“Here at Strong Towns, we’re advocates for a simple concept we like to call “”slow the cars”” because we’ve seen in city after city that slowing down cars makes our communities more prosperous and resilient — not to mention safer.
But, while this concept is simple, the reasoning behind it and the path to get to safer streets is, by no means, easy. Today, we’re sharing our ultimate guide to building slower, more walkable streets, filled with helpful articles and resources you can use to #slowthecars in your town. We’ve broken it down into 4 key sections that will explain why we need walkable streets, how to tell if your streets aren’t walkable, and resources for building walkable streets, plus inspiring stories that will demonstrate how to build safer streets.”
“Our national transportation conversation has us obsessing over finding more money to continue to do the same thing. This is only making us poorer.
Instead, we need to focus on finding ways to make better use of our existing investments. This means we need to spend our energy converting our most expensive, least productive and most dangerous transportation investment — our stroads — into either wealth-producing streets (to create a place) or highly productive roads (to connect productive places). The website shows you how to do just that.”
This fact sheet describes key steps to ensure your program is well positioned for funding, provides ideas for where to look for funding, and highlights the breadth of funding sources that programs from around the country are currently accessing.
This user-friendly guide addresses the common challenges local advocates face when working to improve streets. Are you looking to create better streets in your neighborhood or community? Have you gotten discouraged by bureaucratic red tape or simple lack of communication? Or, are you passionate about great streets but struggling to get neighbors or city officials to share your enthusiasm or vision for people-centered public spaces?
“One of the biggest factors in deciding which transportation mode you’ll use is the built environment. The infrastructure that surrounds us determines which modes get used the most and which the least.
Think about it like this: do you want to bike on a three-lane highway, or on a protected bike lane? If you chose the protected bike lane – or driving on the three-lane highway – the built environment influenced your decision.
These are some of the ways the built environment influences travel behavior. Many of them are interrelated. I”
“At Mobility Lab, we spend a lot of time researching people’s transportation behavior and why they make the choices they do. What made you bike to work yesterday, but drive alone today?
Creating a sustainable, efficient, and equitable transportation network requires more than just building a new streetcar line. We need to consider what people consider when they make a mode choice, or else they won’t use the transportation options we invest in.”
Walkability is a crucial first step in creating sustainable transportation in an urban environment. Effectively understanding and measuring the complex ecology of walkability has proven challenging for many organizations and governments, given the various levels of policy-making and implementation involved. In the past, Western and Eurocentric standards have permeated measurement attempts and have included data collection practices that are too complicated to have utility in many parts of the world or at a level beyond that of the neighborhood. In order to expand the measurement of walkability to more places and to promote a better understanding of walkability, ITDP has developed Pedestrians First. This tool will facilitate the understanding and the measurement of the features that promote walkability in urban environments around the world at multiple levels. With a better global understanding of walkability, and more consistent and frequent measurement of the walkability of urban environments, decision-makers will be empowered to enact policies that create more walkable urban areas.
To test out creative approaches to safer street design, the National Complete Streets Coalition launched the Safe Streets Academy. We worked with three cities around the country to build skills in safer street design, creative placemaking, and community engagement, then helped the cities put these skills into practice. Through demonstration projects, the City of Orlando, FL, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, KY, and the City of South Bend, IN transformed their streets, intersections, and neighborhoods into slower, safer places for people. Communities around the country can learn from the stories of these demonstration projects to test out low-cost ways to create safer streets.
These case studies highlight lessons learned from these demonstration projects, including how the projects helped these cities build trust with the community and with other jurisdictions, test out new approaches for safer street design and make quick adjustments as needed, and change the conversation about the importance of slower, safer streets.
“The Center for Active Design is thrilled to announce the release of the Assembly: Civic Design Guidelines, a groundbreaking playbook for creating well-designed and well-maintained public spaces as a force for building trust and healing divisions in local communities.
The Assembly Guidelines capture the culmination of four years of research and collaboration—with input from 200+ studies, 50+ cities, and dozens of expert advisors—to provide evidence-based design and maintenance strategies for creating cities where people trust each other, have confidence in local institutions, and actively work together to address local priorities.
Funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, this is a pivotal and timely resource for anyone who designs, builds, manages, studies, or advocates for public space. Practitioners can use the Assembly Guidelines in a variety of ways: apply the checklist to a public space project; initiate dialogue about local civic challenges; test tactical, low-cost design interventions; and shape decision-making around capital investments.
