transportation consultancy. He conducts research on edge lane roads and is a national expert on the treatment.
Marcial Lamera is a graduate student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
Aleksander Bauranov is a graduate student at Harvard University.
CAROLE TURLEY VOULGARIS
Carole Turley Voulgaris, PhD, PE (WA) is an Assistant Professor of Urban Planning and Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Her research focuses on travel behavior, sustainable mobility, and institutional decision-making.
Anurag Pande, PhD, is a Professor of Civil Engineering at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. His research interests include before-and-after evaluations of traffic operations and safety.