Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares

Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach was created through a partnership between the Congress for the New Urbanism and the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE). This manual acts as a how-to document that illustrates best practices for the creation and implementation of walkable, mixed-use streets.

Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach has become a tool that transportation planners, public works departments, city leaders, and community members are using to design better streets, mitigate traffic, spur economic growth and act on public health concerns. It illustrates how transportation guidelines can be applied to roadway improvement projects to make them more compatible with community objectives and context in urban areas.

Since 2010, engineers and planners in state and local agencies have used the Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfare manual in transportation and land-use planning (see Success Stories).

State agencies in Texas and Rhode Island have officially adopted the manual and numerous municipalities have adopted the manual, or included its recommendations, into Complete Streets policies and transportation plans. Learn how your municipality can adopt the manual at Road to Adoption.

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In 2013, the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) released a memorandum officially endorsing Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach. The manual serves as a complement to AASHTO's "Green Book" in transportation planning nationwide. From the memo:

This memorandum expresses the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) support for taking a flexible approach to bicycle and pedestrian facility design...The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Urban Bikeway Design Guide and the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Designing Urban Walkable Thoroughfares guide builds upon the flexibilities provided in the AASHTO guides, which can help communities plan and design safe and convenient facilities for pedestrian and bicyclists. FHWA supports the use of these resources to further develop nonmotorized transportation networks, particularly in urban areas.