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What are Complete Streets?
Complete Streets are streets for everyone. They are designed and managed to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities.Learn more about the basics
Where are Complete Streets?
Over 1,600 Complete Streets policies have been passed in the United States, including those adopted by 35 state governments, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.Where are Complete Streets policies?
Distance learning: in-depth education about Complete Streets
As part of the Complete Streets, Complete Communities Distance Learning Series, we offer seven introductory-level modules designed for public health and transportation professionals to learn about how to influence community health outcomes through local and regional transportation policies and practices.
Learn more and enroll
- Module 1: Introduction to Complete Streets
- Module 2: Built Environment & Health Equity
- Module 3: Inclusive Community Engagement for Health Equity
- Module 4: Building Coalitions for Health Equity
- Module 5: Creating Safer Streets: Quick Builds
- Module 6: Six Lessons for Effective Communication
- Module 7: Transportation for Rural Communities
Original research and reporting
Learn more about Complete Streets by reading these core, foundational reports from Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition:
Safer Streets, Stronger Economies
What do communities get for their investments in Complete Streets? In this study of 37 projects, Smart Growth America found that Complete Streets projects tended to improve safety for everyone, increased biking and walking, and showed a mix of increases and decreases in automobile traffic, depending in part on the project goal. Compared to conventional transportation projects, these projects were remarkably affordable and were an inexpensive way to achieve transportation goals.
In this tight budget climate, transportation staff and elected leaders want to get the most out of every dollar. This research shows how Complete Streets projects can help them do just that. Read more >>>
Dangerous by Design
It has been more than a decade since the first edition of Dangerous by Design, and the problem of pedestrian safety has only gotten worse. Dangerous by Design 2022 takes a closer look at the alarming epidemic of people struck and killed while walking, which are up by a staggering 62 percent since they began steadily rising in 2009. The report finds that 6,529 people were struck and killed while walking in 2020, an average of nearly 18 per day, and a 4.7 percent increase over 2019, even as driving decreased overall because of the pandemic’s unprecedented disruptions to travel behavior. Learn more about how our streets are Dangerous by Design and prioritize speed over safety. Read more >>>
Best Complete Streets Policies
Our most recent annual evaluation of Complete Streets policies (those passed in 2018) was the first to use a new and improved framework that elevates both equity and implementation to grade policies and puts a new emphasis on translating policy into practice and making sure that everyone—and particularly people in low-income areas and communities of color—will benefit. Read more >>>
I know the basics—let’s take it to the next level
Toolkits: Perform a walk audit
1) What’s a walk audit?
A walk audit is an incredibly powerful way to assess the walkability of the sidewalks and streets in their community. Watch this video to get a basic introduction to the concept of walk audits
2) How to do a walk audit of your own:
This full kit from our friends at AARP provides step-by-step instructions and checklists for examining intersections, sidewalks, driver behavior, public safety and more. Once completed the documented results can be shared with elected officials and other local leaders when advocating for such safe streets features as sidewalks, crosswalks and properly timed traffic lights.View the AARP walk audit kit
More complex research from SGA and NCSC
Take the next step with more sophisticated research and reports from Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition:
Building Healthy and Prosperous Communities
Places that have made biking and walking from place to place a safe, convenient, and enticing choice have produced positive impacts on businesses, jobs, and revenue. When it’s safer and more convenient for people to walk or bicycle as part of their regular routine, more people get the amount of physical activity that science proves they need to reduce their risk of certain chronic diseases. How have regions successfully brought these projects to fruition? How are they integrating them into the processes of choosing what to build? How are they upending perhaps decades of radically different priorities to make these types of projects the norm? This guidebook from our Transportation for America program tells these stories in detail. Read more >>>
Hundreds of companies across the United States are moving to and investing in walkable downtown locations. As job migration shifts towards cities and as commercial real estate values climb in these places, a vanguard of American companies are building and expanding in walkable downtown neighborhoods. Why are companies choosing these places? What are the competitive advantages they see in these locations? And what features do they look for when choosing a new location?
Core Values: Why American Companies are Moving Downtown examines the characteristics, motives, and preferences of companies that have either relocated, opened new offices, or expanded in walkable downtowns between 2010 and 2015. Read more >>>
Foot Traffic Ahead
Foot Traffic Ahead 2023 ranks the top 35 metro areas by their walkable urbanism using an index that considers premiums in commercial rents, multifamily rental rates, and for-sale home prices. The report also provides policymakers with recommendations on how to increase both the supply of and access to equitable, walkable urban development while safeguarding affordability and providing benefits such as improving community health, lowering emissions by reducing car use, and advancing equity by bringing access to economic opportunity.
Read recent posts related to the Champions Institute
The third cohort of Smart Growth America’s Champions Institute recently wrapped up. What have Champions gained from the past three years, and what progress is yet to come? We touched base with past Champions to find out.
We recently concluded the third year of the Active People, Healthy Nation℠ Champions Institute, where a cohort of committed elected leaders from 10 states across the country worked to implement and advocate for activity-friendly communities. Learn about what they were able to accomplish.