Sidewalk Labs’ mission is to radically improve quality of life in cities. The ability to confidently and comfortably ride a bike or meander down the street is critical to that mission. So is the ability to get where you need to go as efficiently as possible, which often involves traveling in a vehicle. These two needs can often be at odds with each other, but while the vehicle usually wins today, the balance is starting to shift.
Many cities, like Boston and Toronto, have published Complete Streets Guidelines to promote design standards for pedestrians, bicycles, transit, and public space. In 2017, NACTO released its Blueprint for Autonomous Urbanism to “proactively guide the [self-driving vehicle] technology to prioritize people-first design.” Sidewalk Labs aims to build on these ideas by asking: “Instead of teaching self-driving vehicles to operate on today’s streets, can we take advantage of new technologies to fundamentally redesign the street?”
This living document proposes design principles that strive to harness these advances to create safer and more flexible streets. These principles will be updated periodically based on collaboration with city planners, engineers, mobility providers, and technology companies — and by Sidewalk Labs itself, as we test designs in prototype and pilot environments.