Multi-Modal Handbook

Bringing it all Together

This chapter depicts a number of typical development scenarios where many of the Chapter 3 Design Elements may be applied in the same context and illustrates how the application of multiple design elements can significantly improve the function and aesthetics of any proposed development towards accommodating all transportation modes.

The sample contexts are a cross section of development patterns where multimodal design is applicable, including:

A Land Development Review Checklist at the end of this chapter provides a quick reference regarding the applicability of certain design elements based on the location and/or size of the proposed development.

Commercial Centers

Example of a large retail/big box commercial development and application of various design elements.

The development of large shopping/commercial centers almost always includes a significant amount of surface parking spaces designed to meet the peak holiday shopping season demand. While this handbook recommends various ways to reduce these parking space requirements, following the standards of many current ordinances results in these commercial centers having large expanses of paving which can create detriments to both the natural environment and the human experience. Application of the design elements indicated in the image above can make the circulation components of these commercial centers be truly multimodal and the overall site better designed for the human experience.

When applied to this development scenario the following design elements will better provide for all transportation modes:

Example of a centrally located 'Hub Stop' in
a commercial development.

Other design elements that enhance the human experience of commercial developments and their safety include:

One of the more important, but often unseen components to the circulation system associated with parking lots are the stormwater management measures that help to slow, cool and infiltrate stormwater runoff before it enters either the natural stream or groundwater systems. The better these systems are designed - often incorporating multiple best management practices (BMPs) - the more sustainable these developments will be with less impact on the natural environment.

Corporate and Employment Centers

Example of how a corporate center developed in the 80's could benefit from various design elements.

Corporate and Employment Centers are unique in the fact that many of those locations developed in the 1980's and early 1990's were A) designed for the automobile as the primary (if not only) mode of transportation that would be used to access them, and B) have little or no associated mixed uses such as bars/restaurants, coffee shops, or other service industries within walking distance. This resulted in developments that are devoid of any pedestrian facilities because they were simply not envisioned to be necessary and incurred additional development costs. The same goes for public transit facilities – the vast majority of building occupants work in relatively high-paying white collar jobs, and with ample free parking provided, public transportation was the far less desirable transportation mode alternative for the everyday commute.

When applied to this development scenario the following design elements will better provide for all transportation modes:

Other design elements that can enhance the human experience of these corporate centers include:

Like many of the of the previously mentioned large/big box retail centers that are developed in the suburban environment, traditional corporate centers were developed to a larger scale that ids difficult to integrate into the community fabric. Therefore, the application of these and other design elements described herein though either a retrofit or redevelopment process will only make these corporate/employment centers more viable and sustainable for long term integration with their adjacent communities.

Major Residential Subdivisions

Example of a major residential subdivision's application of various design elements.

Many of the more modern residential developments have adopted many smart growth initiatives to minimize impacts to the natural environment and reduce infrastructure development costs. These 'New Urbanist' residential developments also strive to combine traditional suburban development amenities with those of more dense urban residential neighborhoods in an effort towards community building and greater social interaction. This results in the provision for a multitude of different multimodal circulation options within these developments.

When applied to the residential development scenario, the following design elements will better provide for multimodality and a better quality of life for its residents:

Application of these and other appropriate design elements into PRD developments can not only provide for better accessibility and circulation options, but also create more cohesiveness within the communities themselves through increased opportunities for social interaction.


The following are three examples of streetscape development across the range of development density and intensity from Village/Rural to Suburban to Urban.

Example of a Village/Rural streetscape development applying various design elements.

Village/Rural streetscape developments are typically the least intensive developments relative to the application of design elements as compared to more densely developed streetscapes in suburban or urban locations. Village Streetscapes may simply be a tree lined walkway that provides the simple utility of connecting destinations and a visual definition between the street and the adjacent buildings or residences. Some may, as in the example shown above, incorporate On-Street Parking to accentuate that buffer as a traffic calming element.

Example of a Suburban Streetscape development incorporating an increased level of design elements.

Suburban streetscapes typically offer an increased level of amenities such as pedestrian Lighting, increased use of Landscape Material, pedestrian level navigation signage, and where located along an existing transit route, a Bus Stop with shelter. Due to the higher speeds of the adjacent roadways without on-street parking, a minimum 5 foot wide buffer space is located between the sidewalk and the roadway. Where long distances are required to cross multi-lane entrances, traffic islands may be used to provide relief for pedestrians to cross them incrementally.

Example of An Urban Streetscape development and application of design elements.

Urban streetscapes are the most intensely developed streetscapes as there are many more factors to consider in their design and implementation. This is driven primarily by urban density and the need to fit many different elements into a relatively smaller amount of available space. Urban streetscapes typically have very wide walkways extending from building face to curb offering opportunities to create public gathering spaces with outdoor cafes, pocket parks, and seating areas with the addition of site furniture including benches and trash receptacles.

View the Land Development Review Checklist.