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2 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V W X Y Z

20 mph limit

A speed limit, indicated by signs and repeaters.

There is no traffic calming requirement with 20 mph limits. See the example below, on Tottenham Court Road in Camden. 

20 mph zone

See also: 

A 20 mph zone includes design features aimed at keeping vehicle speeds below 20 mph, such as humps, speed tables, rough surfaces, tight geometry, road narrowings, and so on.

Absolute Minimum value

An 'absolute minimum' value is a design paremeter used when there is an existing constraint on a proposed or existing cycle facility. 

Access barrier

A type of barrier designed to prevent (or discourage) illegitimate use of walking and cycling paths - in particular, entry using mopeds and motorcycles.

Access only

An 'access-only' road or street is that has a ban on motor traffic using it, except for access. Typically this signed with Diagram 620 'Except for Access' in conjunction with Diagram 619, 'motor vehicles prohibited'.

Access road

An access road is a road or street that should only be used by motor traffic that is accessing properties, businesses or dwellings on it.


The lack of separation from motor traffic limits the appeal of cycling to those who are sufficiently fast and brave.


An accident is an unforeseen mishap, but the word is often used to describe a road traffic collision.

Active Mode Appraisal Toolkit

The Active Mode Appraisal Toolkit (AMAT) is a model produced by the Department for Transport, which uses a spreadsheet to assess the overal benefits and costs of proposed cycling and walking interventions, ranging from capital investments to behaviour

Active travel

'Active travel' refers to modes of transport which involve physical activity - most typically, walking, cycling or scooting.

Advanced Stop Line

Sometimes called a bike box or a cycle reservoir, Advanced Stop Lines (ASLs) are stop lines for cyclists at traffic signals, which are marked beyond the stop line for general traffic.

Adverse camber

A road design feature that involves the road surface sloping away from the inside of a bend, being higher on the inside of the bend than on the outside (the opposite of a banked corner).

Advisory cycle lane

A cycle lane bounded by a broken white line, which enables motor traffic to enter the cycle lane when legal to do so.Advisory Cycle Lane, City of London

Angled rubbish bins

Popular beside cycle facilities in the Netherlands and Denmark, allowing people cycling to throw rubbish away without stopping.


Automatic Number Plate Recognition – camera system designed to recognise number plates and therefore exclude or fine all unrecognised users (while allowing buses, deliveries and/or residents vehicles etc. through).


The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group. The APPCG is a cross-party group consisting of MPs and Peers from the main political parties.


See also: 

Small dividers bolted onto road surface to give degree of protection to cycle lanes from the roadway. Also referred to, confusingly, as ‘zebras’. Approved for use in the UK by the DfT in 2013.


'Aspect' refers to the lights in traffic signals. 

For instance, conventional traffic signals (below) have three aspects; a red aspect, an amber aspect, and a green aspect. 

At grade

See also: 

'At grade' simply refers to a crossing or junction being at the same level, with the users interacting directly with one another.


One of the five main demands used to measure the quality of cycling infrastructure (the others are cohesionsafety


'Autoluwte' is a Dutch noun used to describe areas that have very low motor traffic levels. (The Dutch adjective 'autoluw' means 'low traffic'). 

Average Annual Daily Flow

A measure of the total annual volume of motor traffic on a road or street over the course of a year, divided by 365 - giving the volume of motor traffic expected along it on one day.


See also: 

Dutch makers of a range of cargo bikes.

Barriers to cycling

A term used to describe the obstacles to the uptake of cycling as a mode of transport. Essentially, the reason why people choose not to cycle for trips that could easily be cycled.

Belisha beacon

Named for Leslie Hoare Belisha, the Minister for Transport from 1934-37, this is the black and white pole, with yellow flashing bulb, that stands each side of a zebra crossing.

Beyond the Bicycle

'Beyond the Bicycle' is a term used by the Beyond the Bicycle Coalition, to highlight the need to take into consideration types of cycle beyond the standard two-wheeled bicycle.

Beyond the Bicycle Coalition

The Beyond the Bicycle Coalition is a group set in 2017, which represents users of non-standard cycles (e.g.


See also: 

The national programme of cycle training in England, Wales and Scotland.

Bikeability is based on standards approved by the Department for Transport - however, it is entirely voluntary, and not part of the curriculum.

Blister paving

See also: 

Another way to describe tactile paving.


An upright pole used principally to prevent motor vehicle access. 

Bus boarder

A platform onto which bus passengers alight. Can be used in isolation, as a build-out from a footway, or as part of a floating bus stop arrangement.

Bus cage

The marked box where a bus stops at a bus stop.

Bus gate

In transport planning and campaigning, the term "bus gate" can mean one of two street design features:

Bus lane

A motor traffic lane that is specifically reserved for the use of buses, and cycles and taxis, where permitted by signs. 


A Dutch term (literally - 'bus lock/gate') that refers to a road feature preventing access by motor traffic, but allowing access by buses. 


In highway engineering, capacity refers to the ability of a road or street to carry motor vehicles (or, more importantly, people).


See also: 

Capital (spending) refers to an amount spent on improving, or building, an asset. With regards to cycling, this might typically involve investment in the construction of new cycleways, improved junctions, or links between urban areas.

Cargo Bike

A catch-all term for a wide variety of adapted cycles, designed for carrying heavy or bulky loads, or passengers, including children. They can come in either two-wheeled, three-wheeled, or four-wheeled form, with or without e-assistance.


The section of the highway that is generally used by motor vehicles and cycles - alternatively, 'the road').

Carriageway narrowing

A form of design used to encourage slower traffic and to provide better (usually wider) pavement facilities for pedestrians, and indeed cycling infrastructure.


