Scorching Bay, Wellington. Credit: Wellington City Council.
Great street design helps make our existing towns and cities great places to live, work and play but wholescale upgrades have long timeframes, are expensive, and face a wide variety of barriers.
Like many countries around the world, Aotearoa is at a critical stage in deciding how best to respond to the challenges our urban centres are facing. Many cities have declared a state of climate crisis, are grappling with unacceptable rates of crashes on their streets, and urgently need to improve public health. People need tools to adapt their streets at a pace that matches the scale of these challenges.
By testing innovations in streets with communities before committing to major investment, road controlling authorities can have more assurance that they're getting the direction of change right. Testing also enables communities to get a sense of what their streets could be like, to input to changes in an iterative process and make more informed decisions. This technique of employing fast tactical changes is well-evidenced and has the potential to deliver significant safety benefits in a short time frame.
Figure 1. Innovating streets process diagram