A new approach to urban street planning and design
Submitting InstitutionUniversity College London
Unit of AssessmentCivil and Construction Engineering
Summary Impact TypePolitical
Research Subject Area(s)
Engineering: Civil Engineering
Economics: Applied Economics
Summary of the impact
Peter Jones' research developed new principles for urban street planning
and design, which have been incorporated into Department for Transport
(DfT) and Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) national
guidelines. The methodology has been used in the Mayor of London's Roads
Task Force report; Transport for London (TfL) now requires boroughs to use
the classification for all new submissions for funding for street schemes.
It underpins the specification of an £650m PFI highway maintenance
contract with LB Hounslow, and has been used by other UK local
authorities. Internationally, the approach has been applied in Australia
and included in draft regulations for urban planning in Beijing.
Research by Professor Peter Jones (Professor of Transport and Sustainable
Development at UCL since 2005) has looked in detail at the design and
operation of urban streets, using video surveys and collecting data on
selected objective and subjective performance measures in a number of case
studies. This found that urban street design has been dominated by meeting
the needs of motorised vehicles, with consequential poor physical street
environments that negatively impacted on local economic, social and
cultural activity, and has resulted in unattractive public spaces. The
underlying problem was identified as being due to the classification of
streets purely in terms of their traffic movement functions, thereby
ignoring other street user needs. To address this problem, he developed a
comprehensive basis for identifying and classifying the various functions
of different types of urban streets, recognising that urban streets
accommodate a wide range of movement and non-movement activities. The
research replaces the one-dimensional vehicle-based street classification
with a two-dimensional classification, based on their `Link' (movement by
all modes of transport) and `Place' (living) functions, and develops a
comprehensive set of operational, planning, design and appraisal
procedures that build on these principles. Link requirements are defined
in terms of the movement needs of all street users (including
pedestrians), while Place requirements describe the various economic,
social and cultural activities that are to be planned for on and adjacent
to the street.
Some of the initial conceptual thinking emerged from the EU-funded
ARTISTS project (2002 to 2005), involving academics, consultants and city
authorities from several European countries, which looked at how urban
streets could contribute to more sustainable urban communities. After he
moved to UCL in 2005, Jones, together with Dr Stephen Marshall (Reader in
Urban Morphology and Planning, at UCL since 2000) developed this abstract
thinking into a practical street classification system that was trialled
on the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN). A set of planning and
design procedures was developed through research and case study
applications in London largely funded by Transport for London. In 2007,
Jones and Marshall published the detailed guide Link and Place: A
guide to street planning and design , which was endorsed by
Transport for London and the Chartered Institution of Highways and
Transportation. Natalya Boujenko, a co-author in this publication, worked
for Transport for London, and led the field trials.
The Link and Place procedures developed through this research [2,3,5-7]
- Defining requirements for highway construction and maintenance in
urban areas, with the Link status determining the carriageway provision,
and the Place status the provision and maintenance of the footway and
street furniture, plus the street-cleansing regime.
- Measuring street performance in a comprehensive way that takes full
account of the range of street functions.
- Determining the acceptability of the current performance of a street
segment, by benchmarking this against appropriate regulatory
requirements or comparative levels of performance — recognising that
`acceptable performance' may vary with Link and Place status levels.
- Prioritising segments of the street network for improvement, based on
shortfalls in current performance and status levels.
- Comprehensively assessing street design requirements, through
detailed consideration of street activities and their space/capacity
requirements, at desirable and minimum levels of provision.
- Identifying design objectives and constraints, and formulating these
in the preparation of a comprehensive Design Brief.
- Developing a set of design options that meet the requirements set out
in the Design Brief, with stakeholder involvement; and
- Appraising design options, in terms of their contribution to
addressing the measured shortfalls in street performance, in a
For design purposes, the approach defines more precisely sets of user
needs and identifies ways in which they might be met through providing
different `street design elements'; it moves away from the notion of a
fixed `road user hierarchy', recognising that priorities vary according to
the type of street, and it provided guidelines on how to prioritise among
competing user needs in different situations. It has proved particularly
successful in engaging stakeholders in street design where space use is
contested, bringing together the resident and business communities,
alongside local politicians, transport planners, traffic engineers, land
use planners and urban designers.
Between 2005 and 2008, Jones participated in the EPSRC-funded DISTILLATE
project (co-ordinated through Leeds University), which developed a range
of new decision support tools for local transport planning. As part of
this, he developed a street design toolkit to help in generating
acceptable streetscape design solutions in contentious situations [4, 8].
