Demonstration projects are short-term, low-cost, temporary roadway projects used to pilot potential long-term design solutions to improvewalking/bicycling and public spaces.
On the short end, a one- or two-day project may be more about community engagement and exploring new ideas. Longer projects, such as those that are in place for an entire season, may be more focused on evaluating pedestrian and driver behavior and the impact of the project on traffic measures such as pedestrian usage, vehicle speeds or yielding rates.
The cost of demonstration projects will vary depending on the type, size and duration of the project as well as the materials used. In general, material costs range from $100 to $10,000 per installation. The cost of a demonstration project should be significantly less than the potential final capital infrastructure project being considered.
Demonstration projects allow public agencies, community partners, and people walking, bicycling, taking transit, and driving to evaluate potential infrastructure improvements before potentially investing in permanent changes. Benefits of using a demonstration project approach
• Test aspects of safety improvements before making further investments
• Inspire action and build support for project implementation
• Develop further public awareness of the potential issue and conceptual options
• Increase public engagement by inviting stakeholders to try demonstration projects for active transportation
• Increase understanding of active transportation needs in the community
• Encourage people to work together in new ways and strengthen relationships between government agencies, elected officials, non-profit organizations, local businesses, and residents
• Gather data from real-world use of streets and public spaces
There should already be a strong demonstrated need or desire to make changes at a specific location. This location may be from a previous plan, or another planning process that included conversations with community members.
The project location should improve overall safety and pedestrian and bicycle access to priority destinations within a community. Develop an initial sketch of the project site and potential design solutions as part of the early visioning and project exploration. Once the project location, project type, and general application have been defined, it’s time to start thinking more critically about site design and layout.
The installation of a demonstration project requires a thoughtful breakdown of tasks, roles, and responsibilities. Consider splitting the installation into segments (e.g., mark curb extensions with dots of spray paint and paint the crosswalks on Day 1; snap chalk lines for edges of curb extensions; paint curb extensions, and install flex posts on Day 2).
Data collection is a critical component of evaluating the success of a demonstration project. Documenting conditions before and during the project installation creates a record of the community’s hard work planning and designing the temporary changes and how the project impacts the community.
Very short-term projects may not require any ongoing maintenance. Projects lasting a week or more will likely require a plan to maintain the project. Document lessons learned and action items for longer-term change. Summarize findings and share them with agency partners, including the road authority.
Closing down a street in front of school can reduce the congestion of students entering schools and waiting for COVID screening. Create queueing boxes and organization for student arrival while also creating space for outdoor classrooms during the day.
See our School Streets Guide for tips on implementing these strategies. Then read the School Streets summary or full guide from the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO). Also check out our Arrival and Dismissal during COVID-19 guide.