The Campaign for Better Transport: http://bettertransport.org.uk/

Centre line

A dashed marking used as a lane divider, or to indicate that a road, or a cycle path, has two-way traffic on it.


A chaincase is a device that encloses the chain on a bicycle. It's a practical feature that is ubiquitous on bicycles ridden for transport in the Netherlands and Denmark. 


'Channel' refers to the area adjacent to a kerb line, designed to collect water and guide it to drains.

Christiania bike

A manufacturer of cargo bikes in Denmark - most often seen as tricycles, and popular with businesses. 


The Chartered Instititute of Highways and Transportation.


The "Community Infrastructure Levy".


Clutter is those elements both visual and physical that detract from the simplicity of a street design. Sometimes used as an argument for naked streets, but also for more simply reducing unnecessary obstructions by other changes in design e.g.

Coaster brake

A coaster brake is a back pedal brake, typically found on bicycles ridden for transport in the Netherlands and Denmark. 


Also called 'Coherence'. One of the five main demands used to measure the quality of cycling infrastructure (the others are safety


Cycling infrastructure should be surfaced in one consistent colour, as much as possible, to provide clarity, visual priority, legibility and continuity. 

Combined Traffic

A term used to refer to cycles and motor traffic being 'combined' on the carriageway, i.e. without any separate cycle provision. 'Combined traffic' should only occur in low speed, low traffic environments.


One of the five main demands used to measure the quality of cycling infrastructure (the others are safetydir

Compact Roundabout

Also known as a Contiental Roundabout, this describes the concept of a reduced radius in the centre of a roundabout creating a layout in which motor vehicles traversing the design experience a need to slow down given by the need to take a series of cor

Constituency Road Safety Dashboard

The Constituency Road Safety Dashboard is a resource developed by PACTS (the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transpor


In the context of transport and highways, consultation is the process by which highway authorities discuss changes with local residents and transport users.

Continuous footway

A term used to describe an uninterrupted footway that extends across a side road.


A one-way street for motor vehicles with provision for two-way cycling. Avoids forcing cyclists into detours, but can be intimidating to ride in. This is typically a low-quality solution compared to modal filters.

Controlled crossing

A form of pedestrian crossing that gives priority to pedestrians or cycles crossing a road.

Controlled Parking Zone

An area where parking is generally reserved for permit holders. These can be done many different ways, but typically the restrictions will be by time and location.

Copenhagen-style bus stop bypass

This layout is obviously found (a lot) in the Danish city of Copenhagen which is rather more cycle-friendly than London. The arrangement has a footway, then a cycle track and buses stopping next to the cycle track.


Confusingly, this can mean two things. First, it can refer to the bus arrival times display on bus shelters. 

Critical Mass

An informal, leaderless bike ride that meets on the last Friday of every month, in cities around the world. There is no route planned; the ride simply follows those who happen to be at the head of the group.


In cycle campaigning, 'culture' is used as a way of explaining why cycling levels are so much higher in countries like the Netherlands and Denmark, compared to Britain.

Cycle crossing (unsignalised)

A cycle-specific crossing of a road carrying motor traffic, at grade. This type of crossing can either give cycling priority, or give motor traffic priority. 

Cycle Design Vehicle

A term used to refer to a 'composite' of the many different types of cycle, used to provide design criteria that will accommodate all those types of cycle.

Cycle gate

A 'cycle gate' is a design used to separate the movements of cycle traffic and motor traffic at busy junctions.

Cycle lane

A cycle lane is a painted treatment for cycling on the road surface, and is defined as part of the carriageway.

Cycle path

A motor traffic-free route specifically for cycle traffic that does not run parallel to an existing highway. In other words, they are distinct routes, separate from the road network.

Cycle Route

Any infrastructure that can legally be used by cyclists, including cycle tracks, stepped cycle tracks, cycle lanes, carriageways and cycle paths.

Cycle street

A cycle street is one designed to handle large volumes of cycling, but very low volumes of motor traffic.

Cycle Superhighway

A marketing term commonly used by British local authorities to promote new cycle infrastructure, and not necessarily of good quality.

Cycle time

'Cycle time' is the length of a cycle, in traffic signal control.

Cycle track

A route specifically for bicycle traffic that runs alongside a road or street, separate from it.

Cycle Tracks Act 1984

Legislation aimed at converting public footpaths (which are paths away from roads, not footways, which run along roads) int

Cycle Traffic

Cycle Traffic is defined as 'a specific type of traffic on the network where the vehicles meet the definition of a cycle.'

Cycle training

'Cycle training' refers to any programme of instruction in cycling proficiency, be it simply learning to ride and handle a cycle, learning road rules and behaviour, or attempting to deal with more complex road environments.


A simple, catch-all term to describe a route for cycling, analogous to footway for pedestrians and roadway for motor vehicles.

Cycling Level of Service

Cycling Level of Service (or CLoS for short) is an audit tool developed by Transport for London. It is designed to assess the quality of cycling provision in existing (and proposed) schemes, with a final score out of 100. 

Cycling strategy

(Also Cycling Plan and other similar names)

A document usually prepared by a local authority setting out a strategic plan for provision of cycle infrastructure and related policies.

Cyclists Dismount

An information sign (white lettering on blue rectangle), rather than a 'no cycling' sign, meaning it does not require you to dismount unless it is already illegal to cycle (for instance on entering a pedestrian area or to use a pelican or zebra


In cycle campaigning circles, 'dangerisation' is the claim that discussing safety, danger and potential risks suppresses cycling levels, and even causes people to give up cycling altogether.

