Complete Streets Resources

Complete Streets are streets for everyone. They are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Complete Streets make it easy to cross the street, walk to shops, and bicycle to work. Learn more from the National Complete Streets Coalition.

Plan4Health: Building Healthy Streets with ChangeLab Solutions
This webinar provides an overview of two new resources. In the Road Signs Pedcast (a “walking podcast”), you’ll hear from people on the ground who are building safe and active streets. Each episode discusses one transportation tool that promotes community health. In this first episode, learn about an approach to making existing streets safer—a road diet—with a story from Oakland, California. A Guide to Building Healthy Streets can help you turn a Complete Streets policy into action! This resource discusses five key steps for effective Complete Streets implementation, highlighting the unique role public health staff can play during each step.

Complete Streets with Smart Growth America
This webinar will discuss how a policy can fit the local built and policy environments, the ten elements needed for a comprehensive Complete Streets policy, best practice examples, and specific steps to complete and adopt the policy (with approximate timelines). The first 30 minutes of the webinar will focus on Complete Streets basics. More advanced content will be presented at 3:30 and the Q&A Ask-the-Expert session and group discussion will begin at 4:00 pm. Please join one or all portions of the presentation.

Learning objectives

  • Briefly review what Complete Streets are and are not, and how they help achieve multiple community goals
  • Consider policy types and the 10 elements of effective Complete Streets policies
  • Identify local Complete Streets goals and broad performance measures
  • Identify real and perceived barriers to Complete Streets implementation and discuss solutions


  • Beth Osborn, Senior Policy Advisor with Transportation for America

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Toolkits, Fact Sheets and Support

Complete Streets Toolkit
This toolkit is the result of a collaboration between the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Active Transportation Alliance, and the National Complete Streets Coalition.  It is a guide for incorporating a Complete Streets approach into local planning, design, and construction processes and documents.

Voices for Health Kids Complete Streets Toolkit
This toolkit is a compilation of facts, sample materials, and guidance on how to build, engage, and mobilize a social change movement in your state or community on this critical issue.  The toolkit is wrapped together by a unique theme designed to maximize interest and action to create and support a healthy learning environment for kids.  Together with a collection of parallel toolkits on other proven social change strategies to help kids live more active, healthful lives, we want to help focus and energize advocates around the country. To receive access to the toolkit, click here.

Complete Streets: Active Transportation, Safety and Mobility for Individuals of All Ages and Abilities
The complete streets movement aims to develop an interconnected street network that is accessible and safe for users of all ages, abilities and modes of transportation. Complete streets support not only changes to community streets but also a shift in the decision-making process and policies.

PACE Design Review Assistance for Transit
Pace offers complementary in-house technical review under its Design Review Assistance For Transit (D.R.A.F.T.) program. Developers and designers can participate in the program voluntarily, though municipalities may require Pace review as a part of local development review. These reviews are conducted by Pace’s Transportation Engineer and are designed to promote the incorporation of public transportation features in suburban developments. The provision of transit service also is analyzed during this plan review process.

Team Better Block
Team Better Block works with cities, developers, and stakeholders to create quick, inexpensive, high-impact changes that improve and revitalize underused properties and highlight the potential for creating great “Complete Streets”.

The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2014
This report evaluates the language of Complete Streets policies based on the 10 ideal elements promoted by the National Complete Streets Coalition and recognizes those communities that have integrated best practices into their own policy documents. This report focuses on how well-written policy language adopted to date compares to the Coalition’s ten elements of an ideal policy.

Complete Streets Work in Rural Communities
By planning, designing, and constructing Complete Streets, communities of all sizes – whether
rural hamlets, small towns, or booming metropolises – are able to provide the quality access to
jobs, health care, shops, and schools their residents deserve, while also achieving greater
economic, environmental, and public health benefits. A Complete Streets approach can provide a
more effective and balanced transportation system for the nearly 49 million Americans who live in
rural areas and small towns.

Implementing Complete Streets: Rural Communities & Small Towns
Rural communities and small towns benefit from Complete Streets policies that give them
a voice in state transportation planning. Policies provide a systematic way for town leaders to
exercise increased control in choosing the among transportation investment options that best
fit their locale’s character and provide residents and visitors options in accessing jobs, shops,
health care, and schools.

Integrating Safety in the Rural Transportation Planning Process
This Technical Report provides methods for integrating safety into each step of the RPO planning and programming process, to assist in addressing rural roads multimodal safety needs.

Active Transportation Beyond Urban Centers Report
This report demonstrates that, in fact, active transportation is a part of life even far beyond urban centers. From tiny Burlington, Wyo. (pop. 250), to Elvis’ hometown in Tupelo, Miss. (pop. 39,000), kids, seniors and working people walk and bicycle at rates that are not so different from what you find in metropolitan areas.

Putting Smart Growth to Work in Rural Communities
This report focuses on smart growth strategies that can help guide growth in rural areas while protecting natural and working lands and preserving the rural character of existing communities.

Streets Built to Share from Voices for Healthy Kids
This resource offers tips and best practices for Complete Streets messaging.

