A Citizen’s Guide to Better Streets - How to Engage Your Transportation Agency; AARP and the Project for Public Spaces (2008)


Streets account for as much as one-third of a community’s land; however, people have given up their rights to this public property under the current transportation policies and practices. To emphasize the importance of establishing safer streets and livable communities, AARP and the Project for Public Spaces created this guide to offer direction in establishing great streets and great communities.

Key Points

The guide provides advice for any citizen or organization seeking to improve the livability of their community by improving the design of streets in the community. Communities should partner with local officials to ensure that streets in the area will accommodate the needs of all residents, as well as, respect the character of the community.

Other report highlights include:

  1. Traffic calming is the second best alternative to redesigning streets to make community roads safer. “Traffic calming is a set of design features that slow traffic on local streets.”
  2. Placemaking is a planning approach that creates attractive places that people will want to visit in existing communities and new ones being developed.
  3. “Great places” are popular spots in a community with a good mix of people and activities that can be reached by foot and bike.
  4. It is important to rethink streets as public property that should be accessible by all community residents.

How to Use

The purpose of the Citizen’s Guide is to “show people who are passionate about creating better streets and walkable communities how they can influence highway professionals to address transportation in ways that place the most value on people and on places.” Planners, local officials, and community organizations can use this guide as a reference when planning street designs or redesigns that will enhance the mobility and livability of their communities. The guide offers sound advice and resources that will aid in the street design and planning process of a community.

View full report: A Citizen’s Guide to Better Streets - How to Engage Your Transportation Agency; AARP and the Project for Public Spaces – 2008  (PDF – 2.54MB)

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