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Design of heavily used streets in towns/cities

Norway Flag
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
STRIA Roadmaps
Infrastructure (INF)
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

Urban streets with heavy traffic reduce the quality of the adjacent urban areas. In many cases bypasses and detour roads have been constructed.

Often this has been done in combination with traffic calming and different restrictive measures. It has then become easier to adjust the street design in order to take care of factors such as capacity, access, environmental considerations, safety, different modes, deliveries , parking, etc. This has been done in many countries.

However, in smaller urban areas it might have undesirable effects for trade and vitality of the town centre if traffic is reduced. Therefore, methods of street enhancement without reducing capacity have been tried. Such street enhancement projects have been implemented in several smaller Norwegian towns since 1985. 16 of these projects have been thoroughly evaluated by before and after studies and the results well documented.


During the last decade several more cases have been implemented. This project was initiated in order to develop a method for the planning of street enhancement based on experiences gained by comparative studies of such projects in both small and large towns and cities. The method focuses on streets with relatively high traffic levels - ADT (average daily total) of more than 8000 vehicles. That means that also major streets in larger cities are included.

The task was to develop a method of comparing projects and find a set of criteria for success. The effects of each case may have been evaluated separately.


The project reported through seminars and a short report (in Norwegian).

The method developed includes four stages of analyses:

  1. The current situation – what subjects and challenges are there (all modes, access, etc.);
  2. Elements of the street itself: which factors and relationships are relevant;
  3. The street's role in a an local urban level (neighbourhood, local administrative/political level);
  4. The role of the street in a network of arterials on a larger scale.

The report points to the importance of observation and structured interviews with users of the streets before and after possible changes. The method can be applied also to special topics like creating a plan for signing or for the placement of green structure and (quiet) places for rest and meeting.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
The Directorate of Public Roads
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


The report can serve as a guidance for analysis of a street and the role it plays in the urban landscape. It gives a broader understanding of the relationships between traffic and street life by introducing architects and landscape architects in planning and detailed design of streets.

The method implies that the street is analysed on four levels:

1. Specific elements along the street

2. The street itself

3. The role of the street in relation to its surroundings (neighbourhood)

4. The role of the street related to the urban network and traffic.

Policy implications

Evaluations of street enhancement efforts both in smaller urban areas and major cities have concluded that such investments have been successful. The method for analysis and planning which has been developed should be applied to future projects in order to improve the detailed planning and street design.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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