Better Streets, Better Cities: a Guide to Street Design in Urban India illustrates ways that good design can help create safer streets and more livable public spaces. The guide was prepared by ITDP in collaboration with the Ahmedabad-based Environmental Planning Collaborative.
Current street design practice in India is often based on a vision of high-speed motorized mobility that does not take into account the variety and types of activities that actually take place in Indian streets. While streets are often designed from the centerline outward, Better Streets, Better Cities urges planners to explore an alternate approach that prioritizes the needs of pedestrians and cyclists.
The guide begins with a discussion of sixteen street elements, such as footpaths, cycle tracks, medians, and spaces for street vending, covering the importance of each element as well as implementation challenges and design criteria. While existing NMT infrastructure in Indian cities is implemented with good intent, design shortcomings resulting from a failure to account for the practical needs of pedestrians and cyclists often mean that these facilities remain unused. The guide indicates how these pitfalls can be avoided.
Next is a library of design templates for various rights-of-way, followed by sample intersections. The final section describes the process of street design—from data collection, surveys, and analysis to the preparation of final plans—using a real-world example of an urban intersection to explain methodological issues.
Conceptualization of Better Streets, Better Cities began in mid-2009. The guide can serve as a reference manual for municipal governments, practitioners, design consultants, and academic institutions. While the guide was developed considering Indian conditions, applicability in other countries can be explored.