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Design Guidance for Great Streets: Addressing Context Sensitivity for Major Urban Streets

This paper presents the progress of a joint project of the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the Congress for the New Urbanism. Together, the two organizations are working to prepare guidance for context sensitive design of major urban streets, drawing on principles and techniques from the new urbanist and smart growth movements. New urbanism is a movement in planning, design and development that is re-establishing compact, walkable and environmentally sustainable neighborhoods, cities and towns. Smart growth is an approach to development and conservation that advocates, among other objectives, strengthening and directing development toward existing communities and fostering distinctive and attractive places. Streets that are both beautiful and functional -- great streets -- will advance the objectives of both movements as well as the practice of context sensitive design.

In addition to addressing design criteria in the project's deliverables, CNU and ITE will be working in three areas crucial to implementation of our principles at scales from the region to the building: network design; understanding of context and community character; and revisions to the functional class system. Work on these topics by a multidisciplinary group of CNU and ITE member-practitioners is in its earliest stages. This paper introduces the project in its "project history and overview" section and then presents findings of initial work on a literature review being conducted as a project start-up task. The emphasis of the literature review is evaluation of conventional and innovative street design resources to assess their contributions to the project's aims.

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