In the next 20 years, almost 20 percent of the U.S. population will be 65 or older. As the older adult population grows, the need for transportation services and options that accommodate their changing mobility needs is critical. AARP produced this fact sheet to discuss the concept of “Complete Streets” as an opportunity to make community roads safe and accessible for walkers, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities.
The fact sheet provides a snapshot of the concept and principles of complete streets, the elements of an effective complete streets policy, the ingredients of a complete streets plan, and the benefits of complete streets for all residents in the community. Sidewalks, bike lanes, plenty of crosswalks, special bus lanes, and audible pedestrian signals, among other things, can be implemented to make streets complete and safer for all road users. “Complete streets in rural areas look quite different from complete streets in urban areas. But both are designed to balance safety and convenience for everyone using the road.”
Other report highlights include:
- According to recent opinion polls, 55 percent of Americans would prefer to drive less and walk more.
- About one-third of Americans do not drive, therefore complete streets are essential for providing them with mobility options.
- Complete streets improve pedestrian safety and encourage physical activity by making walking and biking viable transportation options.
- An effective complete streets policy recognizes the importance of flexibility in designing complete streets. Certain streets require different features to meet the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists in the area.
This fact sheet offers guidance for any community looking to make its streets safer and more accessible for all residents regardless of age or ability. It outlines complete street ideas at the end of the fact sheet that can be incorporated into a community’s complete streets plan. This fact sheet is a useful resource and guide that can be utilized in planning complete streets at a local level.
How to Use
The fact sheet offers a high-level of discussion regarding the concept of “Complete Streets,” how to establish and implement a complete streets plan and policy, and the benefits of complete streets that enhance a community’s livability. Planners and local government officials can use this fact sheet to gain a better understanding of the role complete streets play in making streets safer and more accessible for all community residents. Planners, in particular, can use this fact sheet to determine the complete streets features that are most appropriate for their area; local officials can use it to better understand the elements of an effective complete streets policy.
View full report: Mobility Agenda Fact Sheet – 2008 (PDF – 207 KB)