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Designing for Nonmotorists

Highway and Street Facilities: Designing for All Users

Presented at the FHWA Field Engineers Learning & Development Seminar
April 20, 2010, Dallas, Texas

Christopher Douwes, Trails and Enhancements Program Manager,
Federal Highway Administration

(Download Powerpoint Version / 6.8 MB)

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Photo of a group of people attending opening day and dedication of the Lake Mineral Wells State Park and Trailway in Texas.

Photo from the National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse
Mineral Wells to Weatherford Rail-Trail, Mineral Wells, TX.
Opening day and dedication of the Mineral Wells to Weatherford Rail Trail.
(Photo: Texas DOT).

Course Overview

Part 2: Highway and Street Facilities


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What's Wrong with these Pictures?

From www.pedbikeimages.org

Bus to the Airport
Photo of a bus stop sign and sidewalk that stops short or bus stop.
Transit Access
Photo of a bus stop covered by snow.
Photos from the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center
Left: Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Taken in 2006 by Laura Sandt
Right: Mammoth, California. Taken in 2006 by Dan Burden

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Complete Streets

What are complete streets?

  • Complete streets are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users.
  • Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities may move safely along and across a complete street.
  • Complete Streets Policy: Transportation agencies routinely design and operate the entire right of way to enable safe access for all users.

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Complete Streets

  • The primary goal of a transportation system is to safely and efficiently move people and goods.
  • Walking and bicycling are efficient transportation modes for most short trips.
  • Walking and bicycling provide transportation for children, elderly, people who cannot drive, and people who choose not to drive.
  • 124* jurisdictions have adopted policies or have made a written commitment to do so.

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Complete Streets

  • Improve safety.
  • Offer transportation choice.
  • Promote "livable" communities.
  • Allow transportation connectivity.
  • Reduce short distance motor vehicle trips:
    • Save fuel;
    • Reduce emissions;
    • Free up highway capacity for long distance trips.
  • Can reduce overall transportation cost.

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Is this a Complete Street?

Cartoon of pedestrian walkways cleared of snow and roadway covered in snow.
From Perils for Pedestrians: www.pedestrians.org/cartoon.htm
Reprinted with permission of the artist.

Posted on this website with permission of the artist.

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Is this a Complete Street?

Charlotte NC, from www.completestreets.org

Photo of a bicyclists on the side of a road.


Photo provided by the National Complete Streets Coalition: www.completestreets.org.
Photo from the City of Charlotte NC.

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Complete Streets

  • We don't need new standards.
  • The AASHTO Green Book already allows designs consistent with Complete Streets.
  • Complete Streets are consistent with Context Sensitive Solutions.
  • See Flexibility in Highway Design.
  • Consider all the users.

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Complete Streets: Connectivity

  • More direct routes for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit.
  • Shorter travel distances.
  • Reduced vehicle miles of travel.
  • Reduced traffic congestion on arterials and collectors.
  • Greater emergency vehicle access; reduced response times.
  • Easier maintenance.
  • Improved utility connections; more efficient trash pick up.
  • Virginia Secondary Street Acceptance Requirements: www.virginiadot.org/projects/ssar/default.asp

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Complete Streets: Connectivity

From Virginia DOT Secondary Street Acceptance Requirements
www.virginiadot.org/projects/ssar/default.asp

Cul-de-sac pattern

Any local trip requires drivers to use the
major highway to get to their destinations.

Graphic of planning document showing disconnected traffic access to neighborhood.

Interconnected pattern

With connections, trips would not need
to use the highway.

Graphic of planning document showing interconnected traffic access to neighborhood.

From Virginia Secondary Street Acceptance Requirements: www.virginiadot.org/projects/ssar/default.asp

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Complete Streets: Connectivity

From Virginia DOT Secondary Street Acceptance Requirements
www.virginiadot.org/projects/ssar/default.asp

Cul-de-sac pattern

What can be connected?

Aerial photo of neighborhood.

Interconnected pattern

Connectivity Index

Graphic of neighborhood.

From Virginia Secondary Street Acceptance Requirements: www.virginiadot.org/projects/ssar/default.asp

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Updated: 08/15/2014
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