Cardiff Council has set out a vision to double the number of cycle trips within the city by 2030. The plan is to redevelop the city so that walking or cycling is the first choice of transport for short trips. To facilitate this movement and increase connectivity, there is a requirement to develop safe, practical and accessible cycling infrastructure for communities.

Arup’s team of transport planners and civil engineers has been working closely with Cardiff Council to develop the network of cycleways’ proposal. Five primary route corridors have been identified and will connect major destinations, existing communities and strategic development sites across the city.

Working with Local Transport Projects (LTP), Arup has completed the preliminary concept design for the first four routes. The development of over 30km of new, primarily segregated cycle routes will be part of an important step-change to improve Cardiff's cycling infrastructure.

An essential need for cycleways

The requirement for a network of cycling routes within Cardiff came in response to pressing obligations arising from the Active Travel Act (Wales) for councils to continually improve active travel routes. A strategic network would encourage communities to prioritise walking and cycling over driving, by connecting schools, businesses and key sites across the city through integrated active travel infrastructure. Cardiff Council had an indication of the areas that should form part of the network but lacked clarity around the specific routes that would enable connectivity.

Developing the optimal path

Arup’s role supported the development of a clear vision. The process involved reviewing and mapping the existing network of cycle routes to identify routes that were unsuitable and unable to meet the intended standard, or which could be upgraded to provide part of the future network. This work enabled us to identify two new primary route corridors to complete the network. Our work appraised different route options within the two corridors to establish the proposed routes and required infrastructure. The two routes have subsequently been split into five route sections for further development.

Maintaining health and safety

Health and safety considerations are critical for a successful, active travel scheme within towns and cities. We led the Principal Designer scope of the project to ensure pre-construction health and safety measures were considered for the project’s whole-life. 

Our team conducted a series of extensive site visits to provide first-hand experience into the existing routes. These site visits, alongside desk research, allowed mapping of constraints and enabled us to identify hazards on the urban highway corridor. Significant design risk reviews that influenced the following project stages included kerbside parking considerations, interactions with pedestrians at bus stop locations, existing infrastructure and utilities, flooding risks, and connectivity with the existing road network for cyclists at key junctions and route ends.

Creating integrated cycling infrastructure

The interactive design process was the result of a collaboration with Cardiff Council and LTP. The route implementation has been phased starting with main priority areas that connect the city centre, Cardiff University and Cardiff Bay. Cardiff Council is progressing plans by carrying out the detailed design of the extended route across the city. 

The first section of the cycleway opened in January 2020 and the cycling infrastructure will continue to extend across the city to help promote cycling for all ages and abilities within Cardiff.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the network has evolved. Other routes have become more prevalent and have accelerated temporary active travel methods being deployed across the city. Arup continues to support Cardiff Council with its active travel schemes.