Complete Streets in Ottawa

Complete Streets in Ottawa

Complete Streets and Multimodal Level-of-Service in Ottawa

Complete Streets - Planning 101, Ontario Planners

What are complete streets?

Complete Streets incorporate the physical elements that allow a street to offer safety, comfort and mobility for all users of the street regardless of their age, ability, or mode of transportation. A Complete Streets approach uses every transportation project as a catalyst for improvements within the scope of that project to enable safe, comfortable and barrier-free access for all users. In other words, complete streets:

  • Accommodate multiple modes
  • Incorporate context-sensitive design principles
  • Can be used as a way to improve neighbourhoods and support liveability

All streets can be Complete Streets but they look different based on the surrounding context. In Ottawa, they will differ:

  • In rural, suburban, and urban contexts
  • For local, collector, and arterial roads
  • Based on land use characteristics and Official Plan designations.

On 14 October 2015 Council approved the Transportation Committee Report, Complete Streets Framework (ACS2015-PAI-PGM-0159) that provided a definition of Complete Streets; outlined the progress and preparation for an implementation framework and included guidelines for Multi-Modal Level of Service as a supplement to the Traffic Impact Assessment Guidelines.

A brief information sheet highlights, Complete Streets in Ottawa.

The Multimodal Level of Service (MMLOS) Guidelines provide guidance to practitioners (City staff, consultants, etc.) on how to assess the various LOS for the different modes of transportation and what the specific target service levels for each mode should be given the location and context the transportation project.
The MMLOS tools are intended to be applied across a variety of projects that require detailed analysis of transportation impacts. In other words, whenever a project or study requires the completion of level of service analysis, MMLOS should be applied. Scenarios that require MMLOS evaluation may include transportation environmental assessments, corridor studies, neighbourhood traffic management studies, or development projects.

Purpose of Guidelines and Introduction to Multimodal Level of Service

In the past, municipalities often focused on the performance of vehicular traffic in evaluating the level of service (LOS) on streets. Since no comparable LOS measures have been commonly institutionalized for other modes of travel, the tradeoffs between vehicle delay and its impacts on the quality of travel by other modes are often overlooked. That is, the typical outcome of improving level of service is wider roads with more travel lanes, higher vehicle volumes, and faster vehicle speeds. These network modifications often degrade conditions for other modes (i.e. walking and cycling), and this trade-off is not incorporated into the standard motor vehicle LOS indicator.

However, recognition of the need to provide more multi-modal streets has marked a shift towards establishing performance measures for all modes: cycling, walking, transit, and vehicular. This all in-one evaluation tool is referred to as Multimodal Level of Service and will allow performance measurement for all modes