Traditionally, bicycle and pedestrian planning has catered heavily toward recreational cycling. While recreational users can legally utilize the roads within the transportation network, recreational users generally have a negative impact on the network’s capacity due to the fact that recreational trips generally do not replace vehicle trips and cyclists typically travel below the posted speed limit. When a motorist encounters a cyclist, the motorist is often forced to travel at slower than posted speeds until there is an opportunity to safely pass the cyclist. As a result of these encounters, many motorists have developed negative connotations of bicycling and have imputed these negative connotations to the bicycle and pedestrian community as a whole.
Transportation planners are tasked with promoting infrastructure and operations strategies that have positive impacts on network capacity. For this reason the Eastern Shore MPO Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan takes a distinctly different approach to bicycle and pedestrian planning. The plan focuses on promoting utilitarian cycling and walking while still accommodating recreational and leisure users. A utilitarian trip moves a person or product from location A to location B with the aim of accomplishing a specific purpose at location B. A trip is classified as utilitarian if the user would have taken a motor vehicle but for the user’s decision to travel by bicycle or on foot. Thus, utilitarian trips remove vehicles from the roadway and have a positive impact on network capacity.
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