With 75% of the world’s population expected to be living in cities by the year 2050, urban streets will need to balance demands for increasing personal mobility and access to the city economy. Where the low-density, auto-centric development patterns of the 20th century have failed, dense cities with robust multimodal transportation networks are best suited to provide sustainable growth, equal economic opportunity, and a high quality of life. Walkable, cyclable, and transit-oriented neighborhoods are what today’s urban dwellers need and demand.
The capacity of urban streets must be increased in ways that support the urban context and ensure a high-quality public realm. This can be achieved by prioritizing sustainable modes of transportation through dedicated space, allowing high-efficiency modes like transit to leave more room for other street activities that support urban life.
As cities grow upward, inward, and outward to serve changing populations, it is critical to consider the many players and processes that shape streets. Our streets are integrally tied to other urban systems, and designing them well offers multiple benefits to cities and their residents.