What is ‘CycleRAP’?
CycleRAP is an easy, affordable and fast method of evaluating bicycling infrastructure for safety. Developed by iRAP, CycleRAP is an evidence-based infrastructure risk evaluation model. It aims to reduce crashes and improve safety specifically for bicyclists and other light mobility users by identifying high risk locations without the need for crash data.
CycleRAP will power software tools used for pinpointing and mapping where crashes are likely to occur, and offer suggestions for treatments to reduce this risk. The model uses data about the features of a road, street or path to evaluate the risk of crashes for bicyclists and light mobility users—irrespective of the type of facility (or whether it is on or off road) and for all crash types. It can be used anywhere in the world.
Conflicts with vehicles
Conflicts between bicycles and/or light mobility vehicles
Conflicts with pedestrians
Crashes which do not involve others
What problem is CycleRAP trying to solve?
Road safety is a critical issue which needs to be addressed to ensure that bicycling and light mobility options can continue to support new and greener mobility choices. The overall aim of CycleRAP is to reduce the risk of road crashes for bicyclists and those using other types of light mobility vehicles. Bicycles and light mobility vehicles do not have the same in-built protection large vehicles have. Therefore, safe infrastructure is critical.
The lack of data about bicycle crashes is a major challenge for road safety. Data is critical for understanding the nature of the problem and how to address it. Even for those with the most developed road crash data reporting systems, the quality of crash data for bicyclists and other users of light mobility remains poor.
Data for bicycle crashes which do not involve motor vehicles is a particular challenge. This is due to the simple fact that—even in cases of severe injuries—typically only ambulance services are called to attend to crash victims and no report or analysis for the cause of the crash is completed by traffic police.
Hospital data studies consistently show that 60 to 90 percent of bicycle crashes requiring hospitalisation—and approximately 17 percent of fatal bicycle crashes—are the result of single bicycle crashes (i.e. they do not involve a direct conflict with a motor vehicle, another bicycle or person).In the United Kingdom, for example, a study of 35,000 hospital records found that over two-thirds of hospitalisations due to bicycling crashes did not involve a motor vehicle.
n many places, the rate of fatal and serious injury (FSI) crashes involving bicyclists is increasing, often while the trend of overall FSI crashes is decreasing. For example, serious injuries in Sweden resulting from bicycle crashes has increased by approximately 35 percent over the past 10 years, while serious injuries for all other crash types fell. In the Netherlands, over 60 percent of approximately 80,000 bicycle crashes each year are categorised as serious.
“Cyclists are now the biggest challenge we have in achieving Vision Zero” – Anna Niska, VTI Sweden
This trend reflects the steep increases in the use of bicycles and other light mobility vehicles in cities across the world. Rapid changes in technologies (such as electric-powered vehicles), service providers (such as bicycle food delivery) and the sharing economy are contributing factors. In the United States, for example, the increase in shared micromobility alone more than doubled in a single year, from 35 million trips in 2017 to 84 million trips in 2018.
Monitoring, managing and addressing safety on facilities used by bicyclists and light mobility vehicles is a challenge, even for those with the most advanced bicycling networks. Specifications and manuals for road engineering and design for bicycling infrastructure, assessment tools such as road safety audit, and road asset management practices often neglect or ignore safe bicyclist infrastructure. CycleRAP aims to help fill this gap by providing a way to objectively measure and benchmark safety.
Who can use CycleRAP?
CycleRAP is intended for use by any transport authority or other organisation involved in addressing or advocating for safer facilities for bicyclists and users of other light mobility vehicles.
Specific uses could be:
- Addressing explicit or general safety concerns for bicyclists and light mobility users
- Evaluating existing network’s capacity to cater for rapidly increasing demand or increase in new vehicle types
- Prioritise funding and investment into bicycling and light mobility infrastructure
- Assist cities formalising rapid response measures for bicyclists during COVID19.
The CycleRAP model and data is expected to be of interest to a wide range of stakeholders, including:
|Transport and urban planners||Bike share and micro mobility sharing service providers||Bicycle courier and food delivery companies||School communities|
|Policy makers and advocates for the environment, climate change and sustainability||Health services and insurance providers||Infrastructure and transport investors||Mapping and navigation providers|
How should CycleRAP be used?
A CycleRAP risk assessment can be done for any type of facility where bicyclists or light vehicle users are permitted. This includes bicycle paths and lanes, shared streets, bicycle boulevards and road lanes, sidewalks, recreational paths and bicycle highways. It is designed to identify where and how facilities can be made safer for bicyclists and light vehicle users.
