What's New in City Design

GP Updates | March 2018

Creating great places in fast-changing times

Need to Know

  • E-bikeshare:  Bikeshare companies are adding electric (pedal assist) options and scooters. While vastly increasing options, parking and allocating travel ways for mixed-motorized options will increase in 2018.

  • Autonomous Cars: An Uber, in autonomous mode (with an operator at the wheel), struck and killed a pedestrian pushing a bike in Tempe AZ. While raising questions about the rush to test on public roads, there is emerging attention to the underlying street design and spate of  pedestrian deaths in Arizona.  Autonomous technology will proceed, though with more caution.


Scenario Planning

Incorporating and managing uncertainty is now required of every planning exercise. From technology to automated vehicles to climate change, planners need to anticipate change. A new era of scenario planning is helping communities explore change, identify likely scenarios and focus on preferred futures. Even more important, cities and towns can use scenario planning to chart out likely steps as events evolve. These steps offer intervention points.

Scenario planning also has multiple uses. In addition to forecasting and planning, these exercises can be used for training, strategic planning and public engagement. For more information, visit the Scenario Planning Consortium.


Boston's Metropolitan Area Planning Council new research finds ride-hailing services are exacerbating rush-hour traffic jams in the city.  MAPC surveyed 944 ride-hailing passengers, using travel questionnaires gathered on tablets during ride-hailing trips.  Forty-two percent said they would have taken transit if the ride-hailing service were not available and another12 percent substitued a walk or bike trip.  MAPC conducted the survey to fill information and data gaps, often not shared by ridehailing companies. 

New Reports

The American Planning Association has a new podcast series and report on planning for automated vehicles.  Though focused on driverless technology, the report pulls together all aspects of planning and multi-modal transportation (March 2018). 

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued Integrating Shared Mobility into Multimodal Transportation Planning: Improving Regional Performance to Meet Public Goals .  The report includes new practices to integrate shared-use mobility into local and regional transportation plans.( February 2018)

The Institute for Market Transformation released  Putting Data to Work:How Cities are Using Building Energy Data to Drive Efficiency. Funded by the US Department of Energy, the report shows how cities can put data to work on energy efficiency.