Definitive map

A 'definitive map' is a document that county councils or unitary authorities in England and Wales (excluding inner London boroughs) have to draw up and maintain, to show all the rights of way in their ar

Design Manual for Bicycle Traffic

A manual produced by the Dutch CROW organisation, focused specifically on cycling infrastructure design, and general cycle design principles. 

Design Manual for Roads and Bridges

A large multi-volume manual that sets out how trunk roads in Britain should be designed. It is still used to inform (often inappropriately) how streets and roads in urban areas should be laid out.

Design Speed

'Design Speed' refers to the assumed speed of users of a particular route, and therefore determines the way that route should be designed, to accommodate that speed. 

Desirable Minimum value

A 'desirable minimum' value is a design paremeter used when there is no existing constraint on a proposed or existing cycle facility. 

For instance, a 'desirable minimum' width of a one-way cycleway is 2.5m.

Desire line

A desire line represents the shortest and most obvious path between A and B.


A piece of equipment that serves to provide information to traffic signal control systems about vehicles, people, or cycles approaching or waiting at junctions, and adjusts signal time accordingly.

Detector Loop

A detector loop, or induction loop, is an electro-magnetic loop built in a road surface that provides traffic data, or alerts a traffic signal system to the presence of a vehicle or bicycle.


The Department for Transport - the body responsible for transport of all types in the UK.


One of the five main demands used to measure the quality of cycling infrastructure (the others are safety, cohesion

Disability Discrimination Act 1995

An Act to make it unlawful to discriminate against disabled persons in connection with employment, the provision of goods, facilities and services or the disposal or management of premises; to make provision about the employment of disabled pe

Distributor road

A distributor road is a road that links up access roads and through roads.


Abbreviation of Design Manual for Roads and Bridges.

Door Zone

The 'door zone' is an area next to parked vehicles where a door can suddenly open into the path of an unwitting bike user.


Road furniture that can have a significant impact on the quality of cycle provision. 


An entrance to a property. Where a footway or a cycleway crosses a driveway, both should continue across it without interruption, with a smooth, level, continuous surface.

An example of a footway crossing a driveway -

Dual carriageway

A dual carriageway is composed of two separate carriageways, separated by some kind of physical barrier or divider.

Dual network

The dual network is a concept which provides two types of cycling infrastructure. The theory is that experienced and confident cyclists will use the roads, while those less experienced or confident will use off-road facilities.

Dual provision

Dual provision is a design approach which involves employing two different (parallel) types of cycling infrastructure.

Dutch Bicycle Master Plan

A 1999 document, produced by the Fietsberaad, that documents the history of cycling in the Netherlands from 1890 up until 1999. 

Dynamic envelope

'Dynamic envelope' refers to the typical space someone takes up while cycling. It will be larger than the static width because people will 'wobble' while travelling along. 


A dynamo is a small electrical generator which uses the motion of the wheels to generate electricity.

Early start

The use of cycle-specific lights at a junction that go green prior to the main traffic lights enabling those cycling to move ahead and ideally clear the junction prior to the rest of traffic moving, but useless if arrived at during a green phase.


European Cyclists Federation

Effective width

Effective width refers to the usable width of cycling provision.

Elephants Footprints

A term used to describe a series of square road markings, which delineate cycle crossings of carriageways.

End of route

"End of route" is a road sign (Diagram 965 in TSRGD) which traffic engineers use to mean "we've given up on this cycle path now, you're on your own from here."

Entrance Kerb

An 'entrance kerb' (called 'inritband' in Dutch) is a type of ramped kerb that allows footways and cycleways to run at a continuous, raised flat level across side roads and minor junctions.

Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society.


See also: 

An erf (literally meaning 'yard') is a Dutch term for a street where walking, cycling and recreation is formally prioritised over the flow of motor traffic. The plural is 'erven'.

Except Cycles

A road sign that can be added below other road signs to indicate exemptions to a rule, or information - for instance, No Entry except cycles, or the 'Dead End' sign.


'Exercise' is defined as physical activity requiring effort. 

Experimental Traffic Order

See also: 

A form of Traffic Order, which traffic authorities have the power to impose without consultation.



Facility of the Month

Good and bad cycling facilities of the month, maintained by CEoGB and Warrington Cycle Campaign respectively.

Faculty of Public Health

Describes itself as '...the standard setting body for specialists in public health in the United Kingdom.'

Fatality Rates

'Fatality rate' refers to the number of fatalities, by exposure - be that distance travelled by a particular mode, or time spent travelling by that particular mode.


The Fietsberaad is the Dutch bicycle council. It is a government organisation, composed of experts in bicycle design, from across the Netherlands.

It is a founding member of the Dutch Cycling Embassy.


The Fietsersbond is the Dutch Cyclists Union, a campaigning group for better cycling conditions. It has around 35,000 members, and is a partner in the Dutch Cycling Embassy.


A filter is infrastructure which permits one mode of transport through but prevents another.

An example of this would be a bollard which prevents motor vehicles from passing but allows bicycles.

Filtered permeability

Filtered permeability describes design of our streets and urban realm that allows through journeys for selected modes of transport, typically walking and cycling (but sometimes also buses), but removes it as a through ro

Floating bus stop

Also known as a 'bus stop bypass', this is an arrangement that involves a cycleway running behind the passenger boarding area at a bus stop, between an island and the footway.

Flush kerb

A kerb which is level with the surrounding area. There is no height difference between the kerb and the carriageway, cycle track or footpath. 

Fly parking

'Fly parking' describes informally parking bicycles by (and locking them to) street furniture.

Typically it is symptomatic of a lack of adequate designated cycle parking, and/or space to park bicycles.

