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Before getting started

Innovating Streets is an umbrella term for any projects that seek to:

Use quick and temporary techniques to deliver positive people-centred changes to streets


This can include tactical urbanism, ‘trying through doing’ for consultation, fast changes to streets, and activations to help people think of their streets differently.

The Innovating Streets guidance separates projects into three types:

  1. Pop up: 1 day to 1 week
  2. Pilot: 1 week to 12 months
  3. Semi-permanent: A number of years.

While a permanent solution is vital to understand and aim for, its delivery and project steps are not covered in this guide. Similarly, large-scale pilots and those in higher-risk road environments are not covered. These will be covered in the Transport Agency’s Complete Streets Guide, currently being worked on.

Why use an Innovating Streets technique?

The first question is: why use a temporary or interim technique rather than a standard process?

Reasons include being able to:

  • test different treatments in real life, and learn with data and evidence, which work best, for example,
    • Installing a variety of different design options for an overall treatment and seeing what works best for people, either simultaneously in different locations or sequentially over time
    • Having a discrete temporary installation in an area of a larger project, such as an intersection, driveway or village centre
    • Running an interim initiative (or several) in the lead-up to a major redevelopment of a space, which informs people’s decisions about what it should be like once the permanent change is made
  • draw readily on locals’ experience of what will work
  • centre the public debate on how to achieve the desired objective with the street, not whether it’s worth doing at all
  • bring forward installation of treatments much sooner after the initial conception of the project
  • gather data ‘live’ and highlight differences between people’s perception and reality
  • have a conversation about important issues like what makes a street ‘work’, who are its ‘users’, what is ‘safe’, what ’improvement’ means.

Safety first

Before starting on your project, you need to be clear if a temporary approach is appropriate for your project given its environment. Many Innovating Street projects are directly aimed at safety improvements, but no matter what the objective, safety needs to be front of mind at every stage of the project. Overall, it is important to retain perspective of the risks and understand the benefits of the street changes your project will test. Our research found that ‘safety’ and ‘risk’ are often used as generic reasons not to innovate. It’s important to find the balance of managing real risk appropriately. Considerations include the difference between cultural risk, perceived risk and actual risk. This is important in project design and also in communication.

This guide is devised for lower risk streets, where there are already, or you are trying to achieve, slower traffic speeds and lower volumes of traffic.

Most suitable for Innovating Streets projects Less suitable for Innovating Streets projects
  • Streets with an operating speed of <30km/h or,
  • Streets where a design change aims to result in an operating speed of <30km/h.
For example:
  • Main shopping streets
  • Residential streets
  • Laneways
  • Shared space streets.
  • Streets with an operating speed of >50km/h, or
  • Streets with a posted speed above 60km/h.
For example:
  • Rural roads
  • Arterial roads
  • Rapid transit or busy public transport corridors.