Street Planning: Design for Safer and Effective Street Planning

Street Planning

What is the need for safer streets?

Every year, many people become victims of crime, ranging from small and relatively insignificant incidents of theft or vandalism to the other extreme, murder. Those who are victims of criminal acts suffer, to greater or lesser degrees, and that victimization can profoundly impact a person’s mental and physical health, feelings of safety and security, and self-esteem. The damage done to victims of crime is often long-lasting.

Globally, 1.24 million people are killed in traffic crashes per annum. This number is predicted to stay rising as vehicle fleets grow, to become the 5th largest explanation for death by 2030. Most of those deaths happen in and around urban areas with a lack of street planning, disproportionately affecting vulnerable road users like pedestrians and bicyclists.

The percentage of the world’s residents living in cities is additionally on the increase, from 50 percent in 2007 to 70 percent in 2030, making it vital for cities to address the need for safer street planning. Traffic crashes also exact an economic toll. In some countries, similar to India, the profitable cost of business crashes equals 3 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product. 

Streets as Human Scale

street planning
Photo by TheCityFix

If we seem at streets as places, instead of through-ways, we see them because of the deeply human spaces that they’re. Places of commerce, work, recreation, and play, streets are one among the foremost fundamental public spaces with which we interact on a day-to-day basis. Safe streets for walking must be considered as a basic right, as long as, for many, walking is one among the primary skills acquired in childhood, and one among the last things abandoning of in adulthood.

Streets can encourage druggies to expect and accommodate real mortal geste. While these approaches are a launch to further aware thoroughfares, they bear adaptations to ensure the safety of people of all periods and capacities. 

Even in cities that aren’t prepared to eliminate traffic lights and signage, residents have caught on to the necessity to humanize streets through better design, championing fundamental changes like narrowed lanes for automobile traffic and expansion of motorcycle lane networks. Another safety measure that must be adopted is the use of guardrail

Common Causes of Traffic Fatalities

causes of traffic fatalities
Photo by ResearchGate

Many traffic injuries are directly related to design. Conditions become worse with the addition of speed. Common causes for traffic fatalities include the following:

Lack of Sidewalks

When the sidewalk is blocked, narrow, or non-existent, pedestrians are forced into the roadbed. This presents a specific threat when the road is meant for fast-moving vehicles, and not designed to accommodate all users safely.

Lack of Accessible Crossings

Pedestrians are in danger of being struck when accessible crossings aren’t provided or are inaccessible. Mid-block pedestrian crashes are quite common on large streets, where vehicle volumes and speeds are prioritized over sufficient opportunities for safe crossing.

Lack of Protection

Wide, multi-lane thoroughfares without retreat spaces expose climbers to moving vehicles for longer distances as they cross the road. This is particularly unsafe for seniors or those who move at a slower pace. 

Lack of Predictability

When signals and countdown clocks aren’t provided, or when signal cycle lengths end in an extended wait time, pedestrians are unable to securely judge the time they need and are more likely to cross unsafely.

Lack of Cycle Facilities

Cyclists are in danger of rear-end and overtaking crashes when mixing with automobiles at moderately high speeds, especially on multi-lane streets.

Poor Intersection Design

Large intersections are frequently designed for dangerous, high-speed turning. Lack of visibility results in poor navigation and assessment of different druggies’ movements.

Unsafe Boarding Areas

Conveyance riders are at threat when boarding and alighting vehicles in business, especially if no safe installations are handed. Higher-speed streets and poor intersection design near boarding areas increase chances for severe crashes and put vulnerable users in danger.

Surface Hazards

Obstacles and face declination, including potholes, can present hazards to climbers and cyclists. 

A New Paradigm for Safety

The new paradigm for safety is made on human limits. The physical body is fragile and may only survive certain forces. This means:

• Reducing exposure to the threat of conflict

• Reducing crash numbers and the severity of impact 

• Reducing speed

• Shaping streets that are safe for vulnerable users

Design Principles

Urban design that reduces the necessity for vehicle travel and fosters safer vehicle speeds

Develop mixed land uses, smaller blocks, ground-floor activities, and nearby public facilities that reduce overall exposure to traffic crashes from less vehicle travel.

Measures that reduce vehicle speeds and allow safer crossings

speed humps
Photo by World Resources Institute

Integrate proven measures like speed humps, chicanes, chokers, refuge islands, traffic circles, shared streets, and other street design applications which will reinforce safety.

