Many factors contribute to a bicyclist's comfort and perceived safety when bicycling. Riding on a low-speed residential road with no bike lanes and very little traffic is a very different experience than bicycling in a bicycle lane with cars traveling past at 40 mph. This qualitative difference in bicycling experience can be measured using Bicycle Level of Traffic Stress (LTS). LTS measures various street characteristics to determine how stressful a street is for bicyclists. LTS methodology classifies roadway segments into one of four comfort categories, which are termed LTS 1 through LTS 4. These categories reflect the amount of stress that different types of bicyclists will tolerate.
LTS1: Most children feel comfortable bicycling.
LTS2: The mainstream adult population feels comfortable bicycling.
LTS3: Bicyclists who are considered “enthused and confident” but still prefer having their own dedicated space feel comfortable while bicycling.
LTS4: Only “strong and fearless” bicyclists feel comfortable while bicycling. These routes have high speed limits, multiple travel lanes, limited or non-existent bicycle lanes and signage, and large distances to cross at intersections.
Click here to see the VTA's Bicycle Level of Traffic Stress Map.