What is ‘CycleRAP’?
CycleRAP is an innovation project being led by iRAP to develop an enhanced risk evaluation model specific to bicycling and other light mobility users, with the aim of reducing crashes and improving infrastructure safety for these transport modes. CycleRAP would be designed to complement other RAP models and tools, including the Star Rating bicyclist model.
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?
The lack of bicycle crash data is fast becoming 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—only ambulance services are called to attend to crash victims and no report or analysis of the crash cause is completed by traffic police.
Hospital data studies consistently show that between 60-90% of bicycle crashes requiring hospitalisation—and approximately 17% of fatal bicycle crashes—are the result of single bicycle crashes (i.e. they do not involve a motor vehicle). 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.
“Cyclists are now the biggest challenge we have in achieving Vision Zero” – Anna Niska, VTI Sweden
The problem is not a small one. In the Netherlands, over 60% of approximately 80,000 bicycle crashes each year are categorised as serious. In many places, FSI crashes for bicyclists are increasing—often while the trend of overall FSI crashes decreases. For example, serious injuries in Sweden resulting from bicycling crashes has increased by approximately 35% over the past 10 years, while serious injuries for all other crash types fell.
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 micro mobility alone more than doubled in a single year, from 35 million trips in 2017 to 84 million trips in 2018.
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 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 would offer a complementary method of safety analysis for routes and networks used by bicyclists and light mobility users. The model will focus 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). Similar to the Star Ratings, CycleRAP will be a predictive model which can be used to identify high risk locations without the need for crash data. It will power software tools used for pinpointing and mapping where crashes are likely to occur, and offer suggestions for treatments to reduce this risk.
Monitoring, managing and addressing safety on facilities used by bicyclists and light mobility vehicles is a challenge, even for those with the most advanced cycling 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.
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.
What is the goal for the CycleRAP project?
The ultimate goal for CycleRAP is to be a globally-applicable and evidence-based model which enables easy, affordable and fast methods of evaluating bicycling infrastructure for safety.
It is envisaged that the model would be used to develop tools and software by trusted CycleRAP partners. Similar to Star Rating assessments, CycleRAP could be used to:
- Improve cycling-related asset management and maintenance planning
- Help prioritise investment and planning
- Provide safety key performance indicators and track performance over time.
Who would 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 will CycleRAP be used?
The CycleRAP model is for any type of facility, such as paths, bike lanes and shared streets. It is intended—and designed—to identify where and how facilities can be made safer.
CycleRAP can be used on its own or in conjunction with other road assessment tools, such as Star Rating assessments or road safety audit, to provide bicyclist and light mobility-specific analysis.
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:
What is needed to reach the goal?
CycleRAP is initially being planned as solely for use by partner products. This approach builds on the existing expertise, experience and past development work of CycleRAP partners. The support of CycleRAP partners and industry will be critical to the success of this approach.
To complete the model development, iRAP requires further investment to complete the model build and testing. The size of this investment would directly impact the speed and scale at which the necessary work can be completed. The breakdown of this investment need is provided below.
Model development and testing
The investment iRAP would require for completing the development of the model and testing is estimated US$80,000, with a planned duration of 4 months.
Product development and user support
The investment iRAP* would require for completing necessary product and software development (including testing and development of user support materials and training) is estimated at US$230,000, with a planned duration of 6 months.
*A proportion would be used to support CycleRAP partner input.
Pilot trials and review
The investment iRAP* would require for undertaking pilot trials (including reviewing results and stakeholder engagement) across three cities is estimated at US$150,000, with a planned duration of 5 months.
* A proportion would be used to support CycleRAP partner inputs and other service providers (such as data collection) where required.
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.