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Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares Manual


The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) published in 2010 Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach. This manual was created through a partnership between CNU and the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE). It acts as a how-to document that illustrates best practices for the creation and implementation of walkable, mixed-use streets. According to the CNU website, Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares has become a tool that transportation planners, public works departments, city leaders, and community members are using to design better streets, mitigate traffic, spur economic growth and act on public health concerns.

Both a technical and non-technical version of the manual are available at the CNU site.

Key Points

The version of the manual for public works directors, engineers, and technical experts illustrates how transportation guidelines can be applied to roadway improvement projects to make them more compatible with community objectives and context in urban areas. It outlines the planning and development process using context sensitive solutions, and addresses the thoroughfare design process as well as specific design criteria.

Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) means streets and roads should be designed in response to their surroundings — their “context.” Applying CSS principles helps address transportation problems while respecting and enhancing land development alongside the streets or roads. This is achieved by addressing issues and challenges through a process that involves a diversity of stakeholders working together to balance competing interests. Developing context sensitive solutions is based on a common set of tenets:

  • Balance safety, mobility, community, and environmental goals
  • Involve the public and stakeholders early and continuously
  • Use an interdisciplinary design team tailored to project needs
  • Address needs of all users
  • Apply flexibility inherent in design standards and guideline
  • Incorporate aesthetics as an integral part of good design

The version of the manual available for architects, community planners, and other non-technical professionals, consists of several downloadable PDF Fact Sheets that help make the case for following Context Sensitive Solutions for roadway design.

How to Use

This online resource can help local government officials and community planners better understand the thinking behind creating more walkable streets, roads, and thoroughfares, as well as some of the technical specifics required to accomplish the goal. It is very helpful that there are two versions of the manual available online, one for the non-technical planner and one for the technical practitioner of road planning, designing, and building.

View Web Site: Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares Manual

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