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Streets -- United States -- Design and construction, City traffic -- United States, Traffic engineering -- United States, Traffic safety -- United States


The predominant approach toward street function on major roads in the United States is to emphasize mobility and throughput of vehicles. The “Complete Streets” movement challenges some of this paradigm, emphasizing that streets should accommodate multiple modes of travel and should often be considered destinations themselves. Often, efforts to transform streets into Complete Streets face resistance from both professional communities of traffic engineers and from the public that their design will reduce throughput and vehicle flow..Complete Streets advocates, in some cases, counter that while their designs often create pedestrian and cycling space from areas that were previously occupied by automobiles, that throughput is often not impacted and that flow can actually improve.

This project’s aim was to document a variety of existing and implemented examples of Complete Street improvements from around the country, visually document their design and context, and compare actual outcomes in order to create an evidence-based design guide for transportation planners, traffic engineers, policymakers, and communities across the country. The goal is to make it easier for communities to use the evidence from other communities to help make decisions about retrofitting their streets to better support multimodal options and the creation of placemaking with their streets. Complete Streets policies are being adopted all across the country, but local officials have few documented guidebooks to help them think about how to retrofit streets based on best practices. This project fills this gap.


This is a final report, NITC-TT-539, from the NITC program of TREC at Portland State University, and can be found online at:

Rethinking Streets: An Evidence-Based Guide to 25 Complete Street Transformations, a handbook form of the final report, is attached as a supplemental file below.

The summary of TREC research project 2015-539 can be found at

The 2019 edition of the guide is available here:



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Rethinking Streets: An Evidence-Based Guide