Flying motorbike

A slang term for a road sign prohibiting motor vehicles - diagram 619 in the TSRGD. The red circle is a prohibition, excluding all forms of motor traffic.


See also: 

A path away from a carriageway (or, in other words, a path away from a road).


See also: 

The technical term for what is commonly called a pavement in the UK, and a sidewalk in the US.

Forgiving kerbing

'Forgiving kerbs' are angled, or splayed, kerbs that can be easily traversed by cycles, while still presenting a clear physical height difference between a cycleway and a footw


'Forgivingness' is one of the principles of the Dutch system of Sustainable Safety.

Formal crossing

Any road crossing, whether signalised or not, that is clearly marked as such.

Free parking

Often considered to be the intervention that will save the High Street, despite much evidence to the contrary.

Grade separation

A junction treatment that involves vertical separation of two or more different routes, placing them at different heights. For bicycle traffic, this will typically involve an underpass, or a bridge over a road. 


Gradient is a measure of the degree of slope. While gradients on naturally occurring features (hills!) can be hard to avoid, they can (and should) be mitigated, particularly by extending routes. An example is shown below.


A grating is a cover for a drain, allowing water to enter while preventing objects (and people!) from entering.


Term used to describe the dense network of safe, pleasant cycle routes which is required to enable mass cycling.


A fence along the outside edge of a footway, to prevent pedestrians crossing or walking on or across the carraigeway, along desire lines.

Guided bus

A bus that is fitted with special steering equipment to allow it to be driven along a narrow busway without the driver needing to steer.


A gully is a drain built into the highway, designed to remove surface water from the carriageway (or cycleway). 


A type of cycle pedalled by hand, rather than by foot.

They can either be a specfically-designed cycle, or an adapted wheelchair, with an (attached) front wheel powered by hand pedalling. E-assist is also available for handcycles.


In traffic signal control, a head refers to the cluster of signals, on a signal pole.

Health benefits

The health benefits of cycling are well known. Cycling is typically considered one of the two best forms of exercise, along with swimming, as it provides exercise without impact on joints.

Healthy Streets

Healthy Streets is a policy approach adopted by Transport for London, which aims to improve public health by enabling more people to walk, cyc

Healthy Streets Index

The Healthy Streets Index is a tool created by experts from University College London (UCL), Healthy Streets and Tranquil City, which rates the 'healthiness' of ev


HEAT stands for Health Economic Assessment Tool.

Hi Viz

Short for 'high visibility'. Used to describe clothing (or other aids) that aim to increase conspicuity of people cycling, or walking.

Typically 'hi viz' takes the form of a bright yellow jacket, with reflective strips. 

Hierarchy of Provision

The Hierarchy of Provision is a list of traffic interventions which was intended to help highways designers create better conditions for cycling.


A way over which generally all members of the public have the right to pass and repass without hindrance. May be maintained by public expense (i.e. local highway authority) or private expense (land owner).

Highway Authority

A 'highway authority' is a body that has a duty of care to maintain the safety and usability of highways (including roads) that are kept at public expense.

Highways Act 1980

An Act which sets out the powers and duties of highway authorities. Duties are things that these authorities have to do. Powers are things that the authorities may wish to exert.

Highways England

Formerly the Highway Agency, Highways England is a government-owned company with responsibilty for the operation, maintenance and improvement of the motorways and trunk road net

Home zone

See also: 

Home zones are a residential (typically urban) street treatment that involve reducing motor traffic speeds and the general dominance of motor traffic, more diverse use of street space (particularly by residents), increasing natural surveillance, and fo


'Homogeneity' is one of the principles of the Dutch system of Sustainable Safety.


A hub is the central part of a (bicycle) wheel that contains the axle.


A method of vehicle speed reduction using a raised section of road which cannot be driven over at high speeds. Humps are also colloquially known as 'sleeping policemen'. 

Hybrid Cycle Track

A 'hybrid cycle track' is a British description for a stepped cycle track, a cycleway that is built higher than the carriageway, but lower than the footway - at an intermediate height, between the two.

Inclusive bicycle

A bicycle adapted in one way or another to accommodate its user's disability. This could be a tricycle, tandem, handcycle, or a wide variety of other types. 

Inclusive design

Inclusive design - not specifically about cycling - involves ensuring that everyone is able to use places, buildings, equipment, tools and environments, and that they are safe and convenient, for all.


The principle that design for cycling should not exclude any particular user, be it because it is too hostile, too intimidating, or cannot accommodate their type of cycle.

Induced demand

“If you build more space for motor traffic, you will get more motor traffic”. Induced demand is the idea that building more roads will generate more demand for those roads.

Infrastructure safari

A term used by the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain, and coined by Sally Hinchcliffe, to describe organised visits to particular areas to look at and understand cycling provision in a particular area. 


A Dutch term meaning 'driveway kerbs' or 'entrance kerbs'. 



See also: 

An intergreen period is the amount of time between the end of a green phase, and the start of another green phase.


'Intervisibility' is a technical term used in highway engineering, which in plain language simply means users being able to (mutually) see each other.


A junction is the point at which roads meet; or the point at which cycleways meet roads, or each other. This creates potential conflict between users travelling in different directions, which has to be managed with good design.


See also: 

High quality and modern child-carrying tricycle (similar to the Bakfiets or Bullit) made by Danish company Winthur.

Kerb radius

The (usable) radius available to vehicles turning into or out of a street – the wider the radius, the wider the entry/exit, and/or the shallower the angle of turn from one street to another, the faster vehicles will be able to take the turn.

Kerbside activity

A term used to refer to parking and loading (by motor vehicles) at the edge of the carriageway, adjacent to the footway.


Abbreviation of "Killed or Seriously Injured".


