Sidewalk design diagram | Portland, OR
Good transportation infrastructure design affects the safety, accessibility, and comfort of people using all modes of travel. Planners and designers can use design guidelines and standards to ensure transportation infrastructure is appropriate to the adjacent land use context, promote accessibility for all modes, improve aesthetic quality of neighborhoods, and create opportunities for environmental protection and conservation. Guidelines and standards can also create consistency in infrastructure and signage which help travelers navigate through neighborhoods.
Planners and designers should consider the existing and potential uses of streets, and the surrounding areas to ensure the transportation system meets the needs of all users and appropriately relates to adjacent land uses.
Access Management diagram | VTrans
State and local agencies can improve traffic flow and safety by controlling access to properties along major roadways. Access management principles include restricting uncontrolled driveway access onto major arterials, restricting left turns, providing internal connectivity among properties, and providing adequate length on connecting streets to avoid traffic conflicts. Different levels of access management can be applied based on street classifications and/or area land use designations, to ensure that the principles applied are both consistent with the function of the transportation facility and respect the character of the land uses and neighborhood served.
Martin County Roadway Design Ordinance
Martin County, FL
Martin County, Florida's Roadway Design Ordinance (no. 561) includes a section on access management addressing the access classification of the roadway and related intersection spacing standards, corner clearance, access among properties, driveway spacing and design, and overlay zones. The ordinance also includes sections on mobility and connectivity, with the intent of discouraging the use of local streets for cut-through traffic while maintaining the overall connectivity of the roadway system for vehicle traffic, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
Vermont Access Management Program Guidelines
VTrans (Vermont DOT)
The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) first published Access Management Program Guidelines in 1999. In 2004 and 2005, VTrans updated these guidelines, undertook a significant outreach program, and developed a comprehensive web site; as a result, the agency notes significant interest from developers, consultants, and municipalities. The guidelines establish a six-level access classification system and associated standards in order to ensure consistency in the access permitting process for the State Highway System. Standards cover criteria for granting direct access and for allowing right and left turns, spacing of access points that are or may become signalized, and separation of opposing traffic movements. Criteria for granting access permits include consistency with state land use goals, state agency plans, and regional and local land use plans.
Complete Street | Pednet.org
Complete Streets (also known as Routine Accommodation) is an approach to transportation planning and design that considers all transportation users (bicyclists, pedestrians, transit vehicles, motor vehicles, etc.) in every stage of project development. Rather than a design prescription or, Complete Streets policies change practice. They direct planners and engineers to consider all anticipated users of the right-of-way during every day decision-making. Complete Streets are closely connect with Context Sensitive Design/Solutions (see the Context Sensitive Design/Solutions.
To date, more than 25 states (and Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia) and over 600 regional and local jurisdictions have adopted Complete Streets policies. In many cases, public health organizations and departments supported these policies, which can improve the health and safety of a community by encouraging active transportation, reducing emissions from automobile traffic, and reducing injuries and fatalities from collisions.
Louisiana Complete Streets Policy
Louisiana Department of Transportation
In 2010, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LaDOTD) adopted a Complete Streets policy .The policy requires consideration of all modal users when developing projects using state or Federal funding, with the exception of interstate highways. Specifically, the policy goal is to "create a comprehensive, integrated, connected transportation network for Louisiana that balances access, mobility, health and safety needs of motorists, transit users, bicyclists, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities, which includes users of wheelchairs and mobility aides." The policy was developed as a safety measure in response to a fatal collision between a cyclist and an automobile. LA42, a street widening project in development since the passage of the policy, will include a sidewalk along one side of the street, and a multi-use path along the other side of the street to ensure non-motorized access.
San Francisco Area Complete Streets Checklist
Metropolitan Planning Commission (San Francisco, CA MPO)
In 2006, The Metropolitan Planning Commission (MTC) developed a Complete Streets Checklist to promote the routine accommodation of nonmotorized travelers in project planning and design. Partner agencies are required to complete this checklist, and submit to local Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committees prior to submitting projects to MTC for funding. The checklist is a one page online form, which clearly identifies the complete streets amenities of each proposed project. It is meant to be used in the early stages of project development.
