Even 10 years ago, reclaiming streets from cars to create space for people to walk and to bike was considered a radical—almost revolutionary—act. Today, people-focused streets are a proven global best practice and the first-line response for transportation and transit agencies during the COVID-19 crisis, from Berlin to Brussels to Bogotá and from Minneapolis to Mexico City to Milan.
This is a historic moment when cities can change course. There may be limited mobility options as the crisis has slashed traffic volumes and transit service and people shelter at home. But these empty lanes provide new possibilities for people to use streets for essential trips and healthy activity right now, and they form the outline of the future cities we need to build. Creating safe, walkable streets and choices for getting around are critical during the initial crisis response, and also to achieving a long-term economic recovery that is equitable, sustainable, and enduring.
Transportation and transit agencies around the world are leading the response with bold, creative, and rapid steps to reshape their streets, and by using their existing assets differently. This resource reflects the vast output of these tireless public servants during an incredibly trying time and often at great personal risk, and provides the just-in-time direction that mayors, leaders, and planners around the world need to decide their next steps. Adaptive use of streets can lead the global response and recovery to this crisis, keeping people safe and moving while holding cities together.
Chair, National Association of City Transportation Officials
Principal, Bloomberg Associates