"London Cycle Design Standards". Transport for London's cycling design manual, covering requirements and guidance for the design of roads and streets for cycling.


The "Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan".

Left hook

A 'left hook' involves a motor vehicle overtaking a person cycling, then turning left across the latter's path. Particularly dangerous where pedestrian guard railings are in place at the edge of a pavement.

Leisure cycling

Cycling purely for pleasure, without any other purpose.

The opposite of utility cycling.


'Liability' refers to councils or highway authorities being found legally responsible for defective roads, or road design, that leads to injury or death. 

Light protection

Also referred to as light segregation, this is a method for separating a cycle lane from the carriageway by means of (typically temporary, or easily installed) physical objec

Lightly protected cycleway

A cycleway composed of a cycle lane separated from the carriageway by means of light protection.Cycle lane</body></html>


A 'link' is a road or a street that connects between junctions.


LIP is an abbreviation of Local Implementation Plan.

LIPs are part of the structure that Transport for London (TfL) uses to deliver transport strategy in inner and outer London, by allocating money to the boroughs.

Liveable Neighbourhoods (London)

Aside from the general aspirartion that everyone should have a 'liveable' neighbourhood, this is a London-specific programme run by TfL for transport improvements around town centres, residential areas and transport interchanges, linked to the MTS, and

Local Enterprise Partnership

Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) are

joint local authority-business bodies brought forward by local authorities themselves to promote local economic development – to replace Regional Development Agencies (RDAs)

Local Transport Note

A Local Transport Note (usually abbreviated to LTN) is traffic management guidance for local authorities, issued by the British Department for Transport.

Low Traffic Neighbourhood

A Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) is an area-wide intervention designed to reduce motor traffic levels across a series of streets, by confining through traffic to main roads (or 'boundary' roads).

Low-level signals

Low-level signals are small repeater lights that mirror what is displayed by the larger, conventional, traffic signals at junctions. They make it easier for people cycling to see signals that apply to them, without having to crane their necks back.


(Local Sustainable Transport Fund)


An abbrevation, either for

LTN 1/12

Current DfT guidance on Shared Use Routes for Pedestrians and Cyclists

LTN 2/08 Cycle Infrastructure Design

See also: 

The DfT’s cycling infrastructure design guidance.


Local Transport Plan


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“Middle Aged Man In Lycra”. A favourite of journalists and bloggers who seek to turn cycling into a tribal thing done by a minority …  

Mandatory cycle lane

A cycle lane marked by a solid (unbroken) white line. It is 'mandatory' in the sense that drivers of motor vehicles are not permitted to enter it, rather than being mandatory for cyclists to use it.

Manual for Streets

See also: 

UK Government guidance for street design practitioners - abbreviated to MfS, or MfS2. 

Mesh density

'Mesh density' describes whether a cycle network is 'dense' or 'loose'.

A good, dense cycle network will have parallel routes close to each other - a high mesh density. 

Minor side road

A side road carrying only small amounts of motor traffic; typically only a small number of residential properties.

Mobility scooter

A mobility scooter is an electrically-powered scooter for those with mobility problems.

UK law divides mobility scooters (along with powered wheelchairs) into two categories - Class 2, and Class 3, invalid carriages.

Modal filter

modal filter is a feature used to limit through-journeys along a street by certain modes of transport. Modal filters are used to achieve fil

Modal share

The percentage of the total share which a given mode of transport makes up. For example nationally cycling makes up a 2% modal share in the UK.


'Monofunctionality' is one of the principles of the Dutch system of Sustainable Safety.


An acronym, standing for Microprocessor Optimised Vehicle Actuated control, a system developed by TRL in the 1980s, and used at signal-controlled junctions.

MTS (London)

"Mayor's Transport Strategy". Around every 10 years, the Mayor prepares a long-term document laying out the transport strategy and key associated targets that reaches far beyond the current term.


See also: 

When used in a standard, 'must' is a statutory obligation.

Naked streets

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National Association of City Transportation Officials

NACTO is a coalition of transport authorities in the USA, their mission being to "exchange of transportation ideas, insights, and practices among large central cities while fostering a cooperative approach to key national transportation issues.&qu

National Cycle Network

Much derided by cycle campaigners as a joke ("Notional Cycling Network" or "National Cycling Not-work" for example), the NCN is a bold attempt at creating a network of cycle routes across Britain. 

National Cycle Route

One of the principal routes that make up the National Cycle Network. Often abbreviated to NCR or NCN, e.g. NCR1. Contrast with Regional Cycle Route

National Planning Policy Framework

A document that sets out the government's planning policy for England, and how its policies on planning are expected to be applied.

Relevant passages on cycling include 

Paragraph 17 -


Also often used as a shorthand for National Cycle Route (even though the letters don’t match!)


Used to describe a number of connected cycle routes. In Britain this word has been used to describe very weak networks, such as the National Cycle Network.

A more well-defined concept is the Grid, which is a network with specified density.

Non-motorised user

A 'non-motorised user' (or NMU) is someone walking or cycling, or a horse rider. 


Obesity is a term used to describe somebody who is very overweight with a high degree of body fat.


See also: 

The classic Dutch bike design.

Easily recognisable by the relaxed, upright posture of the rider and the curved bar on the frame.


See also: 

 ‘Opafiets’ means ‘grandfather bike’ but this classic design is ridden by men and women of all ages in the Netherlands.

Very similar to the omafiets, but with a crossbar.


A worldwide cycle map based upon OpenStreetMap data

Overrun area

An overrun area is a portion of road surface that is designed to accommodate the turning circles of large vehicles, while ensuring tight geometry (to slow down speeds) for conventional vehicles.

