All Ages and Abilities Bikeways

Countywide Bikeways Facilities should incorporate All Ages and Abilities (AAA) design principles defined in the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Contextual Guidance for Selecting All Ages and Abilities Bikeways.

  • Bike lanes (Class II) and shared lanes (Class III bicycle boulevards) should demonstrate the appropriateness (vehicle speed and volume requirements) of the facility to meet the AAA standard.
  • Shared-use paths (Class I) or separated bikeways (Class IV) achieve this standard on any roadway, even major arterials with higher volumes and speeds.
  • On some corridors, a single street may not be able to best serve all modes, but a set of parallel facilities together (e.g. a transit priority street and parallel AAA bikeway) can provide strong multimodal travel options.

The guidance below provides additional support in identifying strategies for selecting AAA facilities. A forthcoming White Paper on Phasing and Implementation will provide further guidance on contexts and strategies for parallel routing.

Document cover for NACTO Designing for All Ages & Abilities


NACTO’s All Ages and Abilities (AAA) Guidance provides context sensitive guidance to achieve an AAA standard, recommending bikeway types depending on vehicle speeds and volumes along with roadway characteristics and curbside uses. Generally, it recommends shared-use paths or separated bike facilities as appropriate options on any street, especially along major arterials and collector streets. Striped and unprotected bike lanes, as well as bike boulevards or neighborhood bikeways, are only appropriate on low-volume and low-speed streets for an environment where people are safe and feel safe on the Countywide Bikeways Network.

The AAA policy aligns with the existing Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) policy for the regional Active Transportation Network (of which the Countywide Bikeways Network is a subset) and MTC's Complete Streets Policy, which requires all projects applying for regional discretionary transportation funding to submit a Complete Streets Checklist to MTC to ensure that the needs of people who bike and walk are considered at the earliest stages of project development. The AAA policy also conforms with the direction of an increasing number of federal and state funding conditions. Prioritizing the Countywide Bikeways Network and aligning with the AAA policy for Alameda CTC’s discretionary funds will ensure a consistent, high-quality network and that projects across the county are competitive for outside matching funds.

Bikeway Facility Selection

The NACTO Contextual Guidance for Selecting All Ages and Abilities (AAA) Bikeways facility selection chart provides a starting point for designing AAA bikeways. Designers should review the existing vehicle speeds, volumes, number of lanes, and operational characteristics of the corridor while selecting an AAA bikeway.

In many contexts in Alameda County, separated bike lanes or shared use paths should be the most appropriate facility type to create a safe and comfortable environment for children, families, older adults, and people with disabilities. Within this guidance, any of the following conditions suggest a separated (Class IV) bikeway or shared-use path (Class I):
  • Prevailing speeds at or above 26 mph
  • Multiple travel lanes in each direction
  • Average daily traffic above 6,000
  • High curbside activity
  • Frequent buses
  • Motor vehicle congestion pressure
  • High numbers of turning conflicts
One or more of these criteria apply to many primary roads on the Countywide Bikeways Network.

Sometimes, constraints may pose barriers to implementation of separated (Class IV) bikeways on major corridors within a reasonable time frame. Where situations like these result in bike lanes or shared bicycle boulevards as the preferred alignment, designers should document how the facility design will reduce or remove the factors listed in the table in order to achieve an AAA bikeway.
Chart of Contextual Guidance for Selecting All Ages & Abilities Bikeways