Global Street Design Guide

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Table of Contents

Global Street Design Guide


Ongoing street maintenance can greatly increase the usable lifespan of infrastructure. Proactively maintain a street to avoid chronic issues developing to the point of major disrepair.

Maintain a street with regular street cleaning and sweeping, permanent and semi-permanent repair of cracked surfaces and potholes in sidewalks and roadbeds, resurfacing, replacement of damaged street elements, and repair of utilities.

Ensure ongoing maintenance costs are accurately reflected in the initial project costs. Learn from past experiences and communicate with agencies from other cities to inform material choices and good maintenance practices.

Many places will find proper maintenance difficult due to lack of funds, equipment, or skilled labor, in addition to climate-related challenges. It is critical to identify which mix of resources can be used most effectively for the local context.

Good design makes maintenance easier. Consider the following strategies when planning for street maintenance.


Prevention is a fundamental aspect of street maintenance and management, and includes surveys, inspections, preventive maintenance, and utility management. Regular inspections and assessments can help in timely identification of elements in need of maintenance. Utility management refers to the maintenance of underground utilities in order to avoid damage to the street. Resurfacing and reconstruction decisions need to be taken into consideration to minimize recurring costs through extra maintenance. Understand the lifecycle of materials and elements and schedule timely maintenance and replacements accordingly.


Street Cleaning

Frequent cleaning keeps streets and public spaces in a safe and clean condition. This process places regular eyes on the street and helps to identify problems early on.

Local Stewardship

Engage local constituents. People take pride in their environment and providing an easily maintained street helps them take care of it. Local stewardship and ownership by means of daily maintenance like cleaning, watering trees, and unblocking gutters can go a long way in supporting more formal maintenance procedures.

Involvement of Stakeholders

Educate responsible parties such as local agencies, private stakeholders, and adjacent communities on the benefits of maintenance and their roles in shaping the streets.

Maintenance Over Time

Complete short- and long-term lifecycle cost analysis to help build ongoing maintenance into other budgets. Street conditions and usage may change over time; designing streets to adapt to different uses is critical to long-term sustainability. This may also involve replacing or making temporary installations more permanent.

Adapted by Global Street Design Guide published by Island Press.

Institutionalizing Change

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Institutionalizing Change