Policy Elements - Complete Streets


The streets in our towns and cities play a significant role in the livability of our communities. Communities should be safe and livable for all residents regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation. Instituting a Complete Streets policy ensures that our streets are fit for all road users. Though there is not a definitive definition of a complete street yet, the National Complete Streets Coalition has identified 10 essential elements of a comprehensive Complete Streets policy. This section of the Smart Growth America website outlines these 10 elements and provides useful information to assist communities with establishing, implementing, and evaluate a successful Complete Streets policy.

Key Points

The National Complete Streets Coalition has studied and analyzed Complete Streets policies across the country and has established a list of 10 elements that should be featured in a community’s Complete Streets policy.

An effective Complete Streets policy should:

  • Include a vision for how and why the community wants to complete its streets
  • Specify that all road users include pedestrians, bicyclists, transit passengers of all ages and abilities, as well as motor vehicles
  • Apply to both new and retrofit projects
  • Clearly identify any exceptions
  • Encourage street connectivity that facilitates an integrated transportation network
  • Be adaptable
  • Promote the use of the latest and best design criteria
  • Direct that Complete Streets solutions will complement the environment of the community
  • Establish measurable performance standards
  • Include specific next steps for implementation

Readers can find more details on writing a strong, effective, and implementable policy by reviewing the Complete Streets Local Policy Workbook found here: http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/documents/cs/resources/cs-policyworkbook.pdf

How to Use

Policymakers, local officials, and community leaders should use this site to gain an understanding of the key elements of a successful Complete Streets policy. This detailed list of elements is an excellent resource that can be downloaded and used as a framework to produce a strong Complete Streets policy. Readers should visit the useful resources provided at the bottom on the site including the Complete Streets Policy Development 101: Presentation and Complete Streets Local Policy Workbook.

View full report: Policy Elements – Complete Streets

Livable Communities E-Newsletter promotion

Search Livable Communities

Enter a keyword (topic, name, state, etc.)

One in Three Americans is Now 50 or Older


Follow Us

Livability Index Widget

Livability Index

How livable is your community?

Contact Us

AARP Livable Communities

Do you have questions or suggestions? We want to hear from you. Email us at livable@aarp.org

For questions about the AARP Livability Index, please email livabilityindex@aarp.org.