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America Needs Complete Streets – 2011


Research shows that half of all non-drivers age 65+, over 3 million Americans, stay at home on a given day due to lack of transportation. This ITE Journal report, produced by the Institute of Transportation Engineers, discusses the concept of complete streets to make communities more livable by focusing on improved safety and accessibility for all community residents.

Key Points

The report outlines the elements of a complete streets policy that planners and local officials can use to establish complete streets in their communities. Such policy elements include a vision for how and why the community wants to implement complete streets, a focus on street connectivity, an understanding of flexible planning that incorporates the needs of all road users, and a set of performance standards with measurable outcomes. Complete streets make transportation by foot, bicycle, and public transit viable options for accessing community resources and getting to key destinations.

Complete streets offer a number of social, economic, environmental, and health-related benefits to communities like increased physical activity among residents; reduced air pollution caused by automobiles; enhanced community engagement, particularly for senior residents; and reduced pedestrian fatalities. Additionally, the report addresses the obstacles and risks associated with implementing complete streets such as traditional planning practices and policies that focus on automobile travel over alternative modes of transportation. The main goal of complete streets is to allow for multimodal transportation that is safe and accessible for road users of all ages.

How to Use

Planners, community leaders, and local officials can use this report to gain an understanding of how to establish and implement complete streets policies, as well as the positive impact complete streets can have on community livability and individual quality of life. This report provides a useful resource for planners and local officials looking for ways to enhance community safety through improved mobility options for all residents.

View full report: America Needs Complete Streets – 2011 (PDF – 140 KB)

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