Parallel alignment

Parallel alignment describes separate parallel provision for walking and cycling along a given route.

Parallel crossing

A parallel crossing is a combined pedestrian and cycle zebra crossing which can be used as part of protected cycling infrastructure.


'Parapet' refers to a wall, fencing or barrier designed to stop people falling from a bridge or other elevated section of road, cycleway or footway.

Passenger Car Unit

A Passenger Car Unit is a measure used primarily to assess highway capacity, for modelling purposes. Different vehicles are assigned different values, according to the space they take up.

Passing law

A passing law refers to legislation that requires to drivers to pass people cycling at a specified minimum distance.


Pedestrian path alongside a highway. This is the colloquial term for footway, which is the precise term in legislation.

Pedestrian and Cycle Zone

A form of pedestrianised street that allows cycling - or in other words, a street that bans motor traffic!

Pedestrian phase

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Pedestrian refuge

A specific element of road infrastructure, used to allow pedestrians to cross larger roads in multiple phases. Often these have some physcal protection from traffic, and can be combined with pinch points.

Pedestrianised street

A 'pedestrianised street' is one that prohibits motor traffic, for either the whole day, or a large proportion of it. 

Pegasus crossing

A push-button controlled crossing which permits equestrian as well as pedestrian use. A second push-button box is mounted higher up such that the horse rider does not need to dismount to operate the crossing.

Pelican crossing

PEdestrian LIght CoNtrolled (yes, that is where the name comes from) crossing is an example of a controlled crossing where pedestrians push a button to indicate they wish to cross.


In traffic control a phase refers to an indication shown to motor traffic, cycle traffic, or pedestrians.

Physical activity

See also: 

The NHS recommends that adults (19 and over) should engage in 150 minutes of 'moderate aerobic activity' per week. For children (those aged 5-18) t

Pinch point

An element of road design which narrows the carriageway artifically - often at pedestrian junctions - with the intent of slowing and calming traffic.

Pinch stile

A gap between housing, railings, etc.

Planning gain / Planning obligation

See also: 

Land, and buildings, are worth a lot more on the open market with planning permission for development than without planning permission.

Point Closure

A point closure is another term for a modal filter.


Porosity is a way to talk about the provision of crossing points - how can cycling 'flow' from one area to another. Low porosity means that there are few ways to exit a particular neighbourhood, making cycling a less inviting option.

Pram arm

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'Predictability' is one of the principles of the Dutch system of Sustainable Safety.

Presumed liability

'Presumed liability' (often referred to as 'strict liability') is an element of civil law that, in crashes involving vulnerable road users, finds the more powerful road user liable by default, unless it can be clearly proven that t


Often described as ‘right of way’, priority concerns who should be yielding to whom at points of traffic intersection - road junctions, pedestrian crossings, etc.

Private entrance

An entrance to a private property, similar to a minor road.

Cycleways across these entrances should be designed with clear visual priority - smooth, continuous and without interruption.

Propensity to Cycle Tool

The National Propensity to Cycle Tool (PCT) is an online and interactive planning support tool to provide an evidence base to inform investment in cycling.

It is available at pct.bike.


A term used to describe measures that separate cycling (and indeed walking) from motor traffic. For instance 'protected cycleway' would be a cycleway that is separated from motor traffic by either a physical kerb, or bollards, or parking.


"Public Transport Access Level". This is a way of measuring the overall level of public transport access which places have. 

Public Right of Way

Public Rights of Way include footpaths, bridleways, restricted byways, and byways open to all traffic (BOATs). They are all highways, and are shown on Definitive Maps.

Puffin crossing

A type of pedestrian crossing, the name “puffin” deriving from “Pedestrian User-Friendly INtelligent crossing”.

Raised entry treatment

A speed table which is built across the width of a side road at a junction. It creates a level crossing surface for pedestrians (and cycle users where part of a cycle track).

Rapid Cycleway Prioritisation Tool

The Rapid Cycleway Prioritisation Tool (RCPT) provides an interactive map for every transport authority in England.


The Road Danger Reduction Forum. A group of transport officials and professionals who work on cycling walking, transport planning and other related areas.


A physical, kerbed "island" placed in the carriageway design to assist pedestrians and cycle users to cross the road in more than one stage, but without giving any specific priority.

Regional cycle route

A cycle route planned and maintained by a local authority or other regional body.


To be completed. Used in "20mph zone"

Return on Investment (RoI)

How the DfT evaluates whether it’s spending its money wisely. Cycling spending tends to provide ratios of 3 or more to 1 in direct and indirect benefits.


See also: 

Revenue (spending), in reference to cycling, applies to the immediate use of cash on projects, usually day-to-day running, or maintenance. 

Rising bollards

A rising bollard is a physical barrier which sinks into the ground when a permitted vehicle is approaching, but otherwise prevents unauthorised vehicles from passing through. 

RLJ (Red Light Jumping)

An RLJ has occurred when a vehicle has crossed the stop line while the associated traffic light signal was red.

Road Hierarchy

A 'road hierarchy' refers to a system of classifying all the roads and streets in a given area, according to their function. Typically this will involve 

Road Hump

The official, legal term for what are more commonly known as 'speed humps', designed to slow and control vehicular traffic.

Road humps come in various forms -

Road Safety Audit

A Road Safety Audit (RSA) is an evaluation of a new highway scheme, before, during and after construction, with the intention of identifying potential safety issues, and to propose measures to eliminate them.

Road Tax

This is an incorrect term for Vehicle Excise Duty or vehicle tax - a tax on vehicles emissions.

Road Traffic Act 1988

An Act of Parliament, concerned with licensing of vehicles, insurance and road regulation.

