Three states selected for the 2022 Complete Streets Leadership Academies

After a competitive application process, the National Complete Streets Coalition is launching three Complete Streets Leadership Academies with the states of California, Connecticut, and Tennessee. All three states have partnered with three local jurisdictions each for participation in their academy, where they will learn about Complete Street best practices, improve cross-jurisdictional coordination, and plan and implement “quick-build” temporary demonstration projects on state-owned roads.

“We are so excited about this collaboration between three states and their local partners and state health agencies on Complete Streets,” said Beth Osborne, Vice President for Transportation and Thriving Communities at Smart Growth America. “Piloting innovative short-term safety improvements on state roads is a powerful way to institutionalize a Complete Streets approach. We are looking forward to holding these states up as models to their peers around the country.”

These Complete Streets Leadership Academies are free, several-month technical assistance programs designed to help state departments of transportation (DOTs), state health partners, and three localities within the state work together and build skills to transform streets into safer and healthier places. Through a series of virtual and in-person workshops, the state and localities will learn about Complete Streets implementation and identify policy barriers and strategies for coordinating across numerous jurisdictions, all while planning and implementing “quick-build” temporary street safety demonstration projects.  

This year, unlike previous years, we are launching not one, not two but three leadership academies in California, Connecticut, and Tennessee. The State DOTs, which have already engaged in Complete streets work, will push their efforts further through partnerships with three local jurisdictions each.

  • California has strengthened their commitment to Complete Streets in recent years including adoption of a Director’s Policy on Complete Streets, developing decision making procedures and dedicated funding targets. Their cohort includes the City of Berkeley, City of San Leandro and City of South San Francisco.
  • Connecticut is working to reduce pedestrian and bicyclist risk and injuries in their state. They are hoping to build stronger relationships, find new ways to evaluate the effectiveness of safety treatments, and identify strategies to implement safety projects more quickly and responsively. Their cohort includes the City of Waterbury, City of Bristol and City of Middletown.
  • Tennessee has made great strides to improve their focus on multimodal users and safety in the last few years including the creation of the Multimodal Access Policy requiring every TDOT project to consider multimodal infrastructure and their recent Statewide Active Transportation Plan. Tennessee’s cohort includes the City of Memphis, Metro Nashville (Davidson County) and the City of Chattanooga.

Each local jurisdiction will engage a cohort of approximately 10 city or county staff, engineers, planners, public health practitioners, community advocates, and other related professionals to attend the workshop sessions and help plan their demonstration projects.

This year, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) committed to working with state, regional, tribal, and local agencies to advance the widespread implementation of the Complete Streets Design Model to improve safety and accessibility for all users. These Leadership Academies will be opportunities for the participating states to work with their local jurisdictions to align their policies with these new federal requirements and identify barriers to implementation.

Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition are extremely thrilled to partner with these states and local communities that have shown great enthusiasm and strong commitment to advancing the work to build activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations in their communities. We are confident that the outcomes of the academies will be great examples to uphold for the rest of the country.


These Complete Streets Leadership Academies are supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under cooperative agreement OT18-1802 supporting the Active People, Healthy NationSM Initiative, a national initiative led by the CDC to help 27 million Americans become more physically active by 2027. Learn more.

Complete Streets DOT Innovation Technical assistance Transportation