StreetMix lets you create the perfect urban road

Here’s a cool website for those interested in urban planning and transportation. It allows users to design a street exactly to their specifications by adding sidewalks, bike lanes, parking lanes, car lanes, bus lanes, as well as medians and trees. This is a nice way to visualize the capabilities of streets and how they can best serve the public good.

The different options for street design

You can even specify street size. For example, a 40-foot-wide street can only fit two car lanes, a median, and sidewalks on either side. There’s simply no room for a bike lane on both sides, as seen below:

However, if that street is widened to 60 feet, you can add a bike lane on either side, and some nice shrubbery between the road and the pedestrians, as seen here:

Or, if the city needs a larger street to accomodate more vehicular traffic, you can remove the bike lanes and shrubbery and add an extra lane for cars in that same 60 foot width:

The possibilities of road design are pretty endless, and StreetMix is an awesome site to play around with. You aren’t even restricted to 40-foot, 60-foot, and 80-foot roads. there is a setting called “Adaptive,” where you can make the road as wide as you want. Here’s one I made with two car lanes, bus lanes, parked cars to keep cyclists safe, then a bike lane on either side, some shrubbery, and then pedestrians. The idea is not incredibly practical, as it requires a street that is almost 120 feet wide, but the idea is pretty nifty.

I’m definitely going to be using this site a lot! It seems like it would be a nice tool for urban planners as well.

Check it out: StreetMix


10 thoughts on “StreetMix lets you create the perfect urban road

  1. Hey! I’m one of the people working on Streetmix (and an urban designer by trade), and I just wanted to point out that while we have some hard-coded values for traffic lanes, bike lands, sidewalks, etc. the reality is that these things are really very variable. In the future, we’re going to allow people to resize the widths of each element with some gentle guidance (rather than restrictions) on what trade-offs exist when, for example, a traffic lane is wider or narrower.

    Thanks for the great post!

  2. This tool is fun to play around with, but I don’t see it being that useful… it’s like a hallway planner for a building. Sure, it’s great to see what you can fit into a hallway of a specific size, but it’s really how (and what) the hallways connect that matter.

    • I can’t argue with you there – it is a bit basic at this point. I think it’s helpful for those who really are experimenting with a street layout in mind. It’s true that you can’t use it in a broader perspective in an actual city, but it’s good for looking at different options for, say, a 60 foot street.

      The other street designer that I posted about is a bit more complex and gives you wider options for customization, but they both accomplish the same thing in the end. Thanks for commenting!

      • Definitely, for that one specific purpose it’s great. I did look at the UAE site as well… are there actually streets where biking paths are 5 feet above/below the care paths? If so, I guess it’s more useful, even though I can’t come up with a use for that feature.

        Anyways, they’re doing something good, so I shouldn’t knock them too hard.

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