References to the research
 Jones, P., Boujenko, N. and Marshall, S. (2007). Link and Place:
A guide to street planning and design. Landor publishing, London.
ISBN 1 899650 41 5. Available on request.
 Jones, P. and Boujenko, N. (2009). "'Link' and `Place': A new
approach to street planning and design." Road and Transport Research,
18(4), pp. 38-48. [Won the John Taplin Best Scientific Paper award at the
Australasian Transportation Research Forum Conference, Auckland, September
 Jones, P., Boujenko, N. and Marshall, S. (2008). `A comprehensive
approach to planning and designing urban streets.' Paper presented to the
European Transport Conference, the Netherlands, October. Available on
 Jones, P., Marshall, S. and Boujenko, N. (2008). `Creating more
people-friendly urban streets through `Link and Place' street planning and
design.' IATSS Special Issue on Aiming for a Better Road Traffic
Environment, 32 (1), pp. 14-25. [Invited contribution from Japanese edited
 Marshall, S. Jones, P. and Boujenko, N. (2008). Planning streets by
`Link' and `Place', Town and Country Planning, 77 (2), February
2008, pp. 74-79. Available on request.
References ,  and  best demonstrate the quality of the research.
Research grants: DISTILLATE ( GR/S90829/01), £1.37m. Value to UCL
from 2005 onwards, £150k.
Details of the impact
Use in national guidance documents: The 2010 publication `Manual
for Streets 2, wider application of the principles' [c], which carried
ministerial endorsement, looked at the application of Link and Place
principles to busier urban streets, and made reference to Link and Place
applications. (This publication built on the influential national guidance
document on street design: `Manual for Streets' [Department for Transport
and Communities and Local Government, 2007] which incorporated the basic
principles of Link and Place.) Link and Place applications are also
included in the Irish Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport's 2013
`Design manual for urban roads and streets', and in street design guidance
for the South Australia government, which has been used to improve street
design in SA urban areas.
Applications by local authorities and regional government: Jones'
invited presentations on Link and Place and its potential uses has
informed practitioners in the UK and abroad (including Hungary,
Switzerland, China, New Zealand, Australia and the USA) and has led to
several practical applications by consultants and local authorities. These
- West Midlands Red Route team, used in a series of corridor studies
between 2009 and 2011
- Belgravia and Mayfair (by the MVA Consultancy); used to assess street
function and appropriate design solutions in a study funded by the
Grosvenor Estate and Westminster City Council in 2008 [g].
- Staffordshire County Council, as part of a county strategic assessment
- Galway City Council (by Taylor Young), as part of a strategic review
of street network functioning in 2010 [d].
- South Australian Government, as part of a Transport and Public Health
strategy in 2012 [a].
- Smart Move Adelaide, the city's 10-year transport and movement
strategy, in 2012 [b].
- The Beijing Municipal Institute of City Planning and Design
incorporated the approach into draft regulations for urban road space in
2013 (due to come into force in 2014) [m], following the publication of
the main 2007 Link and Place report in Chinese in 2012 [e].
- East Staffordshire Borough Council's Town Centre Public Realm
Implementation Plan for Burton-on-Trent, published in July 2012 [h], was
informed by the methodology and offered a transparent, structured way of
defining the street hierarchy and is used by the local authority to
inform their strategy and spending on street and public realm
improvements (up to £1m a year). It is also used to inform the guidance
the council gives to developers as to what they are expected to provide
in the public realm, and to what standard, as part of their proposals.
