The Urban Street Design Guide: a guidebook for complete streets nationwide

In recent years, cities have been leading innovators in shaping complete streets that accommodate the needs of pedestrians, transit vehicles, bicyclists, freight and motorists, all while considering the businesses and residents located along the street.  The Urban Street Design Guide (USDG) is a new compilation of the design concepts and the lessons learned in the complete streets movement.  Published back in September by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), the handbook offers detailed guidance on all sorts of complete street retrofits, such as reimagining the urban boulevard, installing a raised intersection, or tightening a turning radius.  It also advises on how to use limited resources to make improvements through incremental, interim progress.

An Urban Street Design Guide illustration of an interim public plaza. (Credit: http://nacto.org/usdg/interim-design-strategies/interim-public-plazas/)

The USDG is grounded in the philosophy that streets in cities and town are not merely for conveying traffic but are also public spaces that should be safe, sustainable, economically beneficial, and enhance the quality of life.  Roadway design in the U.S. has traditionally been oriented toward moving lots of cars safely, quickly, and over long distances. However, urban areas also need walking, transit, bicycles, and freight to maximize the efficiency of their transportation system.  The USDG is the first comprehensive national guidebook to emphasize city street design as a unique practice with its own set of design goals, parameters, and tools.  NACTO believes that this guidance will help allay the political and legal concerns over trying out new roadway design standards.

As a founding organizer of NACTO, Philadelphia has been a key part of the complete streets conversation.  The city’s 2012 complete streets ordinance led to the development of the Philadelphia Complete Streets Design Handbook, a document that communicates design guidance for engineers, architects, and planners and helps communities understand the tools available for creating better streets.  Today, development proposals and roadway projects that meet certain thresholds are required to fill out a Complete Streets Checklist demonstrating consideration and compliance with complete streets guidance in Philadelphia.  Find out more at the Streets Department Complete Streets website.

Urban Street Design Guide before-and-after example of a “Slow Zone” street. (Credit: http://nacto.org/usdg/streets/neighborhood-street/)

Tidbit Tuesday | Which mode do Philadelphia public transit users take to work?

Every Tuesday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation & Utilities (MOTU) posts a map or graphic that tells a story about transportation or utilities in the City of Brotherly Love.

Based on the 2011 American Community Survey, approximately 25% of working Philadelphians commute to work via public transportation.  Here in Philly we have a wide-range of public transportation options, and so we decided to take a look this week at which mode Philadelphia public transit users take to work.

mODEsHARE-01

At 71.6%, those who take the bus (including trolley bus) to work make up the largest portion of public transportation users.  Next are subway (Market Frankford Line and Broad Street Line) users at 16.1%.  Following are regional rail users at 10.7%.  Finally, trolley users bring up the rear at 1.6%.

Tidbit Tuesday — SEPTA Ridership Trends 1999-2012

Every Tuesday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation & Utilities (MOTU) posts a map or graphic that tells a story about transportation or utilities in the City of Brotherly Love.

SEPTA just released data showing that they are currently celebrating achieving an all-time high regional rail ridership for Fiscal Year 2013!  In order to help celebrate, we took a look at their Annual Reports and created a graphic illustrating how SEPTA’s ridership has increased from its 1999 ridership levels!  Regional Rail saw an increase of 36% and Trolley, Bus, and Subway ridership saw an increase of 28% between Fiscal Year 1999 and Fiscal Year 2012!

SEPTA RIDERSHIP-01

Note, all trips shown are linked passenger trips.

Want to see more graphics related to SEPTA’s ridership?  Check out the following posts:

Tidbit Tuesday — Exploring SEPTA Ridership, Part 4

Every Tuesday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation & Utilities (MOTU) posts a map or graphic that tells a story about transportation or utilities in the City of Brotherly Love.

This week is the fourth and last post of a one month exploration of SEPTA’s ridership for FY12  through infographics (you can find the first week’s here, second week’s here, and last week’s here).  This week we have have produced two graphs.

First, we graphed the SEPTA Subway Routes.  Is your subway route the highest used in the city?

Subway-01

Second, we graphed those SEPTA bus, regional rail, trolley, and subway routes with the top 10 highest ridership (regardless of mode).  Is your route one of the top 10 most popular routes in Philadelphia?

AllModes-01

 

Tidbit Tuesday — Exploring SEPTA Ridership, Part 1

Every Tuesday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation & Utilities (MOTU) posts a map or graphic that tells a story about transportation or utilities in the City of Brotherly Love.

This week we will be beginning a one month exploration of SEPTA’s ridership for FY12  through infographics.  This week we have graphed the SEPTA City Bus Routes with the  highest annual ridership of all City Bus Routes.  Did your bus route make the top 10?

Top 10 Busiest Bus Routes _ FY12

Top 10 Busiest Bus Routes _ FY12_MAP [Converted]-01

All data is courtesy of the SEPTA FY 2013 Annual Service Plan — http://www.septa.org/reports/pdf/asp13.pdf

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