As an ITE recommended practice (RP), Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach contains the Institute's recommendations for best practices in designing context sensitive streets. The content of the RP is based on the experience of numerous practicing transportation professionals and on the latest research. Seven years in the making, Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares has been reviewed by hundreds of design professionals and has gone through comprehensive reviews by the FHWA and EPA staff. ITE’s rigorous procedure for adoption ensures the practitioner that the guidance has been thoroughly vetted by members of the transportation profession.

Guides published by ITE as recommended practices carry considerable weight within transportation design and engineering circles and are used to supplement the contents of the “Green Book” that is published by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Engineers and viewed as the final word on street design by many engineers. Although the green book is rarely intropreted in ways that satisfy new urbanists, the new manual shows engineers that they can indeed create traditional urban streets (and street networks) without violating professional standards.

-- from “Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: From Concept to Recommended Practice” ITE Journal September 2011


CNU is excited to announce:

  • The City of El Paso, Texas has formally adopted the manual as the guidelines for design of thoroughfares in all city projects;

  • Texas DOT has incorporated the RP into its project development manual as an approach to be used for planning and designing roadway projects;

  • The State of Minnesota has included the manual as one of only two resources for technical guidance in its complete streets policy (Bill HF2801);
  • Broward County, Florida MPO adopted the manual by resolution for projects to receive higher-priority funding;
  • The City of Buffalo, New York and the City of Portland, Maine identify the manual as a best practice in thoroughfare design;
  • The Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments in Washington and the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization recommend the manual for its design guidance;
  • The City of Piqua, Ohio, the Waco, Texas MPO, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Council, and the Minnesota Complete Streets Coalition list Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares as a resource for street design.



Testimonial from Mathew McElroy: El Paso, Texas

"We use the ITE manual  for two types of construction—it is required for city sponsored development (Capital Projects) and as a minimum threshold for private development applications governed by our subdivision code. For City capital projects, using the guide is great in that it gives us a minimum design threshold for street reconstruction, grayfield  redevelopment, based on the unique context where the specific project takes place—and allows us to ensure that the design is one that supports multiple transportation types. When you have a capital projects manager whose sole focus is budget, conventional traffic engineers, design engineers being asked to value engineer everything that they can out of the initial design, the ITE manual provides the technical guidance that multiple interest groups can gather around.

Our subdivision code is a little different. We have a set of approved cross sections that we apply to different street types when a new subdivision application comes in the door, and the ITE manual provided valuable guidance in the revision of those cross sections that we completed about 60 days ago. We got a better planting strip and now allow developers to submit alternative designs so long as they comply with the ITE manual, whereas in the past they really only had the option of the preapproved and not ITE compliant cross sections. In making the recent changes to the subdivision code, we tried to get street types that varied by context, but we didn’t quite have all the support from the development community that we needed to get there. Part of the reason that happens is because it causes a good deal of brain damage for a conventional developer to think about too many cross section types, the typical response being that it simply increases costs. But the real benefit to cities is that it can serve as a technically sound basis for code revisions and a required tool for CIP projects."