The Congress for the New Urbanism presented the Sustainable Street Network Principles on Monday 23 January at the Transportation Research Board annual meeting. Marcy McInelly (Urbsworks, Inc.) and Joseph Readdy (Schemata Workshop) presented the new compact guide to achieving a human-scale street network that supports social, cultural, and economic exchange.
“We assert that current transportation engineering addresses only limited individual components of the region’s street network. This results in a fragmented and inefficient system that fails to adequately engage the social, environmental, and economic aspirations of communities.”
These principles advocate a human-scaled urbanism, where the act of walking represents the basic unit of design. Instead of having considering the street network as the means to achieve mobility or transportation service, it looks to maximize our investment in infrastructure by choices that are “magnets for business, light industry, jobs, and economic opportunities.”
This project lays out seven principles for creating vital, livable networks of streets, supported by six key characteristics for implementing these principles.
Those points where multiple modes of transportation intersect are the places that have the highest potential for placemaking. Places that thoughtfully coordinate the connections between the pedestrian, bike, transit, and car are the ones that will generate the highest economic value.
These principles matter because despite the $200 billion per year the US spends in transportation infrastructure, the country has higher traffic fatality rates than any developed nation. Engineering has been focused on moving cars and trucks quickly, yet transportation delays per capita has more than doubled since 1982, and the US has the highest vehicle miles traveled per capita globally. Americans spend more time in their cars than anyone on earth.