Global Street Design Guide

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Table of Contents

Global Street Design Guide

Travel Lanes

Travel lanes are often shared with other street users. Mixed-traffic lanes should not be wider than 3 m. When travel speeds are 30 km/h or lower, narrower lanes are preferable. On designated truck and bus routes, cities may choose to use wider lanes of up to 3.3 m.

Traffic Signals

Traffic control signals at intersections and mid-block crossings manage traffic flow by avoiding conflicts. They also increase traffic capacity. Signals are a critical tool and can be used to reduce speeds while improving flow when timed to low, urban speeds. See: Operational and Management Strategies.


Signage may indicate regulatory information such as speed limit, turn restrictions, or allowable access. Wayfinding signage provides information about upcoming destinations and street names. Signage should not be used as a substitute
for geometric design.

Surface and Pavement Markings

Surface markings are used to provide information on required driving behavior. Markings indicate lane divisions and speed limits, and provide direction arrows for through traffic and turning lanes. Use the same markings consistently to communicate quickly and intuitively. Use unique markings to call attention to special conditions.

Stop Bars

Stop bars, located where a stop sign or traffic signal is in effect, should be installed on all but the lowest-volume
streets. Marked lines are typically 20 cm or wider, placed at least 1.5 m back from the pedestrian crossing, indicating where to stop. The stop bar should be aligned with the stop sign at stop controlled intersections. Where trucks and buses are present, place stop bars at least 3 m from pedestrian crossings to maintain sightlines between large vehicles operators and pedestrians.


Typically provided on a pole or post at the edge of the curb, street lights that are grid-powered should be connected underground. When electricity supply is unreliable, off-grid solar power should be considered. Street lights may be programmed to work only at certain hours of the night, or they may activate automatically using photocells. Coordination with pedestrian-scale lighting is important to ensure a safe environment. See: Lighting Design Guidance.

On-Street Parking

On-street parking spaces are mostly curb-side spaces, unless separated by cycle lanes or service lanes, designated for automobile parking. They should not be wider than 2.5 m, though when shared with city services and freight vehicles,
width up to 3 m is acceptable. Curbside parking spaces need not be continuous and can be interspaced with facilities
such as parklets, planting, and cycle share stations.

Parking Meters

Parking meters are payment devices for on-street parking, typically located on the edge of the sidewalk, in the buffer zone. They may accept cash, credit cards, or mobile payments, and indicate the length of time authorized for parking. Multi-space parking meters are preferred to reduce sidewalk clutter.

Access Management

Access management strategies may range from policies to physical infrastructure that restrict vehicle access to specific areas of the city. Physical elements include movable or depressible bollards to restrict access at certain hours or for certain vehicles. Regulated passes and reading machines can be installed for residents or special users in
particular contexts.


Bollards restrict access to certain areas of a street by providing a physical barrier. Often vertical posts, they can be designed in conjunction with planters, lighting, seating, and other street furniture. Use flexible bollards to restrict access as an interim solution and retractable bollards to allow access to car-restricted neighborhoods for authorized vehicles such as emergency vehicles or residents.

Traffic Calming Strategies

Traffic speeds should be reduced by using a variety of calming techniques that physically alter the roadway. Typical strategies include changing the geometry of the street by implementing pinch-points, chicanes, or speed tables; or changing how people perceive and respond to a street by adding street trees and minimizing building setbacks.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

On-street electric charging stations adjacent to parking spaces provide a boost to both private and car-share electric vehicles. These parking spaces should be reserved for electric vehicles and marked accordingly.

Accessible Parking Spaces

Accessible parking spaces should be dispersed through areas where on-street parking is provided. Particularly important in commercial districts and near civic facilities, these spaces should provide clear access to pedestrian curb ramps and sidewalk clear paths. Clear signage and markings should indicate no parking for drivers without permits. These parking spaces should be located as close as possible to the entrances of public and private facilities.

Curb Cuts

Curb cuts for vehicles provide a break in the curb in order to allow access into a driveway. These should be designed
to minimize conflicts with pedestrian and cycle lanes and maintain a continuous walking path. Curb cuts limit the number of street trees that can be planted, restrict opportunities for active and engaging ground floors, and are often prohibited or restricted through minimum spacing and maximum width regulation.

Traffic Enforcement Cameras

Also known as road safety cameras, these can be mounted beside or over a roadbed to assist in detecting violations. They are often used for automatic ticketing of drivers who speed, run red lights, travel in bus-only lanes, or for charging entrance to restricted vehicle areas through number plate recognition systems.

Adapted by Global Street Design Guide published by Island Press.

Travel Lanes

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Travel Lanes