A Complete Street is safe, and feels safe, for everyone using the street. The goal of Complete Streets is to offer an equitable, comfortable, connected, and safe transportation network that serves pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation users, children, older individuals, individuals with disabilities, motorists, and freight vehicles. Complete Streets are designed with the safety and comfort of all road users, as well as the natural and human environment, in mind. To achieve this, planning, implementation, and evaluation efforts prioritize safety, connectivity, equity, and sustainability throughout the transportation network.
Building Complete Streets involves planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, and operating roadways and public rights-of-way with all users in mind to make the transportation network safer. While Complete Streets use a multimodal approach that factors in a variety of transportation modes (walking, biking, rolling, driving, ridesharing, transit, freight delivery, and more), there is no one-size-fits-all approach for Complete Streets. What a Complete Street looks like in practice will vary depending on community context and needs. It is not always possible to accommodate all modes on a single street due to right-of-way constraints, so a practical approach to Complete Streets also focuses broadly on building Complete Networks to provide connectivity for different modes of travel. Complete Networks may use parallel routes to facilitate access that variously prioritizes different modes throughout an area while ensuring the safety of all roadway users. Creating Complete Streets also requires safety data analysis and safety countermeasure identification and implementation.
Complete Streets is a key component of FHWA’s implementation of the Safe System Approach, which is the framework of the USDOT’s new comprehensive National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS) setting an ethical imperative that no one should die or be seriously injured while using the street network. The NRSS provides concrete steps that the Department will take to address this crisis systemically and prevent roadway deaths and serious injuries.
Complete Streets have potential benefits in the following areas:
Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL)
Section 11206 of the BIL, defines Complete Streets standards or policies as those which “ensure the safe and adequate accommodation of all users of the transportation system, including pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation users, children, older individuals, individuals with disabilities, motorists, and freight vehicles.” This section of the BIL requires that States and metropolitan planning organizations use not less than 2.5 percent of their planning and research funds for Complete Streets activities that will increase safe and accessible transportation options. Guidance is under development and will be posted here soon.