Many narrow, crowded streets around the world already operate informally as shared streets at busy times of the day or in congested areas. By removing the formal distinctions between spaces dedicated to pedestrians, cyclists, and motorized vehicles, the street is shared by everyone, with each user becoming increasingly aware and respectful of the others.
Formal shared street environments should be considered in places where pedestrian activity is high and vehicle volumes are low or discouraged. In cases where the cross section of a street is too narrow to allow for universally accessible sidewalks with moving vehicles in separate lanes, the street can be redesigned to allow for safe movement and a larger variety of activities.
Shared streets provide pedestrians the right-ofway. While designs vary based on local context and culture, curbs are removed and the materials and space allocation indicate that vehicles are guests.
In commercial areas, shared streets can significantly contribute to the public space network, adding vibrancy and activity with outdoor dining, public seating, artwork, and landscaping. In residential areas, shared streets become the extension of front yards, places to meet neighbors, and build communities. Shared treatments make streets safer for all users.