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Urban Street Design / Public Space

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In both scale and opportunity, streets are our greatest public space. When designed to support safe travel and interactions, they open up a city: people travel along streets to access work, recreation, family, and friends, and gather along them to foster the opportunities and connections that are the great promise of urban life.

With the release of the Urban Street Design Guide, NACTO set a new standard for city streets in North America and across the world. This publication—developed for cities, by cities—is a standard-bearer for the movement to build streets as places for people.

NACTO’s Urban Street Design Guide / Public Space peer network convenes professionals across the city transportation field to continue to develop, test, and refine street designs that embody this ideal. NACTO facilitates active discussions among this group to exchange ideas, share experiences, and discuss the challenges and opportunities of rethinking how streets look and operate as practitioners push the needle on the next generation of urban street design.

See all of NACTO’s peer networks.

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Related NACTO Publications

Urban Street Design Guide

A blueprint for designing 21st century streets, the Urban Street Design Guide charts how North America’s foremost engineers, planners, and designers work to improve streets in their cities and showcases the tools and tactics cities use to make streets safer, more livable, and more economically vibrant.

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Urban Street Design / Public Space Events

Roadshows & Roundtables

San Antonio (2017)


Portland (2014)
San Mateo (2014)
Washington, D.C. (2014)
Denver (2015)
Halifax (2015)
Memphis (2015)
Portland (2015)
San José (2015)
Atlanta (2016)
Atlanta (2016)
Phoenix (2016)
Tulsa (2016)
Aurora (2017)
Albuquerque (2017)
St. Petersburg (2019)
Cincinnati (2020)

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Additional Resources

Public Webinars / Workshops

The future of city streets: NACTO Urban Street Design Guide (11/19/2013)
Curb Your Enthusiasm: Managing High-Demand Curbside Passenger Loading Zones (12/17/2017)
City Streets during Coronavirus: a Public Health Perspective (4/15/2020)
Slow, Shared, and Safe: Closing Streets to Thru-Traffic During the Coronavirus (4/22/2020)
Community Engagement During COVID-19 (4/23/2020)
Essential Movement: Building Temporary Bicycle & Pedestrian Facilities During COVID-19 (5/14/2020)
Streateries: Creating Space for Physical Distance at Restaurants (5/22/2020)
Thinking Outside the Box: Urban Freight & Delivery During COVID-19 (6/4/2020)
Equitable Public Engagement in Transportation Budgets (8/20/2020)
Avoiding Gridlock: Strategies to Keep Cities Moving in a Pandemic & Beyond (9/3/2020)
Curbing Carbon Emissions: Realizing Sustainability Goals with Progressive Curbside Management (#NACTO2020 Workshop)
Dancing with Disruption: Pivoting in Times of Change and Uncertainty (#NACTO2020 Workshop)
The Playful City – Designing Streets for Kids (#NACTO2020 Workshop)
Pop-Up to Permanent: Delivering Lasting Impacts from Pilot Projects (#NACTO2020 Workshop)
Real Talk: Pilot to Permanent (#NACTO2020 NACTO Camp Session)
Wrangling the Megaproject: Urban Freeways in Texas (#NACTO2020 NACTO Camp Session)

Audio Briefings

Jeff Tumlin, SFMTA: Coronavirus Impacts and Response in San Francisco (4/7/2020)
Mark de la Vergne, Detroit: New Mobility Options for Citizens in Need (4/15/2020)
Robin Hutcheson, Minneapolis: Keeping Employees Safe During the Pandemic (4/21/2020)
Nicole Losch, Burlington: Shared Streets for Social Distancing (4/22/2020)
Ryan Russo, Oakland: Oakland Slow Streets (4/27/2020)
Julie Anne Genter, New Zealand: Innovating Streets for People pilot fund (5/5/2020)
Joe Barr, Cambridge: Adapting Streets for a New Normal (5/6/2020)
Kuanting Chen, Taipei: Protecting Public Health on Transit (5/7/2020)
Barbara Gray, Toronto: CurbTO (5/8/2020)
Pierfrancesco Maran, Milan: Transportation After COVID-19 (5/19/20)
Seleta Reynolds, Los Angeles: Tracking COVID-19’s Ongoing Impact (7/21/20)

Press Releases / Public Statements

Washington State DOT, 23 Cities Endorse Urban Street Design Guide (12/18/2013)
Massachusetts Becomes Second State DOT to Officially Endorse NACTO Urban Street Design Guide (4/3/2014)
California Officially Endorses NACTO Urban Street Design Guide and Urban Bikeway Design Guide (4/11/2014)
Utah Endorses NACTO Guidelines for Safe, Livable City Streets (4/29/2014)
Minnesota DOT, Hennepin County, Minneapolis and Saint Paul Support Vision for Safe, Sustainable Streets (4/30/2014)
Great Cities Start with Great Streets: The Urban Land Institute Endorses the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide (6/11/2014)
Tennessee Becomes First Southern State to Endorse Urban Street Design Guide (6/16/2014)
FHWA Officially Supports City-Friendly Street Designs (7/25/2014)
Cities Join National Roadways Standards Body, Providing Critical Voice (1/9/2020)


NACTO Urban Street Design Guide Sets Out to Change the DNA of Our Cities (Streetsblog, 9/24/2013)
Roads Are Getting a Redesign (Governing, 10/2015)
Talking Headways Podcast: Designing City Streets for People (Streetsblog, 3/10/2017)
101 ways to improve transportation in your city (Curbed, 9/20/2017)
Our intersections are too dangerous. Here’s how to fix them. (Curbed, 2/28/2020)