Global Street Design Guide

Download caret-down
Table of Contents
gdci-stacked-color copy
Table of Contents

Global Street Design Guide

A significant amount of traffic on urban streets is generated by the transportation and delivery of goods to local stores, factories, hotels, and other businesses. These vehicles are larger than regular cars and require dedicated space in order to load and unload their goods.

While the efficient, reliable movement of goods is critical for the functioning of a city, it must be carefully balanced with other uses and needs.

Freight vehicles often require larger operating and curb space. They may be channeled to designated truck routes and corridors or directed to remote freight distribution centers. Design travel lanes and intersections assuming large freight vehicles are infrequent users to minimize the impact on other street users.

Strategically locate access roads and truck routes so that the impact on local neighborhoods can be minimized. Encourage cleaner freight vehicles to reduce carbon emissions and provide buffers for noise and air quality alongside truck routes adjacent to residential areas.

Provide space for hand and cart movement in dense urban areas. Limit curb cuts and loading bays along corridors with heavy pedestrian flows and commercial activity. Work with local businesses and companies to understand specific needs while developing a citywide strategy.

Operating hours for freight activities and city services can be restricted to early mornings or late evenings to avoid conflict with daytime traffic and sustainable mobility modes.



Because of their mass, large vehicles and trucks speeds should be limited to 30 km/h in urban streets and never exceed 40 km/h. Urban streets should be designed to support a maximum of 40 km/h and turning radii that allow slow turns. See: Corner Radii.

Where small commercial vehicles and light trucks share the street with pedestrians, speeds should not exceed 10–15 km/h. See: Design Controls.


Vehicles for people delivering goods can range from large trucks and utility vehicles to hand carts and push carts for local distribution. City service vehicles vary drastically depending on context and include fire trucks, waste collection, and street cleaning vehicles. City streets should not be designed to accommodate large trucks on most streets. Where large trucks must be accommodated, design streets to allow access of multiple travel lanes to fit vehicle turning radii. Only cab-over trucks (flat nose) and low-cab trucks should be allowed in urban streets due to their increased visibility and safety.

Commercial Vehicles and Light Trucks

These trucks are generally used for carrying goods from ex-urbanized logistic centers to the city. They are bigger in scale compared to motorized personal vehicles but do not require wider corner radii or bigger lanes.

City Service Trucks and Emergency Vehicles

Dimensions of city services vehicles such as garbage trucks as well as emergency vehicles should be adapted to the local context and should be contained as much as possible.

Large Trucks in Designated Truck Routes

Large trucks can use the full intersection (invade the opposite lanes) while performing turns in signalized intersections on designated streets. That way, the curb radius can be kept as small as possible.

Adapted by Global Street Design Guide published by Island Press.

Freight Networks

Next Section —

Freight Networks