Simplification of standards (4) primary and local documents

In 2011 Los Angeles County, USA published the “Model streets design manual” (ref. 2206). The document is worth reading in itself. But in terms of the simplification of its standards the website (here) gives an interesting explanation of its purpose:

“Overall, this manual is intended for three groups of users:

  • Municipalities who lack the resources to undertake a major revision of their manuals and are looking for examples to assist in re-tooling their current manuals. This document may be adopted as written, or customized for any municipality

  • Municipalities that want to adopt the latest thinking in street design

  • Designers, planners and engineers who are looking for tools to provide flexibility within their existing street standard”

In other words the website sees the document as a primary document which could be used and modified for local conditions by other organisations in the USA. Indeed it could also be used and adapted by cities in other countries.

Here we have the concept of a primary document – which can be modified for local conditions. This implied combination of a primary document / local document can also be seen in other countries, for example in:

  • Australia – the VicRoads Supplement  to the Austroads Guide to Road Design  (e.g. ref. 1588)
  • Canada – British Columbia Supplement to Transportation Association of Canada Geometric Design Guide(ref. 2209)


Maybe this primary / local document approach could be used globally for different parameters used in the geometric design of roads.


1588 – Australia, VicRoads Supplement to the Austroads Guide to Road Design Introduction to VicRoads Supplement  2012

2009 – Canada, British Columbia Supplement to TAC (Transportation Association of Canada)Geometric Design Guide 2007 Edition

2206 – USA “Manual for living streets”, Los Angeles County, 2011


About roadnotes

Robert Bartlett is an international consultant with over 30 years of professional experience as a highway and traffic engineer with leading companies and organisations in several countries, including Germany, China (Hong Kong), Qatar and the UK. Specialised in urban studies, transport and the use of GIS, research has included new ideas on subjects such as the study of social justice using GIS, the dimensions of vehicles, and comparative geometrics (highways and transport).
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