Should every street be designed for fast-moving cars?

complete-streetHelping cars drive fast isn’t always the most important thing. Photo by Derek Severson via Streetsblog.

Back in April, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) proposed new requirements for how states and metro areas will have to measure traffic congestion — the first time the agency has ever proposed such a requirement.

Measuring what America’s transportation dollars actually buy us is a great move. But the rule as it’s currently written would measure success in outdated ways, prioritizing fast driving speeds over all other modes of transportation and their associated benefits.

This rule is particularly disappointing in light of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx’s admirable efforts to improve Americans’ access to economic opportunity through better transportation options and to make streets safer for everyone no matter how they travel. Those are worthy goals, and passing the rule as currently written would be a missed opportunity to achieve them.

Not every street should designed for fast-moving cars. Join us in telling USDOT to change their proposed rule:


This rule as it’s currently written makes driving fast the ultimate goal of a transportation system, regardless of what type of road you’re on. Wider roads and higher vehicle speeds can undermine a community’s economic vitality, result in more dangerous conditions for all users—especially for people walking and biking—and create new barriers that restrict access to opportunity. Should driving fast be the priority on main streets where people might be shopping or dining at an outdoor café? Should that be the priority in residential neighborhoods where children might be biking or walking? Of course not.

Streets should be designed and operated to enable safe access for all users, no matter their age, race, ability, or how they choose to travel. That’s what a Complete Streets approach is all about. This rule is an important opportunity for USDOT to achieve those goals – but only if it changes what we consider “success.”

Speak out for streets that are safe and convenient for everyone: tell Secretary Foxx to improve USDOT’s proposed rule today.

Complete Streets