Road Traffic Regulation Act (1984)

The Road Traffic Regulation Act is a piece of primary legislation that allows highway authorities to lawfully restrict and manage traffic (including cycling and walking - both con

RTA - Road Traffic Act

A Road Traffic Act is an act of Parliament (i.e. a UK law or regulation) which relates to the public highways.

RTC - Road traffic collision

See also: 

"Road traffic collision" is the official Police phrase used to describe a crash. 


"Road Traffic Incident" - used alongside "Road Traffic Collision" as a replacement for "Road Traffic Accident". 

S4C (London)

S4C or "Space for Cycling" was the 2014 London election campaign run by London Cycling Campaign.

Safe Routes to School

A major project lead by Sustrans to create safe cycling and walking routes serving schools located across the UK.


One of the five main demands used to measure the quality of cycling infrastructure (the others are cohesiondire

Safety In Numbers

'Safety in Numbers' is the theory that there is a correlation between cycling levels in an area, or country, and the relative safety of cycling - that higher cycling levels correlate with higher safety levels. 

Saturation flow

Saturation flow is the (maximum) flow across a stop line, during green from a discharging queue, typically expressed in Passenger Car Units per hour.

School Street

A 'School Street' is a term for a temporary restriction of motor traffic on a street (or streets) surrounding a school, at the start and end of the school day.

School zones

A misguided attempt to improve child safety by reducing motor speeds on roads outside schools. Sadly these roads tend to already be clogged by cars, and children spend more time on roads where they live.


SCOOT is an abbreviation for 'Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique'.

Section 106

A mechanism of planning gain whereby developers make a financial contribution towards infrastructure needed to support their development. Infrastructure can include transport, schools, etc.

Section 278 Agreement

This refers to S278 of the Highways Act 1980 (as amended) and is essentially a formal agreement between a highway authority and another party to make changes to an existing hi

Section 38 Agreement

This refers to S38 of the Highways Act 1980 (as amended) and is essentially a formal agreement for a highway authority to adopt (take over responsibility for) roads.

Secured by Design

'Secured by Design' is a national police project focused on reducing crime through the design of buildings and the built environment.


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See also: 
(See ‘Royal College Street’) [also soft segregation]


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Service road

A service road is a road running parallel to a faster, or busier road, which provides access to private properties, shops, industry, or farms (depending on the location.


See also: 

When used in a standard, 'shall' is a requirement.

Shared space

A broad term that can be used to describe many different forms of street treatment.

Shared use

A term used to describe a footway that legally allows cycling.

Sharks' Teeth

A term used to describe the Dutch (and indeed European) equivalent of the British painted  'Give Way' marking. 

Sheffield stand

A type of cycle stand, typically in an upside-down, squared U-shape.


See also: 

When used in a standard, 'should' is a recommendation. 

Shuttle working

Shuttle working refers to the use of traffic signals to alternate flows on a one-way section of road. Most typically found at roadworks, but can also be used to create attractive conditions for cycling on, say, bridges. See example linked to below.

Signalised junction

Group term [to be completed] 

3 arm, 4 arm crossroad, 4 arm staggered, multi arm, roundabout

Simple Priority Junction

A junction on the road network, without signals, operating with priority markings ('Give Way' lines).

Simultaneous green

'Simultaneous green' junctions (or 'all-ways' green, or 'scramble', junctions) give people cycling and walking a combined dedicated green phase, while motor traffic is stopped in all directions, which allows both types of road u

Single surface

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Sinusoidal hump

A type of road hump that has a curved, sinusoisdal profile, which means they are smoother and more comfortable to cycle over than the 'conventional' hump with a round profile or flat profile. 

Sleeping policeman

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Slip (lane)

A road or cycle track that separates from the main carriageway, normally to enable a turn avoiding signal control.

Slow marking

The 'Slow' marking is a painted marking on the road surface, which has the intention of encouraging road users to slow down. 


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Sociable cycling

'Sociable cycling' refers to the ability to cycle side-by-side, or to hold conversations while cycling. It is an important requirement for a good cycling environment.

Social Model of Disability

A model that recognises that disability isn't caused by someone's impairment or physical conditions - instead disability results from inaccessible environments, pre-conceived ideas of what people can and can't do, and lack of support systems.

Soft measures

'Soft measures' refer to methods of reducing car use through the use of promotion, marketing, personalised travel planning, training, and so on.

Spatial protection

A form of protection separating cycling (or walking) from motor traffic, that involves separating these modes physically. 

Speed table

A large road hump across the width of a carriageway (or a cycle track). Has a flat top and can either run kerb to kerb or stop short to leave a channel for water to pass.

Splay kerb

A kerb that is angled - one that does not meet the ground at a 90° angle.


In traffic control, a stage is a series of phases that run together - for instance, a green for motor traffic and cycle traffic to proceed ahead, while left-turning mo

Staging diagram

A staging diagram is a way of visually demonstrating the permitted phase movements in a series of stages, making up one compl

Stats 19

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Stopping Sight Distance

Stopping Sight Distance (or SSD for short) is is the distance required for a highway user to perceive, react and stop safely, before encountering a hazard or potential collision. It is measured in a straight line between two points at the cen

Strategic Neighbourhood Analysis

The Strategic Neighbourhood Analysis (SNA) is a Transport for London planning tool, consisting of a series of strategic-level spatial analyses used to inform the potential suitability of different areas for

Strategic Road Network

In England, the Strategic Road Network (or SRN) is made up of motorways and trunk roads (the most significant 'A' roads).

Subjective safety

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Sump buster

A colloquial term for a road feature that prevents access by conventional motor traffic, but allows access by larger motor vehicles - particularly, buses and fire engines.


