The Ten Elements of a Complete Streets Policy

To ensure that communities of all income levels and ethnicities benefit from complete streets equitably, the National Complete Streets Coalition released updated guidance for Complete Streets policies.

Regardless of a policy’s form, the National Complete Streets Coalition has identified ten elements of a comprehensive Complete Streets policy, as discussed below.

An ideal Complete Streets policy:

  • Includes a vision for how and why the community wants to complete its streets
  • Specifies that ‘all users’ includes pedestrians, bicyclists and transit passengers of all ages and abilities, as well as trucks, buses and automobiles
  • Applies to both new and retrofit projects, including design, planning, maintenance, and operations, for the entire right of way
  • Makes any exceptions specific and sets a clear procedure that requires high-level approval of exceptions
  • Encourages street connectivity and aims to create a comprehensive, integrated, connected network for all modes
  • Is adoptable by all agencies to cover all roads
  • Directs the use of the latest and best design criteria and guidelines while recognizing the need for flexibility in balancing user needs
  • Directs that Complete Streets solutions will complement the context of the community
  • Establishes performance standards with measurable outcomes
  • Includes specific next steps for implementation of the policy