Urbanism Next
University of OregonUniversity of Oregon

Old Rules Are Still New Rules

Even as the transportation landscape rapidly changes, many existing design principles still apply.

As the designs of streets and buildings change to accommodate new transportation modes, human-centric and smart growth planning and design still serves as a guiding principle. The allure and promises of new technologies can be quite attractive. However, there are still basic, tried-and-true planning and design principles that will continue to hold true as new technologies emerge and evolve. Human-centric planning and design principles, plans and designs that incorporate sustainability elements, and plans that promote equitable access by all should continue to be priorities that guide the incorporation of new technologies into our communities.

Issues & approaches

Continue to Focus on Community Goals, not Technology: Many cities already have existing policies around equity, transportation access and safety, climate change, and others. Continuing to keep these principles and policies in mind when designing for new technologies and services will help meet existing goals and continue to put human needs at the forefront of design.

Smart Growth Principles: Embedding design principles that encourage a multi-faceted approach to creating livable, vibrant communities from the beginning of a project will help to ensure desirable outcomes. Smart Growth America has established a series of principles that guide planners, designers, and builders on how to foster diverse, thriving communities within a compact, walkable footprint.

Universal Design: Creating equitable access for all users can be accomplished via designs that cater to those who have unique needs, as these designs are often beneficial for all. Designing for all users should continue to be a priority when adding or updating transit options and new mobility services and devices. Special attention may need to be paid to the street furnishing zone and how micromobility devices may impact access and mobility for those with wheelchairs, walkers, strollers, or the visually impaired as they navigate shared sidewalks.

Examples/case studies

This is Smart Growth report cover page

Compact Development - Smart Growth Principles

This is Smart Growth

View - Smart Growth Network

Produced by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this document provides an overview of Smart Growth principles along with examples of their implementation.

Mobility Equity Framework report cover page

Community Goals - Equity

Mobility Equity Framework: How To Make Transportation Work For People

View - Greenlining Institute

The Greenlining Institute’s Mobility Equity Framework provides guidance on prioritizing the transportation needs of low-income communities of color and other historically neglected populations.

A Framework for Equity in New Mobility report cover page

Community Goals - Equity

A Framework for Equity in New Mobility

View - TransForm

TransForm’s Framework for Equity in New Mobility outlines how to harness the changes that new mobility brings in a way that prioritizes transit and the needs of vulnerable populations.

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