A term used to describe Barcelona's approach to modal filtering.

Sustainable safety

'Sustainable Safety' is the Dutch principle of design which makes roads and streets easy to use, self-explanatory and safe by default, preventing crashes from occurring. A better English expression is 'Intrinsic Safety'.

Sustainable Transport

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Short for Sustainable Transport, Sustrans is a national charity that promotes the use of sustainable transport. Flagship projects of Sustrans include the National Cycle Network, Safe Routes to Schools, Connect2, and Free Range Kids.

Swept Path Analysis

The calculation and analyis (now performed with software) of the movement and path of the wheels (and body parts) of a vehicle, when that vehicle is turning. 


In highway engineering, there are three main uses:

Tactile paving

Tactile paving (or surface) is a textured surface which gives different information to blind and partially-sighted people.

Temporal protection

A form of protection separating cycling (or walking) from motor traffic, that involves separating these modes in time. 

Temporary Traffic Order

A Temporary Traffic Order (TTO) is a form of legal instrument used by highway authorities to implement traffic management controls on their roads - the power to do so lies with 

Through road

A through road is for fast traffic, travelling longer distances, in large volumes. Motorways, trunk roads, bypasses, and so on.

Tiger crossing

Former (unofficial) term for what is now called a Parallel Crossing.


A London-specific term, standing for the "Transport for London Road Network" (alternatively, the "Transport for London Route Network").

Toucan crossing

Two CAN cross (sigh!). A crossing for use by pedestrians and cycle-users at once.

Traffic Analysis Tool

An online tool developed to conduct surveys of estimated motor vehicle journey times taking, account of traffic congestion as estimated by Google Maps.

Traffic island

Or ‘roundabout’

Traffic Management Order

Or ‘TMO’ - used in some London locations instead of Traffic Regulation Orders.

Traffic Order

A traffic order is a legal document which formalises a highway authority's ability to regulate or manage traffic - 'traffic' will include cycles and pedestrians. 

Traffic Regulation Order

A Traffic Regulation Order (or TRO) is a legal instrument, used by highway authorities to implement traffic management controls on their roads.

Traffic stress

Traffic stress is caused by safety issues (both perceived and real), as well as extended travel distance and difficulties in negotiating parts of the network.

Transport Poverty

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Abbreviation of Trip Rate Information Computer System.


A bicycle with three wheels, whether the two wheels are in front (like a Christiana trike) or behind (like a Pashley trike)

Trixi mirror

A convex mirror attached to traffic signals to help drivers (especially HGVs) to see down the side of their vehicle for the presence of people on cycles, especially before turning left.


The Transport Research Laboratory, at Crowthorne in Berkshire.


Abbreviation of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions.

Turbo roundabout

A specific form of roundabout for motorists, with a spiral pattern that commits motorists to choosing the correct lane before entering the roundabout. Lane changes on the roundabout itself are eliminated.

Uniformity of provision

'Uniformity of provision' is a design philosophy that means cycling infrastructure is suitable for all potential users, whether they are young or old, fast or slow, experienced or inexperienced. One design approach is employed for all potential users.

Unmarked junction

An 'unmarked junction' is a road junction on the highway that has no road markings - for instance, no 'Give Way' lines.


'Unravelling' (or 'unbundling') refers to the deliberate separation of main cycling routes from driving routes, at a network level.


The height difference of a kerb between different areas of a highway (for instance, between the carriageway and the footway, or between a cycleway and a footway).

Utility cycling

The act of using a bike for a day-to-day task, such as shopping, commuting, going to the cinema, visiting friends, etc. Any cycling done simply as a means of transport rather than as a sport or leisure activity.


Vehicle Excise Duty. Commonly and incorrectly referred to as ‘Road Tax’, although media organisations will occasionally make the effort to use the more correct ‘car tax’.

Vehicular cycling

A term coined by John Forester to describe riding a bicycle as if it were a motor vehicle.

Visibility Splay

A measurement of the distance at which users should be able to see left and right as they approach a junction on the minor arm. It is composed of an 'x' distance and a 'y' distance, as shown in the Highways England diagram below.

Visual Looming

'Visual looming' refers to changes in optical size as an object approaches. It allows us to perceive the speed at which an object is approaching us.


'Voorrangsplein' (literally, 'priority square') is a Dutch junction type that is superficially similar to a roundabout, but that takes the form of long lonzenge-shaped central island, designed specifically for situations where a major road (a distribut

Vulnerable Road User

A term used to describe pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and motorcyclists, abbreviated to VRU. The term reflects the fact that these users are not surrounded by the protective shell of a motor vehicle and are therefore at greater risk of harm

Vulnerable Road User Audit

A vulnerable road user audit (VRUA) is an assessment of either an existing road network, or planned changes to the road network, including footways, cycleways, bridleways, and other links. 

Walking, Cycling and Horse Riding Assessment & Review

The Walking, Cycling and Horse Riding Assessment & Review (WCHAR) has, since 2017, replaced the previous HD 42/05 NMU (Non-Motorised User) Audit as part of

Wheelchair trike

Also referred to as a wheelchair tandem, this is a three-wheeled cycle, designed to accommodate a wheelchair between the front axle.

Typically this cycle is up to 2.3m long, and 1.2m wide. 


See also: 

The woonerf (plural woonerven) is a type of Dutch residential street that was developed in the 1970s, designed to be safe, and quiet, with no through-traffic except walking. The name literally means 'living courtyard'.

X distance

A measurement involved in visibility splays.

Y Distance

A measurement involved in visibility splays.

Zebra crossing

A controlled pedestrian crossing, with black and white stripes on the road running across the pedestrian walking line.