Complete streets state laws & provisions: An analysis of legislative content and the state policy landscape, 1972–2018


  • Jamila Porter Safe States Alliance
  • Shenée Bryan Research and Evaluation Group
  • Joel Lee The University of Georgia College of Public Health
  • Phaedra Corso Kennesaw State University
  • Marsha Davis The University of Georgia College of Public Health
  • Stephen Rathbun The University of Georgia College of Public Health



Complete Streets, state law, state legislation, built environment, pedestrian, bicyclist, legal mapping, transport policy, routine accommodation, policy surveillance


Across the U.S., states have adopted Complete Streets legislative statutes—state laws that direct transportation agencies to routinely design and operate roadways to provide safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and public transit users. To date, there has not been a systematic and comprehensive analysis of the content and provisions of these laws. In this study, Complete Streets state statutes were identified using legal research databases. Using established legal mapping methods, a qualitative analysis was conducted of state laws that were effective through December 2018. A codebook and open-source data set were developed to support the public use of the data. Eighteen states and Washington, DC, have adopted Complete Streets legislative statutes. A total of 21 have been adopted, with 76% (n=16) of laws adopted since 2007. While the laws vary in content, detail, and specificity, several common provisions were identified across statutes. Complete Streets legislative statutes may be essential to ensure that road networks throughout states are safe, connected, and accessible for all users. This study provides key insights into the legislative landscape of Complete Streets state laws and makes available a new data set that can support future evaluations of these laws.


AARP, Seskin, S., & McCann, B. (2013). Complete Streets in the states: A guide to legislative action. Retrieved from

American Planning Association. (2015). Complete Streets. Retrieved from

American Society of Civil Engineers. (2011). Policy statement: Complete Streets (ASCE policy statement 537). Retrieved from

Buehler, R. (2014). 9 Reasons the U.S. ended up so much more car-dependent than Europe. CityLab. Retrieved from

Buehler, R., & Pucher, J. (2017). Trends in walking and cycling safety: Recent evidence from high-income countries, with a focus on the United States and Germany. American Journal of Public Health, 107(2), 281–287. doi:10.2105/ajph.2016.303546

Burris, S. C. (2018). How to write a legal mapping paper (Research Paper No. 2018-10, 17). Philadelphia: Social Science Research Network, Temple University Legal Studies.

Campbell, B. J., Zegeer, C. V., Huang, H. H., & Cynecki, M. J. (2004). A review of pedestrian safety research in the U.S. and abroad (FHWA-RD-03-042). Retrieved from

Carlson, S. A., Paul, P., Kumar, G., Watson, K. B., Atherton, E., & Fulton, J. E. (2017). Prevalence of Complete Streets policies in U.S. municipalities. Journal of Transport & Health, 5, 142–150. doi:10.1016/j.jth.2016.11.003

Carter, P., Martin, F., Núñez, M., Peters, S., Raykin, L., Salinas, J., & Milam, R. (2013). Complete enough for Complete Streets? Sensitivity testing of multimodal level of service in the highway capacity manual. Transportation Research Record, 2395(1), 31.

Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. (2015). Complete Streets: The basics. Retrieved from

Chriqui, J. F., O’Connor, J. C., & Chaloupka, F. J. (2011). What gets measured gets changed: Evaluating law and policy for maximal impact. The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 39(Supplement 1), 6. doi:10.1111/j.1748-720X.2011.00559.x

Contra Costa Transportation Authority. (2015). Routine accommodation. Retrieved from

Dodson, E. A., Langston, M., Cardick, L. C., Johnson, N., Clayton, P., & Brownson, R. C. (2014). Everyone should be able to choose how they get around: How Topeka, Kansas, passed a Complete Streets resolution. Preventing Chronic Disease, 11, 1.

Eisenhower, D. D. (1956). Annual message transmitting the economic report to the Congress. Washington, DC: Office of the Federal Register. Retrieved from;view=fulltext

Emerson, C. D. (2008). All sprawled out: How the federal regulatory system has driven unsustainable growth. Tennessee Law Review, 75(3), 411–451.

Fairbank Maslin Maullin Metz & Associates and Public Opinion Strategies. (2012). Key findings from the National Survey on Transportation Options. Retrieved from

Federal Highway Administration. (2015, October 27). Tools and practices for land use integration: Roadway design guidelines and standards. Retrieved from

Fields, B., & Cradock, A. L. (2014). Federal active transportation policy in transition: From ISTEA to Complete Streets. Public Works Management & Policy, 19(4), 322–327. doi:10.1177/1087724X14546200

Florida Statute § 335.065 Bicycle and Pedestrian Ways Along State Roads and Transportation Facilities, Florida Annotated Statutes, 335.065 Stat. (1984)

Georgia Institute of Technology (Ed.). (2016). Built environment and public health clearinghouse: Glossary. Atlanta, GA: Georgia Institute of Technology, School of City and Regional Planning.