Burdick Street, Kalamazoo, MI | Google Maps
Kalamazoo Pedestrian Mall Conversion to Complete Street
Kalamazoo City / Downtown Kalamazoo Incorporated
Pedestrian-only streets can foster safe and enjoyable transportation options; however, they are not appropriate in all contexts. Kalamazoo's Burdick Street in downtown Kalamazoo was developed as a pedestrian-only street in 1959. In the 1990s, pedestrian traffic in the area declined, and local businesses began to suffer. The downtown development agency, Downtown Kalamazoo Incorporated, worked with the City of Kalamazoo to develop a plan to convert two blocks of the pedestrian-only street to a one-way street with parking, landscaping, and pedestrian amenities. The speed limit on these blocks is 15 miles per hour, to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for pedestrians. For streets with low levels of activity, introducing automobile traffic can sometimes improve the perception of safety for pedestrians and bolster overall use of the street. Since the project was completed in 1998, the area has been redeveloped, with 90 percent occupancy in retail establishments, and 98 percent occupancy in residential buildings.
Intersection with bulb-out | Claremont CA
Context Sensitive Design and Context Sensitive Solutions (CSD/CSS) are planning and stakeholder engagement approaches for transportation projects and facility design. CSD/CSS emphasizes that a transportation facility should fit its setting and preserve and enhance scenic, aesthetic, historic, community, and environmental resources, ensuring that they are compatible with a particular community land use pattern and urban or rural environment. CSD/CSS offers many strategies and tools for understanding a street or road's context holistically, which can assist in implementing Complete Streets policies (see the Complete Streets/Routine Accommodation section above).
Minnesota Context Sensitive Design Policy and Workshop
The Minnesota DOT (MnDOT) has adopted a policy on context sensitive design (CSD) and has sponsored workshops for engineers, managers, planners, landscape architects and other local government professionals who are involved in transportation project development. The Workshop Participant Manual includes case studies of CSD.
New Jersey Context Sensitive Design Policy
New Jersey DOT
The New Jersey DOT (NJDOT) uses context sensitive design (CSD) principles in many NJDOT policies and procedures associated with the project delivery process, and in the long range transportation plan, Transportation Choices 2030. CSD principles are featured in the environmental and linking land use to transportation sections.
California Context Sensitive Solutions Program
Caltrans (California DOT)
In 2001, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) implemented an official Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) Director's Policy. Since then, Caltrans has consistently promoted the use of partnerships in transportation decision-making through a wide range of activities. This includes a CSS Implementation Plan, a permanent module at the ongoing Division of Design's Project Engineer week-long Academy and ongoing CSS training and workshop deliveries to state and local agency partner staff statewide. Other CSS implementation activities have included:
Vermont State Highway Design Standards
In 1997, the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) adopted a set of revised State highway design standards. The standards were designed to be flexible, and to allow and encourage creative methods to minimize impacts on scenic, historic, archaeological, environmental and other important resources. Contextual and situational issues for each project are identified early in the design process, before geometric values are selected. VTrans applies the flexibility in its standards to reduce the community impacts of improvements to National Highway System roads through small towns. A key to Vermont's success in implementing these standards was their adoption into law by the State.
The FHWA Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) website is a good starting point for general CSS information.
Context Sensitive Solutions in Designing Major Urban Thoroughfares for Walkable Communities - an Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Proposed Recommended Practice developed in association with the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) to advance the successful use of context sensitive solutions (CSS) in the planning and design of major urban thoroughfares for walkable communities.
