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Level of Service

SRTS Toolkit

Level of service, as defined in the general plan, sets a minimum threshold for the vehicle operational conditions of a road. Level of service is measured on an A to F ranking system that reflects driver convenience, comfort and level of congestion.  A level of service standard is critical to shaping walkable/bikeable communities because it determines the types of roadways which connect schools, parks, homes and jobs. 

Since level of service standards focus on conditions for automobiles, the standards may lead to more lanes and roadway/intersection widening.  These roadway improvements may conflict with other policies to promote walking and bicycling by increasing:

  • Vehicle speeds.
  • The number of potential conflicts with vehicles as more traffic is attracted to routes with improved vehicle travel times.
  • The crossing distance for pedestrians.
  • The number of travel lanes, which can make it dangerous to bicycle.

Local governments can adopt level of service standards that consider the non-automobile users of a street (for example bicycle level of service). Multi-modal level of service standards can be an important tool for fostering complete streets.


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