A needs-gap analysis of street space allocation


  • Gabriel Lefebvre-Ropars
  • Catherine Morency Polytechnique Montréal
  • Paula Negron-Poblete Université de Montréal




Street Space Allocation, Equity, Needs-gap Analysis, Complete Streets


Streets have long been designed to maximize motor vehicle throughput, ignoring other street users. Many cities are now reversing this trend and implementing policies to design more equitable streets. However, few existing tools and metrics enable widescale assessment, evaluation, and longitudinal tracking of these street space rebalancing efforts, i.e., assessing how equitable the current street design is, how it can be improved, and how much progress has been made.

This paper develops a needs-gap methodology for assessing the discrepancy between transportation supply and demand in urban streets using existing datasets and automated methods. The share of street space allocated to different street users is measured in 11 boroughs of Montréal, Canada. Travel survey data is used to estimate the observed and potential travel demand in each borough in the AM peak period. A needs-gap analysis is then carried out. It is found that bus riders and cyclists face the greatest needs-gap across the study area, especially in central boroughs. The needs-gap also increases if only trips produced or attracted by a borough are considered. This shows the potential of applying an equity-based framework to the automated assessment of street space allocation in cities using large datasets.

Author Biographies

Catherine Morency, Polytechnique Montréal


Head, Mobilité Chair and Canada Research Chair on Personal Mobility

Department of Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering, Polytechnique Montréal

Paula Negron-Poblete, Université de Montréal

Associate Professor

Codirector, Observatory on Sustainable Mobility

School of Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture, Université de Montréal


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How to Cite

Lefebvre-Ropars, G., Morency, C., & Negron-Poblete, P. (2021). A needs-gap analysis of street space allocation. Journal of Transport and Land Use, 14(1), 151–170. https://doi.org/10.5198/jtlu.2021.1808