APA partnered with the National Complete Streets Coalition to prepare a PAS Report on best policy and implementation practices to create complete streets. The National Policy and Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN), another project partner, developed model policies that are included in the report.

Funding for the project was provided by the Federal Highway Administration, the National Association of Realtors, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, the Ruth Mott Foundation, and NPLAN.

Complete Streets: Best Policy and Implementation Practices

Complete streets accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, transit, and cars, creating multi-modal transportation networks. But how do communities achieve complete streets? What are the policies and practices that need to be put into place?

Drawing on lessons learned from more than 30 communities around the country, this report provides insight into successful policy and implementation practices that have resulted in complete streets. Learn how to build support for complete streets, adopt a policy, and integrate complete street concepts into plans, processes, and standards. Gain insight into design issues, handling costs, and working with various stakeholders.

Case studies highlight communities that have adopted and implemented complete streets, and model policy language provides guidance to communities interested in writing and adopting a complete streets policy.

Complete Streets: Best Policy and Implementation Practices is a product of a joint APA and National Complete Streets Coalition research project on complete streets, with model policies prepared by the National Policy & Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN).

It is available to purchase in the APA Store.


Listen to a discussion on complete streets with Barbara McCann, Executive Director of The National Complete Streets Coalition, Sarah Zimmerman, Senior Staff Attorney for The National Policy and Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN), and hosted by APA's Research Associate, David Morley.

Policy Inventory

The National Complete Streets Coalition, APA's project partner on the best practices manual, recently completed an inventory of 80 complete streets policies at the state and local level as part of their work with AARP on the report, Planning Complete Streets for an Aging America.

Get the inventory



American Planning Association. Planning Advisory Service. Complete Streets. QuickNotes No. 5. www.planning.org/pas/quicknotes/pdf/QN5text.pdf

Dumbaugh, Eric. 2005. "Safe Streets, Livable Streets." Journal of the American Planning Association 71 (3): 283-300. www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a787370026~db=all~order=page

Handy, Susan, Robert Paterson, and Kent Butler. 2003. Planning for Street Connectivity: Getting from Here to There. Planning Advisory Service Report no. 515, Chicago: American Planning Association. www.planning.org/store/product/?ProductCode=BOOK_P515

Handy, Susan. 2002. "You Can Get There from Here." PAS Memo, November.

McCann, Barbara. 2005. "Complete the Streets!" Planning, May, 18-23. www.planning.org/planning/2005/may/completestreets.htm

McCann, Barbara and John LaPlante. 2008. "Complete Streets: We Can Get There From Here." ITE Journal 78 (5): 24-28. www.completestreets.org/webdocs/resources/cs-ite-may08.pdf

National Complete Streets Coalition. 2008. "Introduction to Complete Streets." PowerPoint presentation. www.smartgrowthamerica.org/documents/cs/resources/cs-intro.pptx

Transportation Alternatives. 2008. Streets to Live By: How livable street design can bring economic, health and quality-of-life benefits to New York City. http://transalt.org/files/newsroom/reports/streets_to_live_by.pdf


Institute of Transportation Engineers. 2010. Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach: An ITE Recommended Practice. Washington, D.C.: Institute of Transportation Engineers. www.ite.org/css/RP-036A-E.pdf

U.S. Access Board. Public Rights-of-Way www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/streets-sidewalks/public-rights-of-way

Victoria Transport Policy Institute. 2009. "Multi-Modal Level-of-Service (LOS) Indicators."Online TDM encyclopedia. Victoria, B.C.: Victoria Transport Policy Institute. www.vtpi.org/tdm/tdm129.htm

Design Considerations

American Planning Association. 2006. Planning and Urban Design Standards. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons. www.planning.org/store/product/?ProductCode=BOOK_RPUD