Raritan Center | Google Maps
Freight transportation has specific design needs, such as truck turning radii and areas for loading and unloading. To accommodate goods movement, policymakers can implement design guidelines and delivery ordinances to ensure freight traffic operates in harmony with other urban traffic and activities. Intermodal freight centers (sometimes called freight villages) are another solution to manage goods movement. These centers are a mechanism for coordinating complimentary uses related to freight, which may otherwise be in conflict with other uses, and they contain distribution centers and support amenities such as hotels, office space and restaurants.
Intermodal freight centers can be developed in undeveloped brownfields or existing industrial areas, helping reduce truck vehicle miles traveled due to the close geographic proximity of different supply chain components (intermodal terminals, distribution centers, etc.). They can accommodate multi-modal freight integration by linking distribution and shipping centers to airports, ferry terminals, and highways. By consolidating freight-related activities, impacts to residential or commercial areas can be minimized. These centers are credited with capturing the economic potential of freight traffic and create employment opportunities and "spin-off" economic activity generated by the supporting land uses, such as banks and restaurants.
Boston Restricted Downtown Core Delivery Hours
The City of Boston offers an example of a management policy that can reduce congestion and limit competition between trucks and automobiles for curb space. Boston prohibits commercial vehicles from using certain downtown streets within the Downtown Crossing area (a high business and commercial area) between 11:00am and 6:00pm. This helps to reduce congestion during the evening peak period of 3:00pm-6:00pm. Exceptions are made for trucks with time-sensitive cargoes, including trucks from Brinks, FedEx, and the U.S. Postal Service.
Chicago Area Intermodal Centers
Elwood / Joliet, IL
CenterPoint Intermodal Centers in Joliet and Elwood, IL, include warehouses, distribution centers, and container storage, partially developed on a brownfield site. When the centers were developed, CenterPoint donated several areas around the borders of the center to the U.S. Forest Service and local communities to serve as a buffer from the freight traffic in the site. The centers are near major highways leading to Chicago and intersect with the Union Pacific and BNSF railroads. CenterPoint worked closely with the local communities to ensure the intermodal centers would be acceptable with nearby land uses.
Contact: CenterPoint Properties (630) 586-8000.
Raritan Center Integrated Freight Village
Raritan Center, NJ, is an example of an industrial complex that has evolved into a Community Integrated Freight Village (CIFV) - a freight hub with an emphasis on community-oriented commercial activities. Trucks have convenient access to Interstate 95, a nationally-important truck corridor, helping to reduce truck volumes on most roadways near the site. Rail traffic in Raritan Center has grown dramatically over the past several decades, from 700 cars per year in 1964, when the center was established, to about 5,000 cars per year in 2007. There are several rail and marine-based initiatives underway to continue growth, including a plan to rehabilitate an existing waterfront terminal to create "Port Raritan." The Port Raritan project would include an ethanol barge/ship-to-rail transfer facility, thus expanding the multimodal opportunities and the center's economic benefits to the area. The complex has a variety of commercial facilities, such as retail shops, restaurants, cafes, and non-freight office buildings used by local businesses. The variety of activities help make Raritan Center a valuable economic contributor to adjacent towns, while helping to buffer the industrial center from residential areas, thereby mitigating the impact of industry and shipping on residents.
Context sensitive DOT design Guideline for residential streets | North Carolina DOT
Guidelines or standards developed for local streets can promote safe, walkable, human-scaled communities by specifying widths, street geometry and connectivity, utility placement, and provision of bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Through the Regional Transportation Plan, MPOs can work with member jurisdictions and State agencies to establish road network and facility design policies that support regional and local land use objectives, and to fund projects consistent with these design policies.
Denver Street Classification System
City of Denver, CO
In the City of Denver, a street classification system considers multiple modes and surrounding land uses. Multimodal streets are "zoned" as residential streets, main streets, mixed-use streets, commercial streets, industrial streets, landmark streets, and one-way couplets. For more information, see FHWA's case study on Denver, Colorado's Street Classification System.
