Rating Trails, Paths, and Routes
A natural surface varying greatly in width, firmness, sometimes with obstacles and steeper grades. More coming soon!
Traced across roads where cyclists might not always be physically separated from traffic. More comin soon!
UA - 10' max moderate, 30' max gentle to moderate, 200' max Gentle 36" wide cross slope 2% 2" natural tread obstacles, 1/2" concrete,
Overall effort is determined by considering the flat equivalent length of a path together with its overall grade rating.
Bicycle levels of traffic stress (BLTS) for each relevant road segment within an identified route are drawn from analyses conducted by Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) and New Castle County. Alta provides an excellent summary of the traffic stress model for those interested in reading more. BLTS was developed and has been used primarily in urban and suburban settings, and it has yet to be adapted to accommodate conditions more often found in rural settings, like sections with limited sight distance (see below). For sections of the route where we have additional information, we have modified the BLTS model as described below. Every 10' section on the route for which BLTS has been modified is outlined in red.
A modified BLTS
This used in some cases where additional information is available regarding the likely presence of sections with limited sight distance (see below) or actual prevailing speeds and/or volumes based on traffic studies (these models otherwise use posted speed limits and estimated volumes to model traffic stress).
Limited sight sections
because of the road’s horizontal or vertical curvature, sometimes worsened by shrubs or trees. Drivers may not be able to see far enough ahead to safely pull around cyclists, increasing the risk of accidents.
We used William’s (2021) paper to establish minimum sight distances (i.e., 2 times the stopping sight distance) based on posted speed (or prevailing speed, when these data were available. Because our interest was in perceived stress as well as actual danger, we added 50’ to the minimum sight distance. Whenever a section was suspected, we measured the sight distance and increased the BLTS by 1 point at each 20’ section for which sight distance was an issue.
Descriptors are used in the text corresponding to the level of traffic stress as follows: Level 0 - No Stress; Level 1 - Very Low Stress; Level 2 - Low Stress; Level 3 - Moderate Stress; Level - High Stress. On maps, higher levels of traffic stress are represented using larger circles for each 20' section.
Grades are shown for every 20 foot increment on the path. Difficulty ratings are assigned to shorter (40 foot) and longer (200 foot) sections of the path. More difficult ratings will increase the effort needed to complete the path.
Uphill: oVery Difficult; oMore Difficult; oDifficult; oModerate; oGentle
Downhill: oVery Difficult; oMore Difficult; oDifficult; oModerate; oGentle
All paths have a hardened, even surface.
Shared use paths are all at least 10 feet wide, and are designed to accommodate walkers and cyclists.