Understanding Complete Streets: How do Professionals Define a Complete Street Project?

The Complete Streets movement has become popular throughout North America. Although the concepts and overall objectives of a Complete Street are becoming increasingly recognized in the field of transportation planning, some ambiguity exists when defining such projects based on the existing built infrastructure (e.g., bicycle lanes, road diet). This research presents data gathered from transportation planning experts working at municipalities and regional municipalities across the Greater Golden Horseshoe Region in Ontario, Canada. Using a focus group discussion as the basis of the authors' analysis, they attempt to understand how a Complete Street can be defined at the project level as well as what factors may influence this definition. The findings show that the definition of a Complete Street can be largely dependent on contextual sensitivities including surrounding land use, roadway typologies, age and maturity of a road, and the quality of roadway infrastructure implemented with right- of-way (ROW) upgrades. The planning process is also important. Considerations relating to a ROW’s feel, function and form as well as the age, mode and mobility of the road users can be taken into account to define a Complete Street. These findings will improve the knowledge and awareness among transportation planners within (and beyond) the region regarding how a Complete Street project’s built form can change in response to various urban land use contexts, as well as planning priorities and processes.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee AFB10 Standing Committee on Geometric Design.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • Winters, Anne
    • Mitra, Raktim
    • Lea, Nancy Smith
    • Hess, Paul M
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2016


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: 12p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 95th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01590975
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 16-3065
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jan 12 2016 5:22PM