Global Street Design Guide

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Table of Contents
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Table of Contents

Global Street Design Guide

Lighting and Technology

Lighting can improve quality of life by creating inviting, safe, and lively streets. When designed well, lighting can reduce energy consumption, minimize light pollution, and add to the sense of place and character of a street.

Technology can play a key role in the operation and management of a street , but it should not come at the expense of good geometric design. New technologies can help reduce and declutter certain street furniture, organize and combine the functions of physical elements, and rethink outdated elements.


Evenly illuminate streets to give pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers better nighttime vision and improved perception of safety and comfort. Provide lighting along all public rights-of-way, especially in conflict areas such as intersections, pedestrian crossings, and cycle crossings; pedestrian facilities such as sidewalks, plazas, and underpasses; transit facilities such as bus stops and transit hubs; and narrow streets such aslaneways and alleys.

Wayfinding and Signage

Enhance user experience through navigation systems and signage. Interactive wayfinding technologies and real-time transit information systems increase ease of use and can be programmed to be universally accessible. Use signage for speed limits, parking zones, and other operational strategies to help communicate regulations. Distribute these signs and navigation facilities across the multiple planes of a street to ensure legibility for all street users.

Sensors and Signals

Sensor-activated lighting can help prevent energy loss and create safer spaces for pedestrians at night. Adopt signal detection and actuated signals where appropriate to improve user experience, energy efficiency, and safety. Multi-user signal coordination can help street networks function smoothly and adapt to daily needs during peak hours and other scenarios. See: Signs and Signals.

Enforcement and Security

Install devices for surveillance and monitoring of streets to improve automobile vigilance and the perception of safety. Security cameras installed by public agencies or private property owners can help to monitor speeding vehicles, crime, and other unwanted activities in neighborhoods with low human activity at certain times of the day. Traffic safety cameras and other similar devices help enforce speed limits and parking regulations with reduced manpower and human error.

Real-Time Data Collection

Adopt the practice of gathering helpful data that improves user quality and overall street management. Consider installing real-time data collection devices like air-quality monitors and cyclist or pedestrian counters. Offboard transit ticket machines, vending machines, and bike share stations can also provide real-time data. As data is collected, consider making it available through an open data platform for researchers, organizations that can use it to create resources such as transit maps and schedules, and to inform future design projects.

Information Technology

Aim to create intelligent ecosystems on streets by incorporating amenities such as WiFi access points, mobile phone applications, real-time transit information, and transit, bikes, and car-sharing facilities. These systems not only aid in making streets more efficient but also invite greater street activity. Intelligent systems provide data that can be used to guide future needs and street design projects.

Adapted by Global Street Design Guide published by Island Press.

Lighting and Technology Subsections