Urban Thoroughfares Manual

Designing a Context Sensitive Approach

Concerned about traffic and street design in your community? Want to learn about a new resource for creating livable streets? Leading engineers, elected officials, planners, and others are now using a new resource created by the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) and the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) for local communities. The newly-released recommended practice, Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach, advances the successful use of context-sensitive solutions (CSS) in the planning and design of major urban thoroughfares for walkable communities. It provides guidance and demonstrates how context-sensitive design principles and techniques may be applied where community objectives support new urbanist and smart growth principles, such as walkable, connected neighborhoods, mixed land uses, and easy access for pedestrians and bicyclists. The manual is a partnership between the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) and CNU. Under contract to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the two organizations have created a context sensitive design guide dedicated exclusively to major thoroughfares in cities and towns.

The Path to Approval: Past Resources


The release of the ITE Manual is culmination of several years of work. In February 2010, CNU leaders met with city officials and planners from Elgin, Illinois for the first implementation of the new guidelines. In May of 2011, the City of El Paso passed a resolution adopting Designing Walkable Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach as a recommend practice for "use in the design and construction on new roadways and redesign and reconstruction of existing roadways."

Below you will find news and resources compiled from the prior work CNU has done on the issue.

Presentations from prior CNU workshops:

Previous News about the CNU/ITE Manual
City of El Paso Passes Resolution to Adopt CNU/ITE's Designing Walkable Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach
Local Officials Flock to Urban Thoroughfares Workshops
Colorado Officials to Use New Designs for Streets
CNU presents CSS Workshop & Transportation Summit
CNU and ITE Unveil New Street Design Manual

You can purchase the manual from the ITE website. It is also available for download.

CNU has held numerous workshops that focus on the manual. These workshops help communities create streets that build character and long-term value, as outlined in Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares. Workshop participants learn hands-on about how to change standards in street design, the impacts of street design on a community, how to use the manual as a guiding resource, and key urban design features that support a strong community. Check back for details on upcoming events and workshops dedicated to moving the ITE/CNU principles forward.

Resources About context-sensitive design and the manual:

Contact Please contact Heather Smith.