New data show few states require specific action for implementation of Complete Streets policies
Nearly half of all US states have mandatory Complete Streets policies, according to new data published today to LawAtlas.org.
Many states agree on whom the policy should protect: Of the 24 jurisdictions with mandatory Complete Streets policies on July 1, 2020, all address bicyclists, pedestrians, and public transit users, and the majority require consideration for individuals of all ages and abilities. But efforts to expedite or ensure implementation vary:
- One-third of the jurisdictions (seven states and the District of Columbia) with mandatory policies include provisions that establish a deadline for implementation of the policy.
- Fewer than half (10 states and the District of Columbia) indicate that existing street design guidelines be revised to include Complete Streets elements.
- New construction will trigger the policy in almost all jurisdictions with mandatory policies. In contrast, maintenance projects will trigger the policy in only 14 such jurisdictions
- Thirteen jurisdictions with mandatory policies include performance measures meant to track implementation success in the policy, but the vast majority do not specify what exactly those performance measures should be. Only Indiana includes the numbers of injuries or deaths as a required performance measure in its policy.
- Sixteen jurisdictions require that justification be provided as a part of the policy's exemption process. Only four jurisdictions require that justification be made publicly available.
- Twenty-three jurisdictions have policies that assign a specific entity to oversee the implementation.
"These data offer a nuanced look at Complete Streets policies in the United States, and are an important first step in filling a much-needed gap in our understanding about whether these policies are actually addressing the dangerous conditions for pedestrians, cyclists and users of public transit," said Adam Lustig, the manager of the Promoting Health & Cost Control in States initiative at Trust for America's Health, which is the umbrella project for these data.
"Complete Streets policies can provide a framework to shift roadway infrastructure design to consider the needs of all users, but they need to be evidence based. We can't provide effective guidance to policymakers without research."
The Promoting Health and Cost Control in States initiative's legal data resources are a collaboration with the Temple University Center for Public Health Law Research with Trust for America's Health and support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Complete Streets dataset is the third in a series of datasets on laws and policies that can support cost-savings for states and promote health and well-being.
Access the Complete Streets dataset on LawAtlas.org.