Arterial corridors that ensure safer conditions for all road users

Photo by TheCityFix

Improve arterials and other main streets to make sure the security of pedestrians, cyclists, mass transit also as automobile drivers through reduced crossing distances, lead pedestrian intervals, refuge islands and medians, safe turning movements, and lane alignments. Consistent designs should create a forgiving road environment with the smallest amount surprises for the road user, especially for vulnerable users.

Special street planning for a well-connected network of bicycling infrastructure

Design accessible, bike-friendly thoroughfares that include defended bike lanes or cycle tracks and connected networks. Pay special attention to reducing conflicts at junctions between cyclists and turning vehicles. 

Safe pedestrian facilities and easy accessibilty to public spaces

Provide quality space for pedestrians through sidewalks and street space, also as access to parks, plazas, schools, and other key public spaces. These spaces should be designed to be attractive for pedestrians.

Safe access to mass transport corridors, stations, and stops

Photo by World Resource Institute

Improve access to transit, partially by avoiding physical barriers. Create a secure and secure interchange environment.

Examples of well-designed streets in the world

Buenos Aires, Argentina

La Feria de San Telmo in Buenos Aires, Argentina is exemplary of the types of informal uses that make up the stylish thoroughfares in the world. Packed with vendors, the road connects to Plaza Dorrego and to varied nearby historical sites.

San Antonio, Texas

In San Antonio, Texas, the Pearl Brewery has become the middle of a pedestrian-oriented plaza, built without curbs and with strong, walkable connections to surrounding neighborhoods. With ample space for food vendors, play elements sprinkled alongside walkways, and a nod to a historic acequia within the space, the Pearl Brewery has become a walkable destination for food and drink.

Union Square, New York City, USA

New york
Photo by

New York City’s Union Square is a unique destination, with a greenmarket, ample seating, and open spaces used for kick and performance, likewise. A 2010 street reconfiguration created new pedestrian-friendly plazas, giving thanks to criss-crossable streets surrounding the square. Integrating exertion around the edges of the space made it safer for cyclists and climbers, and created stronger liaison between the square and girding blocks.

Geneva, Switzerland

Cities like Geneva, Switzerland have got rid of traffic lights, replacing them with alternative signage like yield and stop signs. With these more intentional intersections, pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers are pushed toward more mindful interactions as they navigate the road .

Amsterdam, Netherlands

In Amsterdam, corners are suitable to guide thousands of cyclists and climbers through easily, indeed with limited signage. The erected terrain is designed for tone- regulation and prompts cyclists to watch out for one another, as in this crossroad captured by TJ Maguire, using body language and visual cues toco-navigate Amsterdam’s celebrated thoroughfares. 

Examples of ongoing projects for improving street design

Architect Ben Hamilton-Baillie

Architects like Ben Hamilton-Baillie have caught on to this challenge, and argue that over-regulated and over-designed thoroughfares are part of the problem. In advocating for getting rid of “standardized signs, lines, cameras, barriers, and invasive traffic engineering,” Hamilton-Baillie makes the case for removing some of the formality and signage baked into the modern street design. Rather, the inflow of business could be governed by social relations as “micro” as eye contact between motorists and climbers. By designing for further aware relations, Hamilton-Baillie’s work has converted thoroughfares in places like Poynton Village and Exhibition Road. 

Fortaleza, Brazil

In Fortaleza, Brazil, NACTO GDCI retrofitted road spaces with protections like parking buffers and machine stop interchanges to reduce business losses and repurposed under-employed parking areas as a rambler galleria. Perceived safety bettered nearly incontinently, with rates of rambler use and road play soaring. 

Hailey, Idaho

Meanwhile, Hailey, Idaho is experimenting with parklets that expand sidewalk space, and Seattle is introducing alternative approaches to erecting rambler crosswalks. By starting with the way our thoroughfares are designed, metropolises can reshape the everyday experience of climbers and cyclists.


Any strategy for humanizing streets must also specialize in enforcing the accountability of drivers. Activist groups like Transportation Alternatives have supported a crusade for speed cameras in New York City academy zones. Though political gridlock stymied the program at the state level, the campaign started an important dialogue round the proven success of speed cameras, and therefore they got to concentrate on the vulnerability of children on city streets. The conversation around about-face doesn’t stop there: Cities like Nashville are considering lowering default speed limits by 5 miles per hour — a big difference for vulnerable users.

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