Well-connected streets and non-automobile networks bring destinations closer together, reduce travel distances, and improve pedestrian and bicycle access.
Strategies to support street connectivity include the following:
- Establish maximum block lengths – for example, LEED ND calls for a connection at least every 800 feet, with 400 feet or less identified as the preferred distance.
- Provide through-block pedestrian and bicyclist passages
- Add new publically-accessible streets/alleys
- Maintain existing streets/alleys
- Prohibit cul-de-sacs and/or dead-end streets
Street connectivity plays a key role in reducing vehicle travel and encouraging active transportation. Street connectivity had the second greatest impact on travel activity of all factors evaluated in Ewing and Cervero (2010). The analysis found that the elasticity of vehicle travel with respect to connectivity was -0.12, meaning that increasing intersection or street density 10% reduces vehicle travel 1.2%. Handy, Tal and Boarnet (2010b) also found that increased street intersection density reduces VMT, increases transit use, and increases walking with elasticities ranging from -0.06 up to -0.59.
Research also suggests that street and network connectivity play a key role in increasing transit ridership and mode share. The weighted average of elasticity for transit use related to street connectivity was 0.23 or 0.29, nearly three to four times the effect of residential density on transit use (Ewing and Cervero, 2010).