Making non-motorised modes of transport viable and convenient requires rebalancing street space so that it caters to all modes transport. The physical design of streets and the provision of sidewalks, crossings, and other walking infrastructure is crucial to creating a high-quality walking environment. Accommodating NMT involves two basic techniques:
- Systematic traffic calming on smaller streets to reduce motor vehicle speeds and provide safe places for the mixing of pedestrians and other modes (shared lanes); and,
- Pedestrian and cycle infrastructure that is physically separated from motor vehicle traffic on larger streets, paired with traffic calming or traffic control to facilitate safe crossings. Pedestrian footpaths should provide clear space for walking, with other elements positioned in a strategic manner. These elements include paving, landscape planting, street lighting, street furniture, public facilities, underground utility access points, and other sidewalk amenities. There are also features that make streets more accessible, including curb ramps, tactile paving, and accessible traffic signs. Similarly, dedicated cycle tracks should be provided, separate from the mixed traffic carriageway. Large streets require signalisation or traffic calming at crossings and intersections to enable pedestrians and cyclists to cross the street safely.
- Safe street design also aims to encourage moderate vehicle speeds. Street designs that reduce motor vehicle speeds can significantly improve pedestrian safety since the likelihood of pedestrian death in a traffic collision increases dramatically when motor vehicle speeds rise above 30 km/h. A pedestrian has a 90 per cent chance of surviving being hit by a car travelling less than 30 km/h, but only a 50 per cent chance of surviving impacts at 45 km/h. A high-quality NMT environment recognises city streets not just as spaces for the movement of vehicles but also as inter-connected spaces where people walk, talk, cycle, shop and perform the multitude of functions that are critical to the health of cities. Streets are the most valuable assets in any city and maximising their potential requires a “complete” approach to street planning and design. This can be achieved by applying a set of well-defined principles and standards that target street design, building design, and network design.
For more details on street design, download the ITDP Streets for Walking and Cycling Guidebook.