How strong is your Complete Streets policy? Use our Policy Evaluation tool to find out

The National Complete Streets Coalition evaluates and scores Complete Streets policies across the country using our Policy Framework. Now, advocates and policymakers can do the same, using our free and open-source tool to evaluate existing or drafted local, MPO, or state-level Complete Streets policies.

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Complete Streets policies are a community’s formal commitment to fund, plan for, construct, operate, and maintain their streets so they are safer and more accessible for all users—but not all policies are created equally.

Over the last decade, the National Complete Streets Coalition has tracked, evaluated, and reported on the status of Complete Streets policies across the country. As of our latest Best Complete Streets Report, there were over 1700 policies across the country from towns and villages to metropolitan planning organizations and state departments of transportation.

Policy adoption is a critical moment for communities in their Complete Streets journeys, but we also know that stronger policies translate into meaningful changes on the ground quickly and equitably. Complete Streets policies can outlive local champions and elected leaders who may be working tirelessly today to improve safety on the streets of their communities. They can provide important accountability for both advocates and practitioners, providing a roadmap to a better mobility future.

That’s why we felt it was important to put an easily accessible version of our scoring tool into the hands of advocates and policy-makers, to create improvements where possible in the policies that exist today, and to start strong for those in the process of being drafted.

Use the Complete Streets Policy Evaluation Tool

“Strong Complete Streets policies will ensure that transportation infrastructure is designed for everyone, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities,” said Tim Morstad, AARP Government Affairs Director. “AARP has a long history of advocating for the adoption of Complete Streets policies across the country, and we look forward to incorporating the new online Complete Streets Policy Evaluation tool into our efforts to meet the needs of older adults in our communities.”

Evaluating the strength of your policy

One of the questions we are routinely asked and want communities to continue asking as they think about adopting new policies or revising old ones is, “What exactly goes into an effective and strong Complete Streets policy?”. The Complete Streets Policy Evaluation tool helps communities evaluate and score policies on a 100-point scale using our 10 Element Policy Framework:

  1. Establishes commitment and vision
  2. Prioritizes underinvested and underserved communities
  3. Applies to all projects and phases
  4. Allows only clear exceptions
  5. Mandates coordination
  6. Adopts excellent design guidance
  7. Requires proactive land-use planning
  8. Measures progress
  9. Sets criteria for choosing projects
  10. Creates a plan for implementation

Each of the 10 elements is made up of multiple sub-criteria that a policy is evaluated against to add up to a total of 100 points. The tool requires the evaluator to look closely at the policy language to identify parts that sufficiently incorporate the actions and processes (or not) as described under each sub-criteria and score accordingly.

Once the evaluator scores each of the 10 elements, the tool will show a summary page with information including:

  • The final total score out of 100 possible points
  • Where your policy score stands in comparison to other policies in your state
  • Strengths or weaknesses of each of the 10 elements
  • Option to download a pdf. summary report to share with other relevant partners

Note: This tool is meant to be an evaluation resource for Complete Streets champions. Scores received through this resource should not be considered an official policy score from Smart Growth America. If you have questions or want to request an official policy scoring from our team, please reach out to us at [email protected].

Have questions? Check out our FAQs. Use the Complete Streets Policy Evaluation Tool


This Policy Evaluation Tool was developed with support from AARP. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of AARP.

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