Complete Streets – A policy movement that ensure transportation planners and engineers design and operate roadways with all users in mind including pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit vehicles and users.

Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS)  – A way to ensure that the context of a place, not traffic demand, determines how the street is designed.

Context Zones – Context zones are used to describe the overall character of the built and natural environment. There are six context zones plus special districts that describe a range of environments from natural to highly urbanized. Context zones provide a way to use the street’s setting to determine design criteria. The manual focus on four of the context zones in the transect – suburban, general urban, urban center and urban core. Once the appropriate context zone is determined, the manual specifies design standards that fit that zone. ­­


Functional Classification – A system in which streets and highways are grouped into classes according to the character of service they intended to provide.

Human Scale – How humans perceive the size of their surroundings and their comfort with the elements of the natural and built environment relative to their own size. In urban areas, human scale represents buildings that can be observed within a short distance and at the speed of a pedestrian, and sites and districts that are walkable.

Right-of-way – The right-of-way often refers to the width of a thoroughfare, which is publicly owned. Outside of the right-of-way the land is privately owned and cannot be assumed to be available for thoroughfare construction.  

Smart growth – Land use development practices that create more resource efficient and livable communities, with accessible land use patterns. It is an alternative to sprawl development patterns. 

Sprawl - A pattern of low-density development that is characterized by dependence on the automobile, large-lot residential development, and strip commercial development. An area is characterized as sprawling when land is being consumed at a rate faster than population growth. 

Thoroughfare – A thoroughfare is a major streets in an urban areas that is multi-modal in nature, and is designed to integrate with and serve the functions of the adjacent land uses.

Transect – The transect is a categorization system that organizes all elements of the built environment o a scale from rural to urban. 

Traveled way – The public right-of-way between curbs, including parking lanes, and the travel lanes for autos, transit vehicles, and bicycles. Medians, turn lanes, transit stops and exclusive transit lanes, and loading/unloading zones are including the traveled way.

Walkable Communities – A walkable community will possess two attributes. First it will allow for an easy and safe walk between goods and services a community member or employee needs to access on a regular basis. Walkable communities will also make pedestrian activity possible, thus expanding transportation options, and creating a streetscape that better serves a range of users – pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders and automobiles. To foster walkablity, communities must mix land uses and build compactly, and ensure safe and inviting pedestrian corridors.

Walkable – Streets and places designed or reconstructed to provide safe and comfortable facilities for pedestrians, and are safe and easy to cross for people of all ages and abilities. Walkable streets and places provide a comfortable, attractive and efficient environment for the pedestrian including and appropriate separation from passing traffic, adequate width of roadside to accommodate necessary functions, pedestrian-scaled lighting, well-marked crossings, protection from the elements, direct connections to destinations in a relatively compact area, facilities such as benches, attractive places to gather or rest such as plazas and visual interesting elements.

Many of these definitions were taken from The Language of Towns and Cities by Dhiru Thadani.