Manual for Streets

Motor vehicles have dominated road design and road rules for most of the last century. With public policy promoting walking and wheeling this has to change. With this in mind, the UK Government’s Manual for Streets gives pedestrians a higher priority on streets and roads.

Research carried out in the preparation of Manual for Streets indicated that many of the criteria routinely applied in street design are based on questionable or outdated practice.

Street patterns last for decades so we have to get them right for the future.

Front cover of the Manual for Streets showing a residential street scene with a child in the foreground.

The Manual for Streets begins with a rationale and context. The main body of the document covers design principles and detailed design issues. It includes:

  • Layout and connectivity
  • Street users’ needs
  • Parking
  • Traffic signage
  • Street furniture and lighting
  • Materials and maintenance

The likelihood of walking goes beyond a level, uninterrupted footway. It is influenced by the quality of the walking experience and how safe people feel. Design that accommodates the needs of children and people with disability will suit all users.

Pedestrians need easy ways to cross the street in their line of travel. The Manual advises that there should be little need for dedicated cycle lanes, but doesn’t advise sharing space with pedestrians. Rather, they should share the roadway space. These ideas might have changed more recently.

This is a large document but there is also an 8 page summary document, which is great for an overview. The Manual was published in 2007, but the ideas remain current because there is still more work to do. Although it is a UK publication, much is transferrable to Australian conditions.

Manual for Streets 2

An update to the Manual for Streets was published in 2010 and builds on the guidance contained in the original document. It explores in greater detail how key principles can be applied to busier streets and roads.

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