Bicycle network planning

Learn about the methods and tools used throughout Melbourne and regional Victoria that guide how bicycle routes are identified and how projects are prioritised for improving bicycle facilities along these routes.

Bicycle planning is driven by both Australian and Victorian strategies.

National Cycling Strategy

The National Cycling Strategy 2011-2016 (External link) (External link) provides a framework for all levels of government, the community and industry stakeholders, to encourage more people to get on their bicycles and start riding for a better life.

The Australian Bicycle Council (External link) coordinates the National Cycling Strategy and its website contains links to publications, standards/guides, research/results, policy and plans.

Victoria Cycling Strategy

The Victorian Cycling Strategy, Cycling into the Future 2013-2023 (External link) aims to grow and support cycling in Victoria, making it easier for more people to cycle and to make it safer for people who already ride.

The Department of Transport Planning and Local Infrastructure (External link) also provides information on cycling including guidance for providing bicycle facilities as part of transport projects. For additional information about cycling in Victoria, visit Bicycle Network (External link).

Bicycle networks

A series of bicycle networks, consisting of a range of existing and proposed bicycle routes, have been defined throughout Melbourne and regional Victoria to guide the planning, prioritisation and implementation of bicycle facilities.

The data for the Principal Bicycle Network (PBN), Metropolitan Trail Network (MTN) and Municipal Bicycle Network (MBN) is also available via the Victorian Government Data Directory (External link) in KML format. It can be downloaded and viewed in Google Earth.

Bike riders can check out the bicycle and walking route maps page, covering rail trails and maps related to particular municipalities.

Principal Bicycle Network (PBN) and Bicycle Priority Routes (BPR)

The PBN is a network of existing and proposed cycle routes identified to help people ride to major destinations around metropolitan Melbourne. It was first developed in 1994, but was recently reviewed to focus more on getting people into activity centres and to make more use of local roads and off-road paths. The current plan was released in 2012.

BPRs are mainly priority sections of the PBN. They identify those routes that should be elevated to a higher order of priority, mainly on the basis of potential for separation from motorised traffic. BPRs are identified on VicRoads’ SmartRoads Road Use Hierarchy (RUH) maps for each of Metropolitan Melbourne’s local government areas.

For more information download our fact sheet on the PBN and BPRs [PDF 245 Kb].

Strategic Cycling Corridors (SCCs)

SCCs are a recent addition to bicycle network planning in metropolitan Melbourne. Identification of SCCs is part of the initiative in Plan Melbourne to ‘Support Walking and Cycling in Central Melbourne’.

They are corridors developed to improve cycling to an around major activity centres in metropolitan Melbourne.  SCCs are a subset of the PBN.  They will typically be selected on the basis of providing links to a National Employment Cluster or a Major Activity Centre and are routes that cater for the highest, or potentially highest, cycling volumes.

Work is underway in identifying SCCs in the central subregion of metropolitan Melbourne (Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Port Philip, Stonnington and Yarra) and will commence shortly for the other metropolitan areas.

The SCCs will be prioritised on the basis of those corridors that achieve greatest benefits to cyclists and the whole community in order to identifying potential priorities for funding in the form of a targeted investment plan.

Plan Melbourne shows a subset of the SCCs for the expanded central city area.


Metropolitan Trail Network

The Metropolitan Trail Network (MTN) focuses on recreational bicycle and walking routes in metropolitan Melbourne, usually running beside rivers and creeks. The initial development of the MTN was set out in the Parks Victoria (External link) Strategy for Melbourne’s Open Space Network: Linking People and Spaces report 2002 [PDF 4.8 Mb]. Most of the network is made up of off-road shared paths (bike riders and pedestrians), but there are some short on-road sections to link up off-road paths.

As well as recreational cycling, sections of the MTN are popular with commuter bike riders, and provide a quiet environment for less experienced cyclists. The PBN includes those parts of the MTN with high levels of transport use. We are responsible for planning these, as well as all other paths on the MTN, although the provision and maintenance of the network lies with a range of land managers.

Municipal Bicycle Networks (MBN)

MBNs are networks of cycling routes in regional Victoria. The local council is the manager of each MBN and has the primary responsibility of its development.

Maps for the 36 cities and towns in regional Victoria with MBNs showing existing and proposed on-road and off-road bicycle routes are provided in pdf format below.

We intend to progressively expand the application of bicycle planning tools currently used in metropolitan Melbourne to cities, centres and towns in regional Victoria.

Rail trails

Rail Trails are multi-purpose recreational trails that are built along closed railway corridors. They exist in both Metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria. The main purpose of rail trails is to provide for recreational cyclists and other users such as horse riders and walkers.

The Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) (External link) has the primary responsibility for managing the crown land that the Rail Trails are on. Local committees and Councils are responsible for implementing bicycle facilities on Rail Trails.

Further information and maps showing rail trails can be found below.

Rail Trails - Melbourne Region (External link)
Rail Trails – Gippsland (External link)
Rail Trails – Northern Victoria (External link)
Rail Trails – Western Victoria (External link)

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