The National Complete Streets Coalition announces the best Complete Streets policies of 2016

By Rayla Bellis

The National Complete Streets Coalition has released The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2016, the latest edition of the annual report that scores and ranks all of the Complete Streets policies passed during the previous year. Brockton, MA, Missoula, MT, and Wenatchee, WA tied for the top policy.

More of these policies were passed in 2016 than in any previous year—a total of 222 new policies. In addition, this year’s policies were the strongest ever passed. The median policy score this year was 80.8, up from 68.4 last year. A record 51 policies scored a 90 or higher, including three policies that scored a perfect 100.

As a press release from Smart Growth America states:

As of the end of 2016, more than 1,200 jurisdictions in the United States have made formal commitments to streets that are safe and convenient for everyone—no matter their age, income, race, ethnicity, physical ability, or how they choose to travel—by passing a Complete Streets policy.

In addition to looking at policy strength, for the first time this year the report also looked at the income and racial demographics of the communities that passed policies in 2016. The data showed that 2016 communities were, on average, slightly more white and more wealthy than the United States as a whole. These findings are discussed in more depth in the report.

Another recently released report from Smart Growth America—Dangerous by Design—influenced the decision to look at income and other demographic characteristics of the communities that passed complete streets policies. Dangerous by Design found that people of color and those with low household incomes are overrepresented among pedestrian deaths nationwide. These findings have also been echoed by recent research from the University of Colorado.

A full list of policies throughout the world, as well as the report on best policies in the U.S., can be found on the Coalition’s website.

Rayla Bellis is a Program Manager at SSTI.