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What is a Low Stress Bike Network?

Low Stress Bike Network or “Backbone Network” is a system of on-street and off-street bikeways on which people of all ages and experience levels can feel comfortable riding. A low stress bike network is also referred to as an “all ages and abilities” bicycle network.

A bicycle network is designated as “low stress” using the Level of Traffic Stress (LTS) methodology. This approach analyzes the comfort level experienced by the typical cyclist on a given roadway. The method uses an equation that takes into account roadway and bikeway characteristics that cause stress, such as number of travel lanes and vehicle speeds. The results generate scores for roadways that range from  LTS 1 (least stressful) to LTS 4 (most stressful). [1]

LTS is closely related to the Four Types of Cyclists theory. Under this theory, most people are interested in cycling, but are not currently doing so because of concerns with riding on stressful roadways. The development of low-stress bicycle networks is critical to broadening the appeal of bicycling, especially for the “Enthused and Confident” and “Interested but Concerned Cyclists,” segments of the population.

Public outreach so far suggests that these ideas resonate with people who ride bicycles, or who would consider doing so, in Redwood City. As part of the Citywide Transportation Plan, Redwood City is now considering opportunities to develop a Low Stress Bike Network by creating interconnected bicycle facilities with low-stress ratings (LTS 1 or LTS 2), and by addressing barriers with crossing and riding along major roadways. This includes introducing separated bikeways and bicycle boulevards in the City, two facility types that have been well received by “interested but concerned” cyclists in other cities.

[1] Methodology available here:

Community Outreach

Thank you for taking our survey and providing your valuable input on transportation in Redwood City. We had over 800 participants and over 2,000 responses. Check out our initial survey findings: