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Acorn Street on Beacon Hill, Boston, Massachusetts Maps come in many sizes, scales, and shapes; many maps, depending on their scale, are designed primarily as road maps or as street maps.  A street map covers a smaller area than a road map; it is usually scaled to show the streets in a city or metro area.  The interactive, scalable street maps listed on the above menu show individual states in the USA, with their cities and towns, roads and streets, airports and seaports, and other points of interest.  Because these maps are scalable, they can zoom in to show street-level details, even on a tablet or smartphone device.  The street maps listed on the following menu show major cities in the USA and around the world.

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World City Street Maps

homes along a suburban street Streets are local roads that provide access to homes, businesses, public buildings, and institutions in a community.  In North American colonial times, streets were places for markets, social events, and celebrations, not just for foot traffic or horse-drawn vehicle traffic.  As communities grew and expanded, towns that began with only a simple main street added areas that required new streets to accommodate businesses, services, and more homes and churches.  Once the automobile was invented and became popular, streets were added and street surfaces were upgraded to meet increased traffic demands for easy access to densely-populated areas.

rain falls on an urban street Today's urban street designers realize how much well-designed streets contribute to a city's public life.  Rather than just being an artery for traffic to flow through, these newly-designed streets provide safe access to shopping, work, walking, and bicycling.  They improve home values and parking as well.  Communities are gradually reintroducing street areas that can be used as playgrounds, front yards, and sidewalk dining.  Cities are using street markings, planters, and other low-cost materials to quickly lay out projects in already-built environments.

Safety—for both young and old—is paramount in street design.  The designers must provide conditions for smooth operation of varied types of transportation.  With safety in mind, 3-D street maps have been developed to help the blind learn to negotiate busy intersections.  This mapping technology uses a 3-D printer that creates raised surfaces and different textures to indicate streets, landscaping, and sidewalks.  Touching the map helps visually impaired users to understand street and intersection layouts.

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