Design Guides

Urban Bikeway Design Guide
The purpose of the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide (part of the Cities for Cycling initiative) is to provide cities with state-of-the-practice solutions that can help create complete streets that are safe and enjoyable for bicyclists.

Urban Street Design Guide
A blueprint for designing 21st century streets, the Guide unveils the toolbox and the tactics cities use to make streets safer, more livable, and more economically vibrant. The Guide outlines both a clear vision for complete streets and a basic road map for how to bring them to fruition.

CNU/INT Manual: Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares
This manual acts as a how-to document that illustrates best practices for the creation and implementation of walkable, mixed-use streets.

Complete Streets Local Policy Workbook
In this workbook, you will find explanations of the various forms a Complete Streets policy may take and the elements of an ideal Complete Streets policy. We describe each element of an ideal policy and provide sample language that may inspire your own efforts. We also ask probing questions to help you write the best policy for your community.

Transit Street Design Guide
The Transit Street Design Guide provides design guidance for the development of transit facilities on city streets, and for the design and engineering of city streets to prioritize transit, improve transit service quality, and support other goals related to transit. The guide has been developed on the basis of other design guidance, as well as city case studies, best practices in urban environments, research and evaluation of existing designs, and professional consensus. These sources, as well as the specific designs and elements included in the guide, are based on North American street design practice.

Data and Evaluation

Evaluating Complete Streets Projects
This resource, meant for agencies interested in but just beginning their project evaluation efforts, intends to:

  • Provide general steps to take in evaluating projects.
  • Discuss useful measures for common Complete Streets goals of access, economy, environment, equity, place, public health, and safety, and the metrics that a jurisdiction may use.
  • Offer a few tips for using those measures to tell the story of a project once it is completed.
  • Share further resources for those ready to dive deeper into the why and how of performance measurement for Complete Streets.

Evaluating Complete Streets
This report discusses reasons to implement complete streets and how it relates to other planning innovations. Complete streets can provide many direct and indirect benefits including improved accessibility for non-drivers, user savings and affordability, energy conservation and emission reductions, improved community livability, improved public fitness and health, and support for strategic development objectives such as urban redevelopment and reduced sprawl. Net benefits depend on the latent demand for alternative modes and more compact development, and the degree that complete street projects integrate with other planning reforms such as smart growth, New Urbanism and transportation demand management

Evaluating Complete Streets Projects: A guide for practitioners
New strategies for transportation require new measurements of success. Over the last decade, the National Complete Streets Coalition has promoted the use of performance measures that reflect multimodal needs and that are relevant to all individuals using the system. Evaluating Complete Streets Projects: A guide for practitioners is an introduction to this approach.

Livable Communities, An Evaluation Guide
The purpose of this Livable Communities Evaluation Guide is to encourage us to take a new look at the community or neighborhood in which we now live. Although this guide is written from the perspective of older persons, the features and services discussed promote livability for persons of all ages and abilities. The intent is not to “grade” or rank communities, but rather to help residents identify areas where they can direct their energies toward making their community more livable for themselves and others. Livability will only become a reality in our individual communities and neighborhoods if citizens actively take charge and move to bring about key changes.

Mark Fenton’s Tips on Leading a Walk Audit
Walk audits (or walkabouts) are facilitated walks for an interdisciplinary group of community stakeholders, often led by a design expert, with the following potential goals:

  •  Education. Guides people to experience and assess the physical activity and healthy eating “friendliness” of an area, not just look at it theoretically.
  • Inspiration. Helps leaders and policy makers to explore what could be possible.
  • Practical planning. Outstanding way to get everyone–professionals and not– actively involved in project or policy development, valuing each person’s input

Making the Case for Complete Streets

Safer Streets, Stronger Economies
What do communities get for their investments in Complete Streets? In this study of 37 projects, Smart Growth America found that Complete Streets projects tended to improve safety for everyone, increased biking and walking, and showed a mix of increases and decreases in automobile traffic, depending in part on the project goal. Compared to conventional transportation projects, these projects were remarkably affordable, and were an inexpensive way to achieve transportation goals. In terms of economic returns, the limited data available suggests Complete Streets projects were related to broader economic gains like increased employment and higher property values.

Creating Equitable, Healthy, and Sustainable Communities: Strategies for Advancing Smart Growth, Environmental Justice, and Equitable Development
This resource aims to build on past successes and offer low-income, minority, tribal, and overburdened communities approaches to shape development that respond to their needs and reflect their values. It provides a menu of land use and community design strategies that bring together smart growth, environmental justice, and equitable development principles and that community-based organizations, local and regional decision-makers, developers, and others can use to revitalize their communities.

Our Built and Natural Environments: A Technical Review of the Interactions Between Land Use, Transportation, and Environmental Quality (2nd Edition)
Decisions about how and where we build our communities have significant impacts on the natural environment and on human health. Cities, regions, states, and the private sector need information about the environmental effects of their land use and transportation decisions to mitigate growth-related environmental impacts and to improve community quality of life and human health.