Hire transportation engineers with training and experience designing bicycle projects

For the past sixty years, U.S. transportation planning and engineering prioritized automobile speed and throughput -- often at the expense of streets designed for people. The most influential U.S. transportation engineering organization, AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials), only recently started the process to add protected bike lanes to its popular standards and design guide. In practice, we frequently find bike facilities that are confusing and unsafe.

Photo credit: @ATLBikeLane

High-quality bicycle facilities -- and the wise use of public dollars -- depend on transportation engineers experienced in planning, implementing, and evaluating bicycle projects. Cities, of course, often hire consultants with experience designing bicycle projects. However, qualified "in-house” city staff who oversee ongoing bicycle projects and maintenance of existing facilities are also needed. In 2011-2012, San Francisco had the greatest number of full-time city staff working on bicycle and pedestrian projects at 33; Portland had the second highest with 23; Atlanta only had 4 city staff working.

In addition to an adequate number of well-trained personnel, we need a Chief Engineer with the training, expertise, and experience to guide implementation of the City’s bicycle and active transportation network.

The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition recommends that elected officials:

  1. Selectively hire transportation engineers with training and experience designing bicycle projects.

  2. Create a Chief Engineer position in the new Atlanta Department of Transportation and hire with a focus on multi-modal experience and priorities.