Bicycle/Pedestrian Considerations

McCann, Barbara. 2007. Inclusive Pedestrian Environments: Resources & Recommendations Project Report. Web-based resource from Project Action and Adaptive Environments. www.humancentereddesign.org/pedestrian/index.html

New Jersey Bicycle and Pedestrian Resource Center. 2008. Constructing, Maintaining, and Financing Sidewalks in New Jersey. http://njbikeped.org/portfolio/constructing-maintaining-and-financing-sidewalks-in-new-jersey/

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. 2008. Active Transportation for America: A Case for Increased Federal Investment in Bicycling and Walking. www.railstotrails.org/resourcehandler.ashx?id=2948

U.S. Department of Transportation. Federal Highway Administration. 2015. A Resident's Guide for Creating Safe and Walkable Communities. http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/PED_BIKE/ped_cmnity/ped_walkguide/

Aging Populations

Lynott, Jana, et al. Planning Complete Streets for an Aging America. May 2009. AARP Public Policy Institute. Washington, D.C. www.aarp.org/research/housing-mobility/transportation/2009_02_streets.html

Complete Streets Policy Inventory and Evaluation (Appendix A) http://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/il/2009_02_streets_5.pdf


Safe Routes to School National Partnership. 2008. Safe Routes to School Improves the Built Environment. A Report prepared for the Centers for Disease Control. http://saferoutespartnership.org/sites/default/files/pdf/SRTS_built_environment_lo-res.pdf


Sanchez, Thomas W., et al. 2007. The Right to Transportation: Moving to Equity. Chicago: Planners Press.www.planning.org/store/product/?ProductCode=BOOK_A64293

Szold, Terry S. 2002. "What Difference Has the ADA Made?" Planning, April, 10-15. www.planning.org/planning/2002/apr/ADA.htm

Public Transit

Transportation Research Board. National Cooperative Highway Research Program. 2008. NCHRP Report 616: Multimodal Level of Service Analysis for Urban Streets. http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrp_rpt_616.pdf

Health Aspects

Frank, Lawrence D., James F. Sallis, Terry L. Conway, James E. Chapman, Brian E. Saelens, and William Bachman. 2006. "Many Pathways from Land Use to Health: Associations between Neighborhood Walkability and Active Transportation, Body Mass Index, and Air Quality." Journal of the American Planning Association 72 (1) 75-87. www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a787384888~db=all~order=page

Morris, Marya. 2006. Planning Active Communities. Planning Advisory Service Report no. 543/544. Chicago: American Planning Association. www.planning.org/store/product/?ProductCode=BOOK_P543

Sallis, James F., and Karen Glanz. 2006. "The Role of Built Environments in Physical Activity, Eating, and Obesity in Childhood." Future of Children 16 (1): 89-108. http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ795891.pdf

Examples and Implementation

Massachusetts Highway Department. 2006. Project Development and Design Guide. Boston: Massachusetts Highway Department. www.massdot.state.ma.us/highway/DoingBusinessWithUs/ManualsPublicationsForms/

Charlotte (North Carolina), City of. 2007. Urban Street Design Guidelines.http://charmeck.org/city/charlotte/Transportation/PlansProjects/pages/

Metropolitan Transportation Commission. 2006. Routine Accommodation of Pedestrians and Bicyclists in the Bay Area: Results from Interviews with Transportation Professionals and Recommendations to Encourage Routine Accommodation. Oakland, Cal.: Metropolitan Transportation Commission. http://apps.mtc.ca.gov/meeting_packet_documents/agenda_668

Recently Introduced Legislation

State of California. Assembly Bill 1358. California Complete Streets Act of 2008. www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/07-08/bill/asm/ab_1351-1400/ab_1358_bill_20080930_chaptered.pdf

H.R. 1443: Complete Streets Act of 2009 www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-1443

S. 584: Complete Streets Act of 2009 www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-584

Web Links to Project Partners

National Complete Streets Coalition: www.completestreets.org

National Policy and Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN): www.nplanonline.org