CycleRAP uses data to evaluate risk based on the infrastructure characteristics that increase or decrease risk for users. While its primary purpose is not to evaluate network connectivity, cycling comfort or perceived safety, the results and data collected can be used and analysed in conjunction with other data to help cities improve the overall quality of their cycling networks.
CycleRAP should not be used for sections of the network where bicycle and light mobility vehicle use is prohibited. Examples include designated pedestrian only paths or areas (such as pedestrian-only shopping streets) or urban expressways where bicyclists and light vehicles are prohibited.
How does CycleRAP compare to Star Ratings?
CycleRAP can be used on its own or in conjunction with other road safety assessment tools, such as Star Rating assessments or road safety audit, to provide bicyclist and light mobility-specific analysis.
iRAP’s existing Star Rating bicyclist model is a very effective tool for identifying where facilities are present on the road network (including what type of facility it is and its suitability for the traffic conditions), where the risk of vehicle-bicycle conflict is high and how to address it (via the Safer Road Investment Plans).
The CycleRAP model offers a complementary method of safety analysis for routes and networks used by bicyclists and light mobility users. The model focuses specifically on the features of these facilities and the inherent risk they pose across a range of bicyclist and light mobility crash types, irrespective of the facility type (or whether it is part of the road network).
Where did CycleRAP come from?
CycleRAP originated in 2015 as a result of collaborative efforts by the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), the Royal Dutch Touring Club (ANWB), the Province of Friesland and the Dutch Institute for Road Safety Research (SWOV). In 2016-19, early versions of the model were piloted over more than 400km of bicycling facilities in the Netherlands.
In 2018, ANWB engaged iRAP to undertake an evaluation of the CycleRAP pilot trials and to complete a comprehensive literature review to strengthen the link between the model and available evidence.
The project was undertaken in three phases:
- A preliminary review of the CycleRAP model and any existing evidence (i.e. related studies) documented to understand the model and any challenges
- A literature review to capture available research into bicycling crashes, their causes and their outcomes to strengthen the evidence base for the CycleRAP model, and
- A review of the results of the pilot trials in the Netherlands and the lessons learned. This was based on consultations with the suppliers and provinces involved in pilot projects.
Where is CycleRAP now?
In 2020, iRAP (with support from ANWB) completed a detailed review of the CycleRAP model and the pilot project which concluded that a number of issues needed to be addressed.
Planning commenced for a second generation CycleRAP model, which aims to:
- Ensure the model is underpinned by solid research and evidence
- Improve the model’s ability to capture the risk of non-collision crashes more accurately
- Reduce the data inputs required so the model is more cost effective and efficient to use
- Improve user support (manuals and training)
- Modify the model’s risk scoring mechanisms, and
- Create additional functionality so the model can recommend safety treatments.
What’s the plan to get there?
The development plan for CycleRAP has three parts:
Part 1 (completed by iRAP)
Part 2 (underway by iRAP)
Part 3 (planned in partnership with CycleRAP providers)
CycleRAP Advisory Group
A CycleRAP Advisory Group has been established to help guide the development of the CycleRAP model to ensure it can effectively underpin potential CycleRAP tools and applications and ultimately meet end user needs.
Membership is by invite only and aims to represent a range of skills, experience and expertise from across the world, including:
- Cycling safety experts and researchers
- iRAP-affiliated experts (such as Centres of Excellence and suppliers)
- Other organisations involved in road safety
- Potential CycleRAP suppliers.
The job of the Advisory Group is to:
- Peer review reports, model development and model documentation
- Attend update meetings and workshops to work through issues
- Inform the design of model outputs (e.g. risk scoring and safety treatment recommendations)
- Provide feedback on potential uses, pilot study opportunities and market analysis
- Review results from trials and pilot studies.
The CycleRAP Advisory Group members, all of whom generously volunteered their time and effort to the CycleRAP project, are:
|An Volckaert||BRRC (Belgium)|
|Christoph Vollath||RACC (Spain)|
|Gert Jan Wijlhuizen||SWOV (The Netherlands)|
|Magnus Larsson||VTI (Sweden)|
|Katja Kircher||VTI (Sweden)|
|Soufiane Boufous||UNSW (Australia)|
|Ben Beck||Monash University (Australia)|
|Kasem Choocharukul||Chula University (Thailand)|
|Alvin Poi Wai Hoong||MIROS (Malaysia)|
|Leonid Ljubotina||FPZ (Croatia)|
|Hendrik Jellema||Province of Friesland (The Netherlands)|
|Roxy Tacq||ANWB (The Netherlands)|
|Max McCardel||Safe System Solutions (Australia)|
|Pedro Homem de Gouveia||POLIS|
|Marc Figuls||Factual Consulting|
|Agnieszka Krasnolucka||FIA Foundation|