CfAD is delighted to share the Assembly Guidelines as an inspiring, practical tool that serves as a call to action for designing and maintaining great public spaces for all.”
In this brief, the National Center for Mobility Management takes a look at mobility management and Complete Streets concepts and then identifies examples of communities where the initiatives — including the people and organizations that lead these efforts— collaborate to establish connected programs. We identify opportunities for mobility management professionals to consider a focus on Complete Streets projects in their work. The philosophy and operations of mobility management and Complete Streets are more similar than not. Both have the purpose of enhancing access, mobility, and equity in communities. Professionals in each of these sectors have opportunities to leverage resources and build sustainable and vibrant projects that ultimately affect the well-being of our communities.
CDC released BE Active: Connecting Routes + Destinations—resources that support the Community Guide’s recommendation to promote and increase physical activity in communities. State and local health departments, public health professionals, and community organizations working on ways to increase physical activity can use the Real World Examples, Implementation Resource Guide, and Visual Guide to guide their implementation process as they aim to build more activity-friendly communities.
This brief overview (2 pages), developed by the OPCE, provides an overview of complete streets – what they are, common elements, benefits, and policy. CHSC grantees can download and distribute to partners with engagement on complete streets efforts. Download the Complete Streets One Pager
Arts, Culture and Transportation: A Creative Placemaking Field Scan is a rigorous national examination of creative placemaking in the transportation planning process. Released in partnership with ArtPlace America, this new resource identifies ways that transportation professionals can integrate artists to deliver transportation projects more smoothly, improve safety, and build community support.
This 2 pages observational tool is designed to assess key street-level features of a neighborhood environment that are thought to be related to physical activity behavior. Data collected can be used to generate data to create community awareness or to focus and advocate for environmental improvements.
This resource was developed by one of the CHSC grantees and is universally useful even though it was developed with small upstate communities in mind. It contains several 1-2 page checklist style street and sidewalk assessments as well as action planning tools.
The Built Environment Assessment Tool (BE Tool) measures the core features and qualities of the built environment that affect health, especially walking, biking, and other types of physical activity.
The core features assessed in the BE Tool include:
Built environment infrastructure—such as road types, curb cuts and ramps, intersections and crosswalks, traffic control, and public transportation.
Walkability—for example, access to safe, attractive sidewalks and paths with inviting features.
Bikeability—such as the presence of bike lane or bike path features.
Recreational sites and structures.
Food environment—such as access to grocery stores, convenience stores, and farmers markets. The tool itself is Appendix D . See the links at the bottom of the page.
Read this report for ideas on low-cost projects that community organizations, municipal agencies, or private businesses can implement quickly and independently. Strategies address place-making, aesthetic improvements, and community-building activities, as well as roadway design strategies.
In 2015, in partnership with the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association (CCAPA), EHHD was awarded a Plan4Health grant by the American Planning Association (APA) and the American Public Health Association (APHA). The focus of this grant is to support EHHD/CCAPA efforts to increase physical activity and access to healthy foods in the region’s towns by helping them link their planning and public health programs with a focus on healthier communities. This toolkit is designed to support the EHHD region towns, as well as any other small, rural towns, in these efforts. The EHHD and its CHART Coalition are actively working to help their communities create places where residents will have more opportunities to be physically active, eat healthy foods, and have fun!
This document is intended to be a resource for transportation practitioners in small towns and rural communities. It applies existing national design guidelines in a rural setting and highlights small town and rural case studies. It addresses challenges specific to rural areas, recognizes how many rural roadways are operating today, and focuses on opportunities to make incremental improvements despite the geographic, fiscal, and other challenges that many rural communities face.
Building Healthier Communities: Integrating Public Health into Planning is a free online learning course for planning and health professionals. Designed to complement the American Planning Association’s Planners4Health curriculum, the course outlines what planners and public health professionals need to know and how they can connect their work.
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership recently published a fact sheet, Fighting for Equitable Transportation: Why it Matters, that explores why safe and convenient walking and biking matter for low-income communities and communities of color. This fact sheet is a companion resource to At the Intersection of Active Transportation and Equity: Joining Forces to Make Communities Healthier and Fairer.
Voices for Healthy Kids and The Safe Routes to School National Partnership have released a series of case studies on successful campaigns to increase physical activity. These new resources share stories of state- and local-level campaigns that have implemented Safe Routes to School, Complete Streets, shared use agreements, environmental justice policies, and more. They provide excellent examples of how communities and organizations can advance policies and programs that institutionalize support for walking, biking, physical activity, and healthy communities. You can access the new case studies in the “Resource” section of the following Voices for Healthy Kids toolkits.