Major UK applications: The first of these, in the London Borough
of Hounslow, was as part of an £650m private finance initiative (PFI) to
upgrade and maintain the borough's highway network over a 25-year period,
starting in early 2013. The local authority needed a transparent method to
define standards for highway reconstruction and maintenance, which would
be objective and responsive to changing circumstances. The criteria for
allocating a particular Link and Place status to each street segment is
set out in the PFI contract, so that if circumstances change over the
25-year period, then the status of the relevant street segments will be
reassessed, and the maintenance standards adjusted, if necessary. There
was a national competition among local authorities to obtain PFI funding,
and this novel application of Link and Place was reported by the Council
as being one reason why Hounslow was successful in its bid for DfT and
Treasury funding [l]. The council confirmed that its first targets had
been met: as of 30 June 2013, 432km of streets and footways had been
rehabilitated (15.4% of the total); 7.5% of street lighting replaced with
LED and centralised control; and 8 bridges restored to meet load-carrying
The second application is in relation to a new strategic assessment of
the future role of the London road network, initiated by the Mayor of
London in autumn 2012. Jones worked on an independent Roads Task Force,
comprising stakeholders representing different transport mode and business
interests, plus NGOs and local authorities, to use a modified version of
the Link and Place approach (in the form of a family of `street types'
based around `Moving and Place' street functions), recognising that there
is a diverse range of streets which perform different functions, and that
priorities and appropriate design solutions will therefore vary across the
network. TfL has said this allowed for a much more sophisticated approach
to analysing and planning investment than the traditional road user
hierarchy [k]. The RTF report was published in July 2013, with the `Moving
and Place' classification of streets being a core element [f]. It was
warmly welcomed by a broad range of stakeholders, including the London
boroughs [k]. TfL now requires that boroughs use this street
classification when submitting funding bids for new schemes to TfL, though
the LIP (Local Implementation Plan) process. The director of London
Councils, which represents London's boroughs, confirms that the approach
is already being used, with a £3m scheme to upgrade the street environment
in Hornchurch completed in June 2013. In Bexleyheath, the balance between
competing needs has been recognised in the planning process. [k]
Public engagement in street planning: Jones recognised the
potential of the broader formulation of streets as providing a basis for
carrying out more effective and consensual public engagement activities,
since it explicitly recognises the legitimate interests of all street
users groups, not simply motor vehicle drivers. In 2007-08, the street
design toolkit he developed in the DISTILLATE project was applied in two
exercises in the West Midlands (Bloxwich and Coventry), where the public
had strongly objected to design proposals put forward by the local
councils, which were then withdrawn. In both cases, new designs were
generated by local stakeholders that were subsequently implemented with
high levels of public and business support, and minimal objection [see
outputs 8 and 4, pp. 250-252]. In 2008 Walsall Council commissioned UCL to
provide two sets of the toolkit for their own use, in subsequent complex
street design contexts.
Provision of training to urban planners: Jones has been invited to
run various training events to explain the principles of Link and Place
and its derivations to urban planners. In 2013 this has included sessions
for Urban Design London (with 80+ London borough representatives, TfL
staff and consultants in attendance), and as part of a training programme
for engineers and planners from the UAE, organised by PTRC — the training
arm of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.
Sources to corroborate the impact
[a] Boujenko, N., Morris, P. and Jones, P. (2012). Streets for
People: Compendium for South Australian Practice'. Government of
South Australia and Heart Foundation. ISBN: 978-1-74243-329-5. http://bit.ly/streetsforpeople
See especially pp. 13-22 and thereafter.
[b] Use of movement and place, Smart Move Adelaide, 2012, pp.18-27 http://bit.ly/smartadelaide
[c] Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (2010). `Manual
for Streets 2: Wider application of the principles', London. ISBN:
978-0-902933-43-9. See especially pp. 13 and 14, and rest of Chapter 2.
Available on request.
[d] Galway City Council and Galway County Council (2010). `Draft Galway
City and Environs Walking and Cycling Strategy', October. http://bit.ly/galwaycc
[e] Jones, P., Boujenko, N. and Marshall, S. (2012). Link and Place:
A guide to street planning and design. Chinese language version.
ISBN: 978-7-112-13806-7. Available on request.
[f] Roads Task Force (2013). `The vision and direction for London's
streets and roads'. Transport for London, July 2013. See especially pp.
82-99. Available from:
[g] Simon Adams and David Hampton [MVA Consultancy] (2008): `Movement and
social space in Mayfair and Belgravia'. Available on request.
[h] Burton upon Trent Town Centre Public Realm Implementation Plan,
[i] A statement from the Director of Planning at TfL confirms the
benefits of the link and place approach for the Roads Task Force, and that
TfL requires the use of the approach in boroughs' local implementation
plans. Available on request.
[j] A statement from a landscape architect at IBI Taylor Young, involved
in the Burton plan, confirms the benefits of the council's adoption of the
methodology. Available on request.
[k] A statement from the Corporate Services Director, London Councils,
confirms the positive reception for the Roads Task Force report and the
use of Link and Place in Hornchurch and Bexleyheath. Available on request.
[l] A letter from the London Borough of Hounslow confirms the details of
the Highway Maintenance programme. Available on request.
[m] A statement from a Seniro Engineer at the Beijing Transportation
Research Centre confirms the use of the approach in Beijing's draft
regulations. Translated copy available on request.