Corridors: Designing linear infrastructure in a non-linear world

Better integrated infrastructure for people, planet, and long-term prosperity.

Our new landmark study Corridors: Designing linear infrastructure in a non-linear world uncovers how linear infrastructure — from high streets to highways, waterways to railways — can, and indeed must, be designed to deliver greater value for all.

In the report, Hassell’s Urban Research Lead Camilla Siggaard-Andersen makes it clear that — for the sake of our planet and communities — a new approach is urgently required to tackle the shared multidimensional impacts of corridors.

Importantly, by focusing on evolving infrastructure from single-use to multi-benefit, the white paper aims to inform, inspire, and empower a worldwide transition to a more diverse, integrated, and outcome-oriented method of shaping linear space.

Through the creation of a common taxonomy and associated workshop toolkit, Corridors’ offers a practical approach to breaking down silos and facilitating holistic thinking.”

Camilla Siggaard-Andersen, Urban Research Lead 

This is a challenge of significant proportion. According to the CIA’s World Factbook, the global road network, railway network, and waterway network are an estimated 40 million kms, 1.3 million kms, and 631,000 kms in length, respectively (source: CIA​.gov). Combined, these corridors could loop one-thousand times around the Earth, causing great levels of connectivity and fragmentation concurrently. And while built linear infrastructure usually brings significant economic opportunities, the social and especially environmental costs are rapidly mounting.

Designing corridors is not just about connecting A to B. We have to design a positive, lasting experience between A and B too, for humans and nature alike.”

— Angus Bruce, Hassell Principal / Board Director


It is increasingly evident that corridors should aim to deliver economic benefits, enhance social connectivity, and reduce habitat fragmentation simultaneously. This makes the design, construction, and management of sustainable integrated infrastructure a field of critical importance.

With the new Corridors white paper, Hassell offers an open call for governments, infrastructure project consortia, engineers, and decision makers. A call to come together to plan, design and manage integrated infrastructure — for the betterment of society and the planet — based on three determining factors: purpose, design and optimal outcomes.

The best transport design delights the traveller, rewards the investor, and enhances the community, while regenerating the environment.”

— Peter Morley, Hassell Managing Principal / Urban Transport Sector Leader

Siggaard-Andersen explains that moving towards a holistic approach requires new motives, technologies, and value definitions that can cut across administrative, physical, cultural, and professional boundaries. Concurrently, designing linear infrastructure must increasingly involve thinking beyond traditional methods and embracing novel concepts.

By publishing this report, we hope to urge collaborations between diverse stakeholders toward creating more sustainable, resilient, and community-oriented integrated infrastructure.”

— Camilla Siggaard-Andersen, Urban Research Lead


Left: Williamstown Level Crossing Removal Project in Melbourne, Australia. Photographer: Sarah Pannell. Middle: Colma Creek Regeneration in San Francisco, US. Right: West Bund Waterfront Public Realm in Shanghai, China.
100 Hassell-designed Corridors’
1,200+ linear kilometres
50+ integrated stations and nodes — built or under construction

Through wide-ranging cross-sector engagement, Hassell’s new Corridors report already has peer and industry support as a valuable framework for creating holistic integrated infrastructure. 

As infrastructure designers, Knight Architects is all too familiar with the competing outcomes within corridor projects. Hassell’s report is compelling in its scope and, crucially, it provides tools and a common language to facilitate action. This report should be on the meeting table from Day One of every corridor project.”

Martin Knight, Managing Director Knight Architects

The analysis of the extent of linear corridors and the parcels they create is interesting. The sentiment of multiuse and using linear corridors for so much more is spot on.”

Gareth Collins, Director, Urban Design Roads and Waterways, Transport for NSW

Hassell’s report sets out the importance of creating corridors for wildlife as well as people. Transforming urban streets intentionally into buzzing, wriggling wildlife corridors will help humans reconnect with nature and address many enormous social, environmental and economic problems in our cities and beyond.”

— Emma Cutting, Founder and Chief Doer, The Heart Gardening Project

This report shows us the key role corridors play in our towns and cities. Crucially, it highlights an opportunity to rethink our old urban motorway corridors that have severed communities and destroyed nature. Change, however, may be on the way, through the increasing use of Vision and Validate, a traffic modelling technique that shows us a better, more sustainable, way to turn these fast roads into walkable streets.”

— David Milner, Deputy Director, Create Streets

We often think of the benefits of better connecting A with B; but less of the disbenefits for those wanting to move differently. A one-dimensional approach like this does not deliver the places we need, so I welcome this illuminating investigation into corridors that helps us view movement channels through the lens of urban and environmental ecosystems to design better places.”

— Christopher Martin, Co-founder, Urban Movement

Register for a copy of the full report, Corridors: Designing linear infrastructure in a non-linear world.


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