Global Street Design Guide

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Table of Contents
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Table of Contents

Global Street Design Guide

Lane Narrowing

Narrow lanes reduce speeds and minimize crashes on city streets by way of reducing the right-of-way and making drivers wary of traffic and adjacent users. Use the additional space for pedestrian space, cycle facilities, or green infrastructure. See: Sidewalk Extensions and Speed Management.

Corner Radii

Narrowing corner radii reduce vehicle turning speeds as well as pedestrian crossing distances. Minimizing the size of a corner radius is critical to creating safe and compact intersections. See: Corner Radii.

Buildings and Trees

Buildings at the right-of-way with articulated facades and windows indicate that a street is in an urban environment, not a highway. See: Designing Streets for Place.

Gateway Treatments

Gateway treatments alert drivers that they are entering a slower area. This treatment may include signage, entry portals, speed tables, raised crossings, and curb extensions.


Pinchpoints narrow the roadway at a mid-block point. They can be combined with speed tables to create high-quality pedestrian crossings. They can also be used on low-volume, two-way streets to require facing motorists to yield to one another. See: Sidewalk Extensions.

Chicanes and Lane Shifts

Chicanes and lane shifts use alternating parking, curb extensions, or edge islands to form an S-shaped path of travel which lowers vehicle speeds. See: Sidewalk Extensions.

Medians and Refuge Islands

Raised center medians and pedestrian refuge islands can be used to reduce lane width for vehicles, even on relatively narrow streets. They can also be used to organize traffic at intersections or to block access at strategic points. See: Pedestrian Refuges.

Mini Roundabouts

Mini roundabouts are round islands at intersections that serve to both reduce speeds and organize traffic, routing vehicles around the island rather than directly across the intersection. See: Mini Roundabout.

Speed Humps

Speed humps are formed by raising sections of the road in a sinusoidal shape, typically 10–15 cm high and 4–6 m long. The dimensions can be tailored to match the target speed of the street. They are typically constructed of the same material as the roadway, but can be of different materials.

Speed Cushions

Speed cushions are similar to speed humps, but have wheel cut-out openings to allow large vehicles like buses to pass unaffected while reducing car speeds.

Speed Tables

Speed tables are similar to speed humps, but have a flat top, typically 6–9 m long. When speed tables are combined with pedestrian crossings, at the intersection or mid-block, they are called raised crossings. See: Pedestrian Crossings.

Pavement Materials and Appearance

Pavement appearance can be altered through unique treatments that add visual interest, such as colored or pattern-stamped asphalt, concrete, or concrete pavers, which can be used to make other traffic calming techniques more noticeable to drivers. Pedestrian crossings and intersections can be painted to highlight crossing areas.

Two-Way Streets

Two-way streets, especially those with narrower profiles, encourage motorists to be more cautious and wary of oncoming traffic. See: Central Two-Way Streets.

Signal Progression

Signals timed to cycle- and transitfriendly speeds can reduce motorists’ incentive to speed and can create lower and safer speeds along a corridor. See: Speed Management and Signs and Signals.


Diverters and other volume management strategies, such as restricted movement and restricted access strategies, help in reducing motor vehicle volumes and speeds. Reduced traffic volumes significantly impact cyclist comfort. See: Volume and Access Management.

Shared Streets

By removing the physical distinctions between pedestrian, cycle, and vehicular spaces, shared street treatments force all users to share the street, increasing awareness and reducing motor vehicle speeds. See: Shared Streets.

Adapted by Global Street Design Guide published by Island Press.