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Measuring the Street: New Metrics for 21st Century Streets in NYC

This is a good example of:

setting new metrics for measuring the performance of streets beyond conventional Level of Service models focused only on traffic flow.


Traditionally, cities and towns write transportation and public works plans with performance metrics keyed to automobile travel.  Conventional indicators, such as roadway Level-of-Service (LOS) ratings and average traffic speeds, consider only motor vehicle traffic conditions. These indicators tend to undervalue other community impacts and objectives, such as overall mobility (getting from Point A to Point B), cost efficiency, equity, community quality of life and environmental needs. In recent years, transportation professionals have developed more comprehensive performance indicator sets, for example levels of service for pedestrians and economic development goals.

In 2012, New York City adopted new performance metrics, goals and strategies . The expanded goals include:

  1. Safety,
  2. Accommodate all users,
  3. Create great public spaces.

The five strategies are:

  1. Design safe streets
  2. Build great public spaces
  3. Improve bus service
  4. Reduce delay and speeding
  5. Efficiently manage parking and loading

The 10 key metrics:

  1. Motorist, pedestrian, and cyclist crashes and injuries
  2. Vehicle, bus passenger, bicycle rider, and public space user volumes
  3. Traffic volumes
  4. Travel speeds
  5. Traffic speeds (not too slow, but not too fast)
  6. Economic vitality (retail sales, building vacancies, visitors)
  7. Bus ridership and travel speeds
  8. User satisfaction
  9. Environmental and public health quality
  10. Double parking and parking duration

The manual lists four main areas of strategy

1. Designing safer streets Street desgin  bike lane shot

Key treatments

Simplified intersections

Dedicated left, right, and through lanes

Pedestrian safety islands

Protected bike lanes

Leading pedestrian intervals and split phasing

Also helpful:

Turn bans

Mixing zones for bicycles and left-turning vehicles


Wide parking lanes

Speed humps and slow zones

2. Building great public spaces Public redesgin metrics

 Key treatments

Create new pedestrian plazas – first using temporary materials, later as capital projects

Street furniture

Seasonal seating platform in curbside lane

Striping and planters

Maintenance agreements with local organizations

Programmed events

Also helpful:

Simplified intersections

3 Improving bus service bus improvement metrics

Key treatments:

Offset bus lanes

Transit Signal Priority

Bus bulbs

Bus lane enforcement cameras

Also helpful:

Pedestrian safety islands

Turn lanes and turn bans

Delivery windows

Street redesign inventory

4. Reducing delay and speeding congestino metrics

Key treatments:

Adaptive signal control

Signal optimization

Dedicated left, right, and through lanes

Simplified intersections

Neighborhood Slow Zones

Also helpful:

Protected bicycle lanes

Pedestrian safety islands

Wide parking lanes

Key Quote:

"Using a cross-section of recent NYCDOT street design projects, this report details the metrics NYCDOT uses to evaluate street projects, and illustrates how measuring results can show progress toward safe, sustainable, livable and economically competitive streets."

URL link to Main Resource:

Project Location :

New York City

Development Context:





New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT)

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