The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) aims to provide an urban perspective on street design, helping create both safer streets and streets that support vibrant neighborhoods. They saw a need to shift the conversation from a bias toward highway designs that simply don’t meet the complex needs of cities toward building more sustainable streets.
Nelson\Nygaard collaborated with NACTO staff, Pure+Applied, and BlinkTag to develop national street design guidelines relevant to cities. The Urban Street Design Guide is a blueprint for designing 21st century streets where people can walk, bike, drive, park, take transit, and socialize. Divided into six chapters, it focuses on types of streets; street design elements including lane widths, sidewalks, and curb extensions; interim design strategies such as parklets and temporary street closures; types of intersections; intersection design elements such as crosswalks and pedestrian islands; and design controls, the criteria used to measure a street’s success.
The guide provides examples throughout the country as well as the tools to implement these tactics to create cherished public spaces. It encourages cities to be nimble; instead of undergoing a lengthy process to update street design, change can be tested first by using low-cost solutions, such as paint and planters.