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Complete Streets in the States


By 2025, nearly 62 million Americans will be over the age of 65. To meet the changing transportation needs of this increasing older population, measures must be taken to improve the quality, design and accessibility of our nation’s transportation networks. Implementing statewide Complete Streets policies is an effective way to begin improving these networks. Complete Streets are designed to provide safe, convenient and comfortable travel conditions for pedestrians, motorists, bicyclists and transit users of all ages and abilities. The State Advocacy and Strategy Integration team created this Complete Streets advocacy toolkit to assist AARP state offices in their efforts to enact state-level Complete Streets policies. It provides guidance and resources that can be used in a statewide Complete Streets policy including model legislative language to advocate for Complete Streets, comments on existing state legislation related to Complete Streets, and insights into how certain states are working toward implementing effective Complete Streets policies.

Key Points

This toolkit offers guidance for any state looking to implement an effective Complete Streets policy. It outlines the elements and components that make up a comprehensive Complete Streets policy, starting with a clear vision for how and why a community wants to complete its streets. A Complete Streets policy should also include performance standards with measurable goals and outcomes and detailed next steps for implementation. To establish an effective Complete Streets policy that will work for the entire community, it is vital to form a broad coalition of different constituents to advocate for Complete Streets.

The 18 state legislatures that have adopted Complete Streets laws are examined in this toolkit. Each state’s Complete Streets law is scored in accordance with the National Complete Streets Coalition’s policy analysis methodology. Of the states examined in the toolkit, Minnesota’s state law has the highest score with a 64.4 out of a possible 100. After the state’s score is calculated, the toolkit discusses the positive components of each state’s law, as well as the drawbacks and elements that need improvement.

How to Use

Community planners and local officials can use this toolkit to better understand the legislative elements of an effective Complete Streets policy and how to best implement such policies. By studying what other areas have done to plan for Complete Streets, community planners and local officials can learn from their progress and adopt similar policies that are tailored to meet the specific needs of their community. It is important for planners and officials to remember that each community is different and they will need to customize their Complete Streets policy to meet the needs their specific community.

View full report: Complete Streets in the States (PDF – 442 KB)

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