Geraghty, A. B., Seifert, W., Preston, T., Holm, C. V., Duarte, T. H., & Farrar, S. M. (2009). Partnership moves community toward Complete Streets. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 37(6 Suppl 2), S420–427. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2009.09.009

Handy, S., & McCann, B. (2011). The regional response to federal funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects. Journal of the American Planning Association, 77(1), 23–38. doi:10.1080/01944363.2011.526537

Harvey, H. H. (2013). Reducing traumatic brain injuries in youth sports: Youth sports traumatic brain injury state laws, January 2009 – December 2012. American Journal of Public Health, 103(7), 6. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.301107

Heinrich, K. M., Aki, N. N., Hansen-Smith, H., Fenton, M., & Maddock, J. (2011). A comprehensive multi-level approach for passing safe routes to school and complete streets policies in Hawaii. Journal of Physical Activity & Health, 8, S135.

Ibrahim, J. K., Anderson, E. D., Burris, S. C., & Wagenaar, A. C. (2011). State laws restricting driver use of mobile communications devices distracted-driving provisions, 1992–2010. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 40(6), 659–665. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2011.02.024

Jewitt, M. G. (2016). Encouraging transportation-oriented development in the United States: A case for utilizing earned-as-of-location credits to promote strategic economic development. William & Mary Law Review, 57(5), 1949–1984.

Keippel, A. E., Henderson, M. A., Golbeck, A. L., Gallup, T., Duin, D. K., Hayes, S., . . . Ciemins, E. L. (2017). Healthy by design: Using a gender focus to influence Complete Streets policy. Women's Health Issues, 27(Suppl 1), S22–S28. doi:10.1016/j.whi.2017.09.005

Khan, L. K., Sobush, K., Keener, D., Goodman, K., Lowry, A., Kakietek, J., & Zaro, S. (2009). Recommended community strategies and measurements to prevent obesity in the United States. Retrieved from

King, M. R., Carnegie, J. A., & Ewing, R. (2003). Pedestrian safety through a raised median and redesigned intersections. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 1828, 11.

MacLeod, K. E., Sanders, R. L., Griffin, A., Cooper, J. F., & Ragland, D. R. (2018). Latent analysis of Complete Streets and traffic safety along an urban corridor. Journal of Transport & Health, 8(1), 15.

McCann, B. (2013). Completing our streets: The transition to safe and inclusive transportation networks. Washington, DC: Island Press.

McHugh, M. L. (2012). Interrater reliability: The kappa statistic. Biochemia Medica, 22(3), 7.

Moreland-Russell, S., Eyler, A., Barbero, C., Hipp, J. A., & Walsh, H. (2013). Diffusion of Complete Streets policies across U.S. communities. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 19, S89–S96. doi:10.1097/PHH.0b013e3182849ec2

National Complete Streets Coalition, & Smart Growth America. (2012). Complete Streets local policy workbook. Retrieved from

National Complete Streets Coalition, & Smart Growth America. (2018a). Complete Streets policies nationwide: Policy inventory and policy atlas. Retrieved from

National Complete Streets Coalition, & Smart Growth America. (2018b). National Complete Streets Coalition. Retrieved from

National Complete Streets Coalition, & Smart Growth America. (2018c). What are Complete Streets? Retrieved from

National Conference of State Legislatures. (2018). State traffic safety legislation database. Retrieved from

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2017). Fatality analysis and reporting system (FARS) data files, 1975-2016. Retrieved from

Porter, J. M., Rathbun, S. L., Bryan, S. J., Arseniadis, K., Caldwell, L. P., Corso, P. S., . . . Davis, M. (2018). Law accommodating nonmotorized road users and pedestrian fatalities in Florida, 1975 to 2013. American Journal of Public Health, 108(4), 525–531. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2017.304259

Retting, R. A., Ferguson, S. A., & McCartt, A. T. (2003). A review of evidence-based traffic engineering measures designed to reduce pedestrian–motor vehicle crashes. American Journal of Public Health, 93(9), 1456–1463.

Schmitt, A. (2013). Passing a law is the easy part: The challenge of building Complete Streets. Retrieved from

Schneider, R. J. (2018). Complete Streets policies and eliminating pedestrian fatalities. American Journal of Public Health, 108(4), 43–433. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2018.304317

Smith, R., Reed, S., & Baker, S. (2010). Street design: Part 1 – Complete Streets. (FHWA-HRT-10-005). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved from

Transportation for America. (2011). Aging in place, stuck without options: Fixing the mobility crisis threatening the baby boom generation. Retrieved from

Vandegrift, D., & Zanoni, N. (2018). An economic analysis of complete streets policies. Landscape & Urban Planning, 171, 88.

Weigel, L., & Metz, D. (2010). Future of transportation survey. Retrieved from

Zavestoski, S., & Agyeman, J. (2015). Complete Streets: What's missing? In S. Zavestoski & J. Agyeman (Eds.), Incomplete streets: Processes, practices, and possibilities (pp. 1–12). New York: Routledge.




How to Cite

Porter, J., Bryan, S., Lee, J., Corso, P., Davis, M., & Rathbun, S. (2019). Complete streets state laws & provisions: An analysis of legislative content and the state policy landscape, 1972–2018. Journal of Transport and Land Use, 12(1).