The U.S. Department of Transportation recently released a resource for transportation practitioners in small towns and rural communities titled “Small Town and Rural Multimodal Networks.” It applies existing national design guidelines to rural settings and highlights small town and rural case studies. Challenges specific to rural communities are addressed and focus on opportunities to make incremental improvements despite these geographic, fiscal, and other challenges.
Researchers at the University of Illinois, Chicago, published a report about how Complete Streets support equity. This report, “Prioritizing Transportation Equity through Complete Streets,” examines results from eight communities that chose to prioritize equity in their Complete Streets policies. The report presents lessons and strategies that the eight communities learned; prioritizing equity was found difficult to put into practice.
A Guide to Building Healthy Streets can help you turn a Complete Streets policy into action! This resource discusses five key steps for effective Complete Streets implementation, highlighting the unique role public health staff can play during each step.
One of the most powerful ways to increase the amount of bicycle travel is the adoption of bicycle friendly laws and policies. This comprehensive guide provides a roadmap to making all types of communities bicycle friendly.
This guidebook provides municipal governments with tools for economic revitalization that incorporates walkability into downtown areas of business. It includes sections on walkability, public parks, and affordable housing.
One of the goals of the NYS Prevention Agenda is to promote attention to the health implications of policies and actions that occur outside of the health sector, including transportation and public safety. Complete streets policies create safer and smarter multi-modal transportation networks for all pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users of all ages and abilities. Complete streets policies are ultimately geared towards promoting healthy lifestyles. Learn how two New York communities have used public awareness campaigns to encourage their residents to use walking and biking facilities or trail networks that have been established as a result of complete streets projects.
Complete streets policies create safer and smarter multi-modal transportation networks for all pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users of all ages and abilities. New and existing funding sources can be accessed to help communities make their complete streets projects become a reality. Learn how to take concrete steps that build momentum and a track record, while simultaneously helping the community become more competitive for state and federal funding opportunities. In New York, there are good examples of rural, suburban and urban municipalities that have successfully identified and acted on low-cost solutions to advance their complete streets policies and projects. For larger infrastructure projects, communities have a variety of local, state and federal funding options. Communities should be careful to consider the costs and benefits of these funding options, including the costs of grant-writing, the importance of community buy-in and the difficulties of administering a federal-aid project.
The value of a complete streets initiative can be demonstrated through program evaluation. Creating a systematic and meaningful evaluation approach requires a step by step process. The purpose of this webinar is to provide participants with the skills to plan and execute an evaluation of a Complete Streets Public Health Intervention which addresses Prevention Agenda Performance Measures.
Complete streets policies can create safer and smarter multi-modal environments for all pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users of all ages and abilities. The right kind of data can be an essential element to planning, implementing, and evaluating projects. This one-hour webinar will provide information on how to access and use national, state, county, and street-level data on motor vehicle traffic, bicycle, and pedestrian use, injuries, hospitalizations, and fatalities.
The National Complete Streets Coalition examines and scores Complete Streets policies each year, comparing adopted policy language to the ideal. Ideal policies refine a community’s vision for transportation, provide for many types of users, complement community needs, and establish a flexible project delivery approach necessary for an effective Complete Streets process and outcome. Different types of policy statements are included in this examination, including legislation, resolutions, executive orders, departmental policies, and policies adopted by an elected board.
This guide provides four overarching points to make in answering cost questions. The effectiveness of each depends upon the listener—some will resonate more with one audience than another. We give general guidance to the most appropriate audiences for each point, as well as general tips when discussing these topics in your community. We encourage you to use these examples as a starting point. Each point made below is illustrated in a companion PowerPoint slide. A thumbnail image of the slide and its corresponding slide number appear next to the text examples. You should not use the whole PowerPoint presentation to make your case locally. Instead, select the slides that are appropriate to your audience and situation and augment those slides with local facts and stories.
This workbook provides explanations of the various forms a Complete Streets (CS) policy may take and the elements of an ideal CS policy. This workbook is intended to be used during the development of a city or county CS policy.
This guide is intended to help planners, engineers, and decision-makers understand the Complete Streets roadway design process, and how it can be applied in smaller communities. It is intended as a companion to Complete Streets, Complete Networks, A Manual for the Design of Active Transportation.