Improving walkability, livability, and safety through urban street retrofit design

Francisco Daniel Benicio de Albuquerque

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has historically adopted a vehicle-oriented approach to its street design. This has been a common design approach not only in the UAE, but also in other Arab countries, particularly those part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Unfortunately, the vehicle-oriented urban street design approach contributes to problems such as increased levels of traffic congestion and travel delay, decreased safety levels, poorer public health, and increased environmental impacts. In addition, it does not foster the use of alternate modes of transportation such as public transport, cycling, and/or walking. Fortunately, design policies began to change recently. The Emirate of Abu Dhabi, specifically, has reset its street design priorities from being vehicle-oriented to instead prioritizing other street users such as pedestrians, transit users, and cyclists. The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) has prepared the Urban Street Design Manual (USDM) which explicitly provides guidelines on what the new norm is in regards to street design in Abu Dhabi. USDM explicitly sets out design specifications for street components such as traveled way, medians, and pedestrian realm based on land use and road capacity. This paper illustrates how existing, vehicle-focused streets can be retrofitted into more pedestrian-/cyclist-friendly streets through relatively simple, low-cost design modifications. The paper also provides a brief discussion on what the expected benefits of its proposed design may be.

Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the Annual International Conference on Architecture and Civil Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event6th Annual International Conference on Architecture and Civil Engineering, ACE 2018 - Singapore , Singapore
Duration: May 14 2018May 15 2018


  • Design
  • Vulnerable Road User Safety
  • – Urban Streets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction


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