Incorporating Pedestrian Safety into Design

New design guidelines in Chicago will force any future city projects to take pedestrian and commuter safety into consideration. The new planning models take into consideration population, congestion points, "complete streets" and optimal land use. Read inside for how your city or town can integrate aspects of this plan


What Happened?

The Chicago Department of Transportation released new street design guidelines that suggest pedestrian safety will remain a top priority when launching any new projects throughout the city in the future. The new development model will impact projects ranging from streetscape work to electrical repairs near the road or sidewalks.

So What?

According to The Atlantic Cities, the shift in policymaking will consider all residents of the city as pedestrians, and look at the way a new design or project may impact their mobility whether it be on sidewalks, bicycle lanes, cars, trains or buses. Because there is a direct association between pedestrian-safe urban areas and strong economic activity, the city is looking to protect the security and well-being of pedestrians utilizing a wide range of transit options. When the DOT embarks on a new project, decision makers will be taking into account all modes of transit to ensure no type of pedestrian is left unsafe or with limited options.

The city’s guidelines collected and analyzed data throughout the city to map out areas with high crash frequency, congestion points for a variety of pedestrians and other patterns to determine what factors are placing residents at risk and what potential solutions can benefit all types of pedestrians. The guidelines also analyze the city of Chicago’s population based on the number of foot pedestrians, transit users, bicyclists and drivers. Understanding the complex makeup of city street users will help the department:

  • Identify the function of each street and its surrounding context
  • Implement design values to ensure the land is optimized for all pedestrian types
  • Develop complete street designs that follow a comprehensive modal hierarchy
  • Follow six project delivery steps to ensure all aspects of pedestrian use have been considered

The Great City

Also keeping pedestrians in mind when designing streets, an Australian architecture firm recently developed a compact city model that would ensure all important amenities are within a 15 minute walk for residents. Potentially built by 2021, the Chinese city would encompass 1.3 square miles and 320 acres, able to hold 80,000 residents. Furthermore:

  • 15 percent of the land would be urban parks and green areas
  • 60 percent of land would house buildings
  • 25 percent of land would be used for roads and walkways

The city would maintain a massive transit center where public transportation options would be sourced to allow for a pedestrian-only population with zero reliance on personal cars. The satellite city aims to reduce the burden on infrastructure as well as lower carbon emissions while enhancing sustainability. The city’s designers anticipate:

  • 48 percent less energy use
  • 58 percent drop in water consumption
  • 89 percent reduction in landfill waste
  • 60 percent decline in carbon dioxide emission

The public transit options will transport residents throughout the city, as well as connect the municipality to other nearby localities.

Other Design Strategies

Gov1 has followed varying tactics municipalities are deploying to keep pedestrians safe as well as improve the quality of life for local residents.

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