Accelerating reform to govern streets in support of human-scaled accessibility

This research paper is concerned with how streets are managed so that they prioritise people instead of vehicles. It can be of help to place managers and policy-making as cities are being transformed as a consequence of Covid-19.

Date added 14 October 2020
Last updated 15 October 2020

This resource highlights how, traditionally, cities have been governed with private vehicles in mind. In recent years, however, there has been a change in how people get around: there has been an increase in smaller forms of transport, such as e-scooters or bicycles; a growing number of people commuting by foot; a reduction in mobility as people need to travel less often and for shorter distances; and an increase in car-sharing initiatives. Additionally, streets and roads are being claimed for alternative use of space, not just for movement but as meeting points for pop-up bars or events.

This paper presents the challenge of governing streets when these new modes of transport and uses of space emerge. It explains that all too often innovation and alternative ways of doing meet constraints, such as outdated legislation, resistance to change, or short political tenures.

This resource presents three principles to guide governance of human-centred streets. These are:

  1. Working with the concept of accessibility (i.e. understanding this as ease to reach a destination) as this has been widely researched and offers a framework to define and measure it.
  2. Empowering local government, as the local scale is the most effective and agile to design and deliver.
  3. And finally, conducting strategic experiments, changing, for example, the prioritisation of streets and monitoring and evaluating the effects of this.