Complete Streets Policies and Public Transit

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

land use - planning, land use - urban design, place - north america, mode - bike, mode - bus, mode - pedestrian


complete streets, street design, transit


The concept that streets should be designed for all applicable transportation modes is commonly known as “complete streets.” Many organizations, including cities, counties, regional authorities, and state agencies, have adopted programs encouraging this approach to street design. These programs almost universally consider the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians. However, it is not understood how well transit vehicles and riders are incorporated into these programs. In this study, complete streets programs of different types from different levels of government across the United States were compared on the basis of a consistent, objective set of criteria. These criteria included transit as a roadway user, guidance for running ways and for transit stops, and transit-related performance measures. Each criterion was worth between 1 and 3 points; the total score for each program was between 1 and 12 points. Only 12 programs earned at least 1 point for each criterion, and only 13 programs earned a cumulative score of 8 or greater. Potential relationships between these transit complete streets scores and population, location, and overall complete streets scores were explored, but no meaningful relationships were found; this result indicates that poor representation of transit is a widespread problem not limited to certain groups. This research revealed a dramatic gap in complete streets programs with regard to transit and calls for future attention and guidance of agencies adopting complete streets programs.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, Washington, copyright remains with them.