Bicycle Level of Traffic Stress

As part of our data-driven approach to reaching Vision Zero and making Seattle more bikeable for people of all ages and abilities (through our Bicycle Master Plan), we’ve developed a Bicycle Level of Traffic Stress (LTS) analysis for our road network.

What exactly is “Traffic Stress”?

“Traffic Stress” is defined as how comfortable a roadway feels for a person biking, based on interaction with other modes of travel (people walking or driving), traffic controls (stop signs, signals, etc), and the geographic features of the area. For the purposes of this analysis, we evaluated every road segment in the city based on the follow characteristics:

  • Roadway design
    • How are people on bikes separated from people driving and people walking?
    • Are there designs in place specifically for people biking?
    • Is this a route where bicycle travel is promoted by the Bicycle Master Plan?
  • Traffic controls
    • How predictable are conflict points for people biking?
    • How are traffic controls suited for people biking?
  • Geometric features
    • How is the quality of the pavement at the time of evaluation?
    • How approachable is the slope of the street?

We then ranked each road segment in the citywide network based on its level of traffic stress, where each 20% of road segment reflects an increasing category of traffic stress for bicycle riders. We plan to use this data to identify locations where we can invest to reduce stress for people biking (making them feel safer and more comfortable) or to optimize routing for future bicycle facilities!

Bicycle Level of Stress Map

Bicycle Level of Stress map


Greg Spotts, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 3800, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA, 98124-4996
Phone: (206) 684-7623

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The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is on a mission to deliver a transportation system that provides safe and affordable access to places and opportunities for everyone as we work to achieve our vision of Seattle as a thriving, equitable community powered by dependable transportation.