Charlotte Urban Street Design Guidelines
City of Charlotte, NC
The Charlotte Department of Transportation has revised its Urban Street Design Guidelines to support new development and redevelopment goals for the city. The guidelines apply to new construction or reconstruction of major streets as well as local streets (including streets in new subdivisions). They are designed to better match the transportation network to the land uses that lie along the network. Major street typologies include Main Street, Avenue, Boulevard, and Parkway, reflecting various levels of automobile versus pedestrian design priority. The guidelines allow the city to design streets and promote street connectivity appropriate to different types of neighborhoods, including traditional downtowns, transit-oriented developments, urban residential, and mixed-use, and suburban areas. The guidelines are already being applied in locations such as existing and proposed transit stations along the South Corridor light rail corridor.
Kentucky Street Connectivity Zoning and Subdivision Model Ordinance
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
In 2009, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet developed a Street Connectivity Zoning and Subdivision Model Ordinance to help municipalities and Area Development Districts (regional planning organizations) increase street connectivity in new subdivisions or in redevelopment areas. Subdivisions and redevelopments in Kentucky built with limited street connectivity were increasing the average daily trips on Kentucky highways and reducing the ability of residents to make short trips easily by car, walking, or biking. The cabinet has held meetings with Area Development Districts, the FHWA Division office, and local government planners to raise awareness of the benefits of street connectivity and promote the use of the model ordinance, which can be used directly as written, or tailored to fit the unique needs of a community. Since its development, many local governments have expressed interest in the ordinance. The model ordinance is available on the Kentucky Congestion Toolkit, along with other congestion management tools.
Fort Collins Street Pattern and Connectivity Standards
Fort Collins, CO
Zoning ordinances in Fort Collins, Colorado require that the street configuration associated with each parcel within a new development contribute to connectivity with the rest of the neighborhood and surrounding area. These street pattern and connectivity standards limit the maximum space between connector streets to 660 feet, requiring that local streets connect with arterials at least every ¼ mile, requiring multiple non-arterial access points to the development, and prohibiting the development of gated entryways. This promotes shorter trip making and nonmotorized trips in particular. Exceptions to these regulations may be made in the case of existing development and geographical features, where alternative designs that achieve similar connectivity levels are also considered.
North Carolina Traditional Neighborhood Development Street Design Guidelines
North Carolina DOT
In 2000, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) developed Traditional Neighborhood Development Street Design Guidelines. These guidelines are a tool for NCDOT staff for reviewing proposed Traditional Neighborhood Developments (TNDs). They supercede existing standards for subdivision roads for these types of developments. The guidelines include review criteria for NCDOT district engineers that address not only the design of the roadway itself, but also street network connectivity, pedestrian accommodations, interface with State highways, and the orientation of buildings.
Portland Safe and Healthy Streets Standards and Guidebooks
Metro (Portland area, OR MPO)
The Portland Metro guidebook, "Tools for designing safe and healthy streets," includes street spacing standards that support the Region 2040 Growth Concept. The standards rely on provision of a well-connected local street network to support regional growth and land use objectives of ensuring that centers and neighborhoods are walkable and pedestrian-friendly. The plan also includes design guidelines for arterial and collector streets to improve access and safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users. A hierarchy of streets is defined, including throughways, boulevards, streets, and roads, with different modal and functional service objectives, and typical cross-sections are provided for each type of street. Metro's Livable Streets Program has produced three handbooks that provide additional guidance for implementing these regional policies. All the handbooks include detailed illustrations and photographs of street designs that successfully integrate streets with nearby land uses to enhance safety and promote community livability. One handbook addresses innovative storm water management strategies.
Charlottesville Area Design Manual for Small Towns
Thomas Jefferson District Planning Commission (Charlottesville, VA RPC)
In 2004, the Thomas Jefferson District Planning Commission (TJPDC), with support from the Virginia DOT, published a the Design Manual for Small Towns: Transportation and Land Use Strategies for Preserving Small Town Character. The manual is intended for small towns and city neighborhoods coping with traffic problems such as congestion, pedestrian and bicycle safety, speeding traffic, through truck traffic, street noise, and inadequate parking. It is written in a problem-solution format and includes land use as well as engineering and design solutions.
