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What factors are important in designing a safe street for pedestrians?

Pedestrians must be included as a matter of course in the planning and design of roadway plans. This includes reconstruction, repaving, and retrofits of existing streets. Only by integrating pedestrian facilities wholesale will the transportation system work in totality.


Some elements of roadway design pertain specifically to pedestrians, such as sidewalks and crosswalks. However, the overall design and operational elements of the roadway are just as important. Roadway width, number of lanes, traffic speed, and traffic volumes all impact the overall functionality of a road and how it meets its goals of providing access and mobility to all users. A geometric element such as street width affects the time needed to cross the street, whereas an operational parameter like traffic direction (one-way versus two-way) affects the number of potential conflicts between motorists and crossing pedestrians.


Pedestrian facilities such as sidewalks, walkways, curb ramps, and other facilities need to be safe, accessible, and aesthetically pleasing to attract pedestrians. For more information about safe streets for pedestrians visit: http://www.walkinginfo.org/engineering/roadway.cfm.