Category: Reports

New research outlines five reasons to build Complete Streets

What have communities gotten for their investments in Complete Streets?

Fewer automobile collisions and injuries, and more people biking, walking, and taking transit. These projects were inexpensive yet can be effective, and were related to broader economic gains.

These are the findings of Safer Streets, Stronger Economies, released today by Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition. The new report analyzes data from 37 Complete Streets projects across the country, and explores the outcomes communities got for their investment. Our new research finds:

Streets were usually safer: Automobile collisions declined in 70 percent of projects, and injuries declined in 56 percent of projects.
This safety has financial value: Within our sample, Complete Streets improvements collectively averted $18.1 million in total collision costs in just one year.
The projects encouraged multimodal travel: Complete Streets projects nearly always resulted in more biking, walking, and transit trips.
Complete Streets projects are cheap: The average cost of a Complete Streets project was just $2.1 million—far less than the $9 million average cost of projects in state transportation improvement plans. 
They can be an important part of economic development: Our findings suggest that Complete Streets projects were supportive of increased employment, net new businesses, higher property values, and new private investment.

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The benefits of Complete Streets — and how to measure them

The National Complete Streets Coalition is coming out with two new resources detailing the benefits of Complete Streets projects, and how to measure them.

Safer Streets,
Stronger Economies

Coming out March 24, 2015
1 PM EDT

How well do Complete Streets projects achieve transportation goals like safety and throughput? How do they support broader economic efforts? This new research looks at data from dozens of Complete Streets projects from across the country to compare the outcomes communities get from their investments. Join the online kickoff discussion to hear about the success some cities have had with Complete Streets.

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Evaluating Complete Streets Projects

Coming out March 31, 2015
1 PM EDT

A Complete Streets approach connects community goals to transportation investments, and measuring the performance of these projects can help communicate that connection. This introductory guide will provide an overview of how to evaluate Complete Streets projects, including the measures and metrics most useful to common goals, and a handy list of resources for more in-depth application. 

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Coming soon: “The WalkUP Wake-Up Call: Boston”

cambridge-700px

Walkable real estate development projects and places are on the rise nationwide. Over the past year, LOCUS has looked at how these trends are playing out in Atlanta and Washington, DC.

On March 11, we’ll reveal new analysis of which walkable urban places—or “walkUPs”—are changing the real estate landscape in another major American city: Boston

The WalkUP Wake-Up Call: Boston will, for the first time ever, analyze the different forms and economic use of all land use across metro Boston and rank Boston-area communities based on economic and social equity metrics. 

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Third edition of “The Innovative DOT” provides new tools for states looking to improve transportation while reducing costs

innovative-dot3-cover-thumbState transportation officials across the country are facing the same challenges: Revenues are falling and budgets are shrinking but transportation demands are continuing to grow.

Innovative approaches can help transportation officials succeed in the face of these challenges, and an updated resource from Smart Growth America and the State Smart Transportation Initiative (SSTI) outlines how.

The third edition of The Innovative DOT, released today, provides 34 strategies that transportation officials can use to position their agencies for success in a new era of constrained budgets. Originally released in 2012 and developed with input from top transportation professionals and agency staff from around the nation, the handbook documents many of the innovative approaches state leaders are using to make systems more efficient, government more effective and constituents better satisfied. The second edition was released in January 2014, and provided three additional tools and 20 new case studies.

“State DOTs across the country are using the tools in this guidebook with great success,” said Roger Millar, Vice President of Smart Growth America. “The third edition contains even more ideas for how DOT staff can lead and improve their agencies’ work.”

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Inside Foot Traffic Ahead: sub-urban places and the future of walkability  

Belmar-festivalFestival Italiano in walkable sub-urban Belmar, Denver, CO. Photo via Flickr.

Walkable real estate is in high demand in America’s large metros, and tomorrow’s most successful cities will be the ones that capture that market—but the walkable places they build may not look like today’s downtowns.

In Foot Traffic Ahead, our June report co-released by our LOCUS coalition and the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at the George Washington University School of Business, we ranked America’s largest metropolitan areas based on their projected future growth in development of walkable places. That list of nascent future walkable real estate hot spots included surprise contenders like Atlanta, Denver, and Los Angeles—far from the usual suspects for such rankings. Meanwhile, some famously walkable cities like Portland, Pittsburg, and Baltimore were projected to fall behind.

The difference owes to walkable sub-urban places, an unconventional category that includes both historic town-center type suburbs and modern transit-oriented developments. In our highest-projected metro areas—from Washington, DC to Atlanta, GA—a large percent of new growth is expected to take the walkable sub-urban form.

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Foot Traffic Ahead: New report ranks metro areas on walkable urban places


A new survey of development trends will reveal which regions are building most walkable neighborhoods.
Photo via DC: The WalkUP Wake-Up Call, 2013.

Our major metropolitan regions are racing to capture the market demand for walkable urban places. Do you want to know who is winning?

Join us for the release of Foot Traffic Ahead: Ranking Walkable Urbanism in America’s Largest Metros on June 17, 2014 at 2:00 PM EDT, live streamed from Washington, DC during the 2014 LOCUS Leadership Summit.

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Dangerous by Design 2014 highlights preventable pedestrian fatalities

VA Rt 1 roadside peds credit Cheryl Cort

Every day, in communities across the country, people are killed while walking to school, to work or to the store. From 2003 to 2012, more than 47,000 people were killed while walking – sixteen times the number of people who died in natural disasters, but without the corresponding level of urgency. But these deaths can be prevented and it is past time for our state and federal leaders to act.

Dangerous by Design 2014, a new report released today by the National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America, takes a look at where these fatalities happen and who’s most at risk, presenting data from every county, metro area, and state. The report also ranks the major metropolitan areas according to the Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI), which assesses the safety of walking by normalizing fatality rates by how often people walk to work, and by the share of traffic fatalities suffