3 Introduction

The Cycling Infrastructure Prioritisation Toolkit (CyIPT) is a research project led by the University of Leeds and funded by the Department for Transport (DfT). The purpose of CyIPT is to develop methods and tools to assist in the design, planning and prioritisation of new cycling infrastructure.

CyIPT was funded by the Innovation Challenge Fund (ICF) to demonstrate the readiness of technology to automate the early stages of the planning process for cycling infrastructure — scheme evaluation. The aim was to:

tackle the challenge that cycling uptake is often limited by infrastructural barriers which could be remediated cost-effectively, yet investment is often spent on less cost-effective interventions, based on an assessment of only a few options.

This aim builds on the work already on the Propensity to Cycle Tool (PCT) to estimate the potential for cycling uptake nationwide (Department for Transport 2016). The PCT does this by analysing origin-destination data on travel patterns to identify trips that could be replaced by cycling nationally, down to the route-network level (Lovelace et al. 2017). While the PCT focusses on where to prioritise a core cycling network, CyIPT focusses on what to build and when, in terms of prioritisation.

A schematic diagram was prepared for the original plan, which provides an opportunity to reflect on the extent to which we have delivered on the four components envisaged at the project’s inception (Figure 3.1):

  • Classification: We have automated the classification of segments and schemes using algorithms developed for the project.
  • Interventions: The type of interventions recommended by CyIPT for any particular road segment are derived from advice provided by a Highways England Interim Advice Note (Highways England 2016).
  • Evaluation: Benefit-cost ratios (BCRs) are estimated based on costs taken from a DfT-funded report on typical costs of cycle infrastructure (Transport for quality of life 2016).
  • Outputs: As planned the outputs are available in an online mapping tool available (although currently password-protected) at www.cyipt.bike.
Schematic diagram of CyIPT presented in the initial work plan.

Figure 3.1: Schematic diagram of CyIPT presented in the initial work plan.

The CyIPT tool delivers on the aim of providing an accessible evidence-base to identify cost-effective areas to intervene in a way that is scalable and consistent nationwide. For the first time, it combines geographic data on many factors related to cycling at the road level, including:

  • Existing infrastructure: seeing gaps in existing cycling networks can help decide how to join them up.
  • Possible schemes: CyIPT prevents ‘information overload’ and provides intuitive schemes by aggregating recommended infrastructure (another layer representing the same data on a segment-by-segment basis) into schemes that can be viewed as a layer in the interactive map, with associated estimated costs and benefits.
  • Road widths: this is a crucial consideration when deciding whether or not new cycleways can be provided on existing roads, or whether an alternative solution, such as road-space-reallocation will be needed.
  • Cycling potential: the existing level of cycling and future potential on the road network should be central when developing strategic cycling networks.
  • Traffic counts: an important consideration when deciding what to build is prevailing motor traffic. If speeds and volumes are low, protected cycleways are seldom necessary. If they are high, and contain many large vehicles, by contrast, physical protection is all-but-essential if any infrastructure is to be provided on the road in question. Traffic counts were taken from the DfT’s AADT dataset and assigned to the road network. This accounts for a large portion of the Strategic Road Network (SRN) but is limited on smaller roads.
  • Collisions: The level of danger to people cycling on the road network should be a major consideration when prioritising where to invest, and in what. A crash hotspot is likely to need remedial attention in terms of road speeds or junction design whereas relatively high crash rates along an entire road may indicate the need for a protected cycleway or an alternative route clearly signposted away from fast-moving traffic. CyIPT provides three collision layers: at the road segment, junction and individual crash level.

By visualising each of these layers (many of which have sub-layers and alternative options) interactively, planners can ensure that their decisions are based on a wide range evidence. The range of layers available means that documentation of the tool is vital, meaning that, although it was not written into the original specification, a draft (~30 page) Manual was written to accompany the CyIPT website. This is available at cyipt.bike/manual, and should be read as a document providing technical detail to accompany this relatively high-level report.


Department for Transport. 2016. “National Propensity to Cycle Tool Project: Full Report with Annexes.” Active Travel. Predicting the Demand for Cycling. Department for Transport. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/510268/national-propensity-to-cycle-full-report.pdf.

Lovelace, Robin, Anna Goodman, Rachel Aldred, Nikolai Berkoff, Ali Abbas, and James Woodcock. 2017. “The Propensity to Cycle Tool: An Open Source Online System for Sustainable Transport Planning.” Journal of Transport and Land Use 10 (1). doi:10.5198/jtlu.2016.862.

Highways England. 2016. “Interim Advice Note 195/16: Cycle Traffic and the Strategic Road Network.” Interim 195/16. Highways England. http://www.standardsforhighways.co.uk/ha/standards/ians/pdfs/ian195.pdf.

Transport for quality of life. 2016. “Typical Costs of Cycling Interventions: Interim Analysis of Cycle City Ambition Schemes.” Interim SO17265. Department for Transport.