Global Street Design Guide

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

Global Street Design Guide

Around the world, over 1.2 million people die on roads each year from traffic injuries, and between 20–50 million people are seriously injured. Bloomberg Philanthropies is dedicated to saving lives through interventions that are proven to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries. Since 2007, we’ve been working with cities and countries in low- and middle-income regions to adopt and implement road safety policies, promote public transportation systems, and design safer roads.

About three-quarters of the global population is expected to be living in cities by 2050. As they grow, cities must work to make their roads safer for all users, from motorcyclists to pedestrians. At the same time, climate change poses new urban planning challenges, requiring cities to build transportation networks that are both safer and more resilient.

The spaces, structures, and surfaces that shape our streets must be rethought, reimagined, and redesigned to function more  efficiently and effectively for the needs of more people. We must be creative about the infrastructure we already have, and improve the capability of urban streets to support a healthy, livable, and sustainable future for generations to come.

That is why we have created this Global Street Design Guide, which provides strategies to help cities reduce speeding, prioritize  sustainable mobility choices, and design safe streets for all road users. By taking bold action, cities can save lives and build a  stronger foundation to support their future growth.

Michael Bloomberg,
Founder, Bloomberg Philanthropies
Former Mayor of the City of New York


“The Global Street Design Guide focuses on the many roles that streets play in cities and the benefits that great street design can have on a city’s quality of life.”

Janette Sadik-Khan

For the last century, streets around the world have been built around automobiles. Wide lanes for traffic and little room for people  became the rules of the road in most corners of the globe, dividing cities, stifling economic growth, and creating dangerous congestion. Tired of waiting for regional or national authorities to right these wrongs, a new generation of planners, engineers,  urban designers, and city residents are working to take back their streets. Roads from Buenos Aires to Bangalore have become showcases for new designs that place people first and transform their roads into safe, attractive, and economically vibrant places.

Inspired by the work in 70 cities in 40 countries on six continents, this guide marks the next step toward changing the old road  hierarchy, with designs that save lives, prioritize people and transit, reflect diverse communities, and better serve everyone on the street. The real-world case studies in these pages are a new global blueprint for safer, higher performing streets and a permission slip for city leaders to innovate and translate these designs to their own roads.

With this guide, NACTO and the Global Designing Cities Initiative are building on design documents like New York City’s Street  Design Manual, and the Urban Street Design and Bikeway Design Guides, and supporting the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ traffic safety efforts worldwide. As advancing technology and global commerce have erased borders and created new connections, the  universal principles in these pages will help create a common language for world-class streets.

Janette Sadik-Khan,
Principal, Bloomberg Associates
Chair, Global Designing Cities Initiative
Former Commissioner of New York City
Department of Transportation

Adapted by Global Street Design Guide published by Island Press.

Prioritizing People in Street Design

Next Section —

Prioritizing People in Street Design