Design Hour, or activity levels during an hour, is used to determine the appropriate street dimensions. The traditional practice of using a single peak hour volume and projected volume increases allows traffic volumes to dictate the construction of costly infrastructure, without determining how much traffic is desired on a street.
Rather than creating infrastructure to be used for just a few hours each day, consider the average activity levels of a street by analyzing multiple hours for a clearer picture of demand. Building unnecessary capacity may be expensive. The cost varies widely based upon land ownership, terrain, and prevalence of other variables.
By proactively setting the capacity for motorized vehicles, Design Hour can also be used to guide the amount of traffic a street will accommodate, and organize the street so that it can support a balance of many different users.
Base operational decisions on unbiased quantitative measures that consider overall community metrics and the many functions a street must serve, including safety, supporting local businesses, providing access to jobs and services, and environmental targets. See: Measuring and Evaluating Streets.
Expand the Design Hour analysis to include the various peak hours throughout the week for all users. Analysis might include a morning peak, midday peak, afternoon peak, and weekend peak hour. Study these peaks to obtain a more nuanced understanding of travel, resulting in a design better suited to the actual street usage.
Account for all street uses over 24 hours and 7 days. This includes rush hour commuting in all mobility modes, evening strolling, weekend markets, lunchtime dining, and commercial deliveries. Mapping these static, mobile, existing, and expected activities provides a temporal snapshot of the street that can be used in design.
Use person-trips, rather than vehicletrips, to determine capacity. Trip generation manuals that consider only vehicle trips, or rely on small samples from suburban locations, should be avoided.
Transportation demand management describes programs that seek to shift travel mode, typically away from single-occupancy vehicles. People are encouraged to take transit, walk, cycle, not make the trip, combine trips, or travel at different times of day. These programs are more cost-effective than capacity expansion. See: Operational and Management Strategies.