Street with bike and pedestrian facilities | Reed Huegerich
State DOTs and MPOs provide technical assistance to county and city governments to develop and implement pedestrian and bicycle facility improvement plans. This assistance can include guidelines, strategies, or primers on land use and site design to support pedestrian, bicycle, and transit access, especially in denser urban environments. In 2010, the USDOT signed a Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation Regulations and Recommendations, which notes that all transportation agencies have the responsibility to improve conditions and opportunities for walking and bicycling and to integrate walking and bicycling into their transportation systems.
Chicago Bike Lane Design Guide
City of Chicago, IL
The City of Chicago's Bike Lane Design Guide describes design guidelines for bicycle lanes and pavement markings appropriate for different types of streets and neighborhood contexts. The city is working to apply these design guidelines on streets throughout the city as part of the implementation of its overall bicycle program.
Florida Walkable Communities Guidebook
Florida DOT's publication, "Walkable Communities: Twelve Steps for an Effective Program" summarizes key planning, zoning, engineering, and development strategies that can make communities more walkable. The document addresses walkway networks, pedestrian crossings, access management, auto- and parking-restricted zones, and walkable scale land use planning.
Washington State Pedestrian Facilities Guidebook
Washington State DOT
The Washington State DOT (WSDOT) developed a Pedestrian Facilities Guidebook that provides guidance for State and local staff on designing facilities for pedestrians. The guidebook includes a chapter on site design to support pedestrian travel.
Wilmington Area Mobility Friendly Street Design Standards
Wilmington Area Planning Council (Wilmington, DE area, MPO)
The Wilmington Area Planning Council (WILMAPCO) helps local agencies make changes to comprehensive plans to include "mobility-friendly street design standards" as an option for developers in new development. Such standards promote greater use of transportation facilities and service by bicyclists and pedestrians. They include, but are not limited to, the addition of sidewalks, and landscaped areas, narrower pavement widths, and requirements for greater street connectivity. Alternative design standards have been adopted in Cecil County, Middletown, and Chesapeake City.
Configuration Post-Road Diet | FHWA
A road diet is a low-cost strategy to improve the efficiency of an existing road or street and improve bicycle and pedestrian access, or to update the design of a road which over time has become inconsistent with local travel needs. Common road diets reduce four lanes of traffic to three lanes of traffic, often adding bicycle lanes or median crossings. The three lanes of traffic include one lane in each direction, and a central lane for turning. Planners can use road markings or medians as a traffic calming device and to keep automobiles out of the middle lane until they approach an intersection. After a road diet, travel speeds can be reduced by about 5-10 miles per hour, and crash rates can be reduced by 10-35 percent.
St. Paul Road Diet with Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements
City of St. Paul, MN
In 2010, the City of St. Paul reconfigured the 4-lane Como Avenue to a 3-lane street with bike lanes. The city reduced the travel and parking lane widths from 15' and 8' unmarked respectively to 10' travel lanes and 7' parking lanes to include 5' bike lanes. The project included several curb extensions, and pedestrian countdown timers at four signalized intersections, and cost $50,000 to implement. Since the completion of the project, bicycling activity has increased by 76 percent. The city is continuing to monitor additional travel behavior changes to the street.
Contact: Transit for Livable Communities|Bike Walk Twin Cities (651) 789-1404.
Stoneway Road Diet
City of Seattle Department of Transportation
As of 2010, Seattle DOT (SDOT) has implemented 24 road diets identified in the 2007 Bike and Pedestrian Plan. In 2010, the City published a report documenting the results of a road diet: Stone Way North, between 34th and 50th streets. The street, located in a mixed use neighborhood, with several local schools, saw a reduction in speed, collisions (including an 80 percent reduction in pedestrian collisions), and an increase in bicycle traffic. Traffic on parallel streets did not increase and peak hour capacity was maintained, suggesting that local traffic was not simply diverted to nearby streets.
Contact: SDOT (206) 684- 7623.
Riverfront Parkway Reconstruction | FHWA
When a State highway also serves as the main street of a traditional downtown, State agency design requirements or needs related to through traffic movement may conflict with local economic development objectives that require calming traffic and creating a more pedestrian-friendly environment. Rather than expanding capacity on downtown arterials, State and local agencies have worked to identify alternative through routes for traffic, and in some cases have transferred or swapped jurisdiction to allow both local and State objectives to be achieved.
Montrose Main Street and San Juan Avenue Road Swap
City of Montrose and Colorado DOT
In 2010, the City of Montrose, CO, and the Colorado DOT (CDOT) completed a jurisdictional swap of Main Street and San Juan Avenue. Main Street (U.S. 50), formerly owned by CDOT runs through the center of downtown Montrose, and San Juan Avenue runs around the perimeter of the city. The move will realign U.S. 50 from Main Street to San Juan Avenue. The move allows Montrose to manage any redevelopment of Main Street, including improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as other street amenities, which are easier for a municipality to manage than a State DOT. CDOT will be able to more effectively maintain San Juan Avenue, especially during the winter months, when snowplowing is necessary.
Beacon Falls Transfer from State to Local Ownership to Improve Downtown Streetscape
City of Beacon Falls and Connecticut DOT
As a key component in a downtown redevelopment plan, the Town of Beacon Falls, Connecticut is taking ownership of its Main Street from the Connecticut DOT (ConnDOT). The transfer of ownership will allow the town to make improvements that the State cannot, such as to install park benches and trees along the right-of-way, in conjunction with the reconstruction and narrowing Main Street from four lanes to two lanes. This reduction in the number of lanes is possible because a freeway bypass of the town was completed in 1983, greatly reducing traffic through the town.
Delray Beach Downtown Bypass System
City of Delray Beach and Florida DOT
The City of Delray Beach has demonstrated its commitment to revitalization by simultaneously slowing traffic in key corridors and restoring aging and abandoned buildings within the heart of its downtown. In the early 1980s, the Florida DOT (FDOT) proposed the creation of a hurricane evacuation route on Atlantic Avenue, which would have resulted in a major highway running through the downtown. Delray Beach planning staff worked with FDOT to find an alternative to FDOT's proposal, and the city agreed to create a downtown bypass system by using two local streets that run parallel to Atlantic Avenue. The city also agreed to assume all maintenance responsibilities for Atlantic Avenue. Under the control of the city, the six-block stretch of Atlantic Avenue has been transformed into a pedestrian-friendly corridor lined with vibrant outdoor cafes, shops, and other smaller-scale businesses. See: FHWA Land Use and Transportation Planning Coordination Domestic Scan Tour II, November 3-7, 2003, (PDF, 276KB).
Chattanooga Alternative State Highway Route
City of Chattanooga and Tennessee DOT
In the mid 1980s, the City of Chattanooga made a commitment to reconnect its downtown to the Tennessee River as the keystone of its revitalization efforts. A crucial element of the city's plans has been the reconfiguration of the 7.2 mile, four-lane, limited-access Riverfront Parkway that separates downtown from the river. The parkway is being reduced from four lanes to two lanes to slow traffic, making it more pedestrian friendly and increasing accessibility to the waterfront. The city worked with the Tennessee DOT to identify an alternate State route that bypasses downtown Chattanooga and connects to I-70, and can be used by freight carriers and other through traffic. In 2004, the Riverfront Parkway alignment and narrowing was complete, with new intersections, two lanes of travel, on-street parking, new attractive sidewalks, newly planted oak trees and state-of-the art lighting along the corridor. See: FHWA Land Use and Transportation Planning Coordination Domestic Scan Tour II, November 3-7, 2003, (PDF, 276KB).
Contact: City of Chattanooga Public Works (423) 643-5800.