Pedestrian- and Transit-Oriented Design

By Reid Ewing, Keith Bartholomew

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If you like walkable communities, take one step forward — and join the crowd. More than half of Americans say they'd rather drive less and walk more. As boomers age and gas prices rise, demand for walkable neighborhoods keeps climbing.

This practical guide shows how to make the leap from urban sprawl to smart growth. It walks readers through a detailed checklist of pedestrian- and ...

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Date Published
Jan. 1, 2013
Urban Land Institute and APA Planners Press

About the Authors

Reid Ewing
Reid Ewing, Ph.D., is a Professor of City and Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah, chair of the Department of City and Metropolitan Planning, associate editor of the Journal of the American Planning Association, and columnist for Planning magazine, writing the bi-monthly column Research You Can Use. Earlier in his career, he was director of the Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University, research professor at the National Center for Smart Growth, state representative from northwest Tucson, and analyst at the Congressional Budget Office. He holds master’s degrees in Engineering and City Planning from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Transportation Systems from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ewing’s work is aimed at planning practitioners. His eight books include Pedestrian and Transit Oriented Design, just co-published by the Urban Land Institute and American Planning Association; Growing Cooler – Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change, published by the Urban Land Institute; and Best Development Practices, listed by the American Planning Association (APA) as one of the 100 “essential” books in planning over the past 100 years. His 90 peer reviewed articles include “Travel and the Built Environment: A Meta-Analysis,” given the 2010 Best Article of the Year award by APA; "Relationship Between Urban Sprawl and Physical Activity, Obesity, and Morbidity," the most widely cited academic paper in the Social Sciences as of late 2005, according to Essential Science Indicators; and “Is Los Angeles-Style Sprawl Desirable?” listed by APA as a Classic Article in urban planning. A recent citation analysis by Virginia Tech found that Ewing’s work is the 7th most highly cited of nearly 1,000 planning academics in North America.

Keith Bartholomew
Keith Bartholomew is the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the University of Utah College of Architecture + Planning and an Associate Professor of City & Metropolitan Planning. Before coming to Utah, Professor Bartholomew served as a staff attorney for 1000 Friends of Oregon and was the director of “Making the Land Use, Transportation, Air Quality Connection” (LUTRAQ). Professor Bartholomew teaches and conducts research on integrated land use-transportation scenario analysis, pedestrian-oriented design, and land use law.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Urban Design Qualities

Chapter 3: A Checklist of Essential Features
(1) Medium-to-High Densities
(2) Mix of Land Uses
(3) Short-to-Medium Length Blocks
(4) Transit Routes Every Half-Mile Maximum
(5) Two- to Four-Lane Streets (with Rare Exceptions)
(6) Continuous Sidewalks Wide Enough for Couples
(7) Safe Crossings
(8) Appropriate Buffering from Traffic
(9) Street-Oriented Buildings
(10) Comfortable and Safe Places to Wait

Chapter 4: A Checklist of Highly Desirable Features
(1) Supportive Commercial Uses
(2) Grid-like Street Networks
(3) Traffic Calming
(4) Closely Spaced Shade Trees
(5) Not Much "Dead" Space (or Visible Parking)
(6) Nearby Parks and Other Public Spaces
(7) Small-Scale Buildings (or Articulated Larger Ones)
(8) Pedestrian-Scale Lighting
(9) Classy Looking Transit Facilities

Chapter 5: A Checklist of Nice Additions
(1) Landmarks
(2) "Street Walls"
(3) Functional Street Furniture
(4) Coherent, Small-Scale Signage
(5) Special Paving
(6) Public Art
(7) Water Features
(8) Outdoor Dining
(9) Underground Utilities

Chapter 6: Conclusion

Appendix A: What the Travel Literature Tells Us
Appendix B: What the Visual Preference Literature Tells Us
Appendix C: What the Hedonic Price Literature Tells Us
Appendix D: What the Traffic Safety Literature Tells Us
Appendix E: What TOD Manuals Tell Us


"Ewing and Bartholomew have delivered an accessible and highly readable guidebook ... [The book's] checklists are helpful to practitioners — planners, engineers, urban designers, and others — but will also provide a useful reference for planning commissioners, elected officials, and advocates for these places. Readers also benefit from the concise writing and extensive use of lists, tables, photographs, and illustrations to make points... With its attention to the little details and examples from contemporary practice, this book offers very useful guidance for how to make places work for transit and pedestrians.
— Whit Blanton, FAICP, founding principal, Renaissance Planning Group; full review in the Journal of the American Planning Association, Autumn 2013