Complete Streets Concepts Are Now Being Applied Worldwide

Dehli announced a major new Complete Streets program that will redesign urban roads to favor walking, cycling and public transport over car traffic. This is very good news. It shows that the Complete Streets concept is now being applied worldwide.,

2 minute read

October 23, 2015, 10:00 AM PDT

By Todd Litman


India Streets

Radiokafka / Shutterstock

I am a great advocate of Complete Streets, which means that urban roadways are designed to accommodate diverse users and uses, including walking, cycling, public transit, plus nearby residents and businesses, in addition to automobile traffic. This increases urban transportation efficiency and equity by ensuring that all travel modes are safe and convenient.

This is a major paradigm shift, a fundamental change in the way problems are defined and potential solutions evaluated, from automobile-oriented to multimodal. Complete Streets planning has been widely embraced by North American professional organizations such as the Institute of Transportation Engineers, but is not as well established in developing countries, at least, not yet. Delhi, India's new plan to redesign ten major city roads to favor walking, cycling and public transit over automobile travel is very good news. It shows that the Complete Streets concept is making inroads in India and other Asian countries. This is a huge change and an important opportunity for improving the safety and livabilty of all residents, particularly lower-income people who walk and bike. I hope this project is successful and becomes an example for other cities in India and around the world.

Asian planners have developed some terrific multi-modal roadway design resources:

Moving Dangerously, Moving Pleasurably: Improving Walkability in Dhaka; Using a BRT Walkability Strategy to Make Dhaka’s Transportation Infrastructure Pedestrian-Friendly by the Asian Development Bank.

Changing Course in Urban Transport- An Illustrated Guide by the Sustainable Urban Transport Project and GIZ.

Better Street, Better Cities: A Guide To Street Design In Urban India by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.

Mobility For All A Strategic Transportation Plan For Ranchi by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy for the Ranchi Mobility Partnership.

Walkability and Pedestrian Facilities in Asian Cities: State and Issues, Sustainable Development Working Paper, Asian Development Bank.

Safety, Sustainability and Future Urban Transport by the Eicher Group.

Working Group on Urban Transport Final Report by the National Transport Policy Development Committee, Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), Government of India.

Pedestrian Design Guidelines: Don’t Drive…Walk by the Delhi Development Authority, New Delhi.

Walkability Asia supports walkability improvements in Asian countries.

Traffic & Transportation Policies and Strategies in Urban Areas in India by the India Ministry of Urban Development.

Environmentally Sustainable Transport For Asian Cities: A Sourcebook by the United Nations Centre for Regional Development.

Istanbul: An Accessable City – A City For People by EMBARQ Turkey .

These are world-class resources that should be useful to Complete Streets advocates everywhere. Congratulations to my colleagues in India. Well done and good luck!


Todd Litman

Todd Litman is founder and executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, an independent research organization dedicated to developing innovative solutions to transport problems. His work helps to expand the range of impacts and options considered in transportation decision-making, improve evaluation methods, and make specialized technical concepts accessible to a larger audience. His research is used worldwide in transport planning and policy analysis.

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