Global Street Design Guide

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Table of Contents

Global Street Design Guide

Street networks must allow for an overlapping set of functions that serve multiple users, but not every street must be designed for large vehicles moving goods through the city. Facilitating reliable delivery and freight movement is essential to economic growth, but it must be accommodated while managing congestion and without sacrificing vibrant streets.

Creating a network to accommodate freight vehicles can increase efficiency while mitigating air and noise pollution. Design local streets for smaller vehicles and infrequent access by large trucks.

Safety is fundamental to determine how large vehicles should move through a street network. Streets should be designed for the most vulnerable user rather than the largest possible vehicle.


Access Routes
Large vehicles delivering goods typically feed in from access points to regional highways. Exposure to emissions and noise pollution from large volumes of truck traffic has been tied to public health challenges such as high asthma rates and increased stress levels. These routes should be planned to avoid residential neighborhoods and areas with heavy pedestrian and cycle volumes.

Distribution Networks
Many commercial locations in urban areas require frequent delivery and pick-up services. These areas present conflicts between high pedestrian volumes and large delivery trucks. Designate urban areas where goods may be transferred from large vehicles to smaller vehicles appropriate for the scale of city streets.

Limited Access
Limit access for commercial delivery to off-peak or nighttime hours, when streets are less busy. Avoid areas with heavy nighttime pedestrian activity.

Loading Zones
Provide dedicated loading bays to prevent delivery vehicles from blocking sidewalks or cycle lanes. Loading zones should be located on each block where deliveries will be made, and should be time- or permit-restricted.

Street Cleaning Vehicles
Maintaining clean streets is an important consideration in neighborhood health, pride, and stewardship. Regular street sweeping can also reduce pollutants and debris entering the watershed. Cleaning-truck dimensions are important, but vehicle sizes should not drive street design. Where separated cycle tracks cannot be serviced by standard vehicles, investing in smaller alternatives is highly recommended.

Fire Trucks and Emergency Vehicles
Large vehicles can access dedicated transit lanes in congested areas and perform turning radii that include multiple travel lanes. Where fire hydrants are provided, ensure appropriate clear space for access.

Oversized Vehicles
Access for oversized vehicles carrying large items can be provided on certain routes. Assume projection over multiple travel lanes, low street furniture, and medians given the infrequency of these types of loads.

Minimizing Conflict
Large vehicles present a safety challenge for vulnerable users such as cyclists and pedestrians, particularly seniors, children, and people with disabilities. Speeds of large vehicles should be kept below 30 km/h in urban areas. Limit turns in high pedestrian areas to minimize conflict, and avoid sharing cycle routes with truck routes where possible.

Freight Networks: Urban streets should provide safe, efficient, and environmentally sustainable networks for moving goods and providing city services. Chosen routes for truck access should minimize impacts to local residents. Street design should reduce conflicts between large vehicles. Restricted delivery times can minimize congestion and balance curb access for loading with other street uses.

Istanbul, Turkey. Limited access areas allow only some vehicles to enter certain zones.
São Paulo, Brazil. Shared streets with loading zones.
Stockholm, Sweden. Signage indicating loading zones and delivery hours.

Adapted by Global Street Design Guide published by Island Press.

Freight Toolbox

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Freight Toolbox