Research on the connection between transportation and community is a supporting component of the Streets as Places campaign.

Our research findings will be used to inform all aspects of the campaign and provides the framework for expanding and focusing future research. We will continue to focus on specific research questions under the overall theme of “How do streets impact communities?” (i.e, what is the impact of traffic speed on pedestrians?).

At the end of 2007, we completed a thorough review of social science and transportation literature and a pilot research study conducted with Columbia University on the “Design and Walkability of New York City Streets.” This pilot research provides us with a much clearer understanding of how the experience of people using streets correlates with specific elements of street design. We can now move forward on a number of parallel efforts that can lead to (1) practical information about the design elements of successful streets and (2) arguments for transportation agencies to take more interest in the economic and social capital of communities.

Our next research activities include:

  • Validating pilot data with pedestrian surveys and more detailed observations – demonstrating that the PPS “Place Audit” can be used as a tool to identify the design elements of successful streets;
  • Producing research summaries on various street design, including summaries of existing knowledge and future research needs;
  • Reaching out to academics and other researchers to define a research methodology and potential partners for future research on the impact of streets on communities,
  • Developing user-friendly, practical tools using the results of research, with the goal of creating a series of toolkits that can guide effective street design.
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