Complete Streets in the States: A Guide to Legislative Action

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January 2013

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Complete Streets in the States: A Guide to Legislative Action

The State Advocacy and Strategy Integration team created this Complete Streets advocacy toolkit to assist AARP state offices in successful efforts to enact state-level Complete Streets policies, while also providing information to assist in local-level advocacy efforts. AARP’s public policy supports local and state jurisdictions in the adoption and implementation of transportation plans that accommodate all users, including pedestrians and bicyclists.

Much of the nation’s work on road safety has focused on the needs of the drivers and passengers of motor vehicles, but the notion of planning for Complete Streets addresses safety from the perspective of all users. Complete Streets are designed and operated for safe, comfortable, and convenient travel by pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Such programs are augmented by transportation networks that provide a variety of services, thus allowing consumers a broad choice in how to travel safely and in line with their personal preferences, schedules, and budgets. The focus of Complete Streets initiatives has been on changing transportation agency policies and procedures so that these multimodal accommodations become a routine part of project development.

Complete Streets policies offer the opportunity to improve the travel options of people of all ages. Planning, designing, and building roads that respond to the needs of all users will provide older adults a variety of options for getting around, whether walking, taking public transportation, driving their own cars, or sharing rides with family and friends. By following a Complete Streets process, one may balance the sometimes-competing requirements of older 3 of 56 drivers and older pedestrians by slowing vehicles down where necessary, by creating an easily navigated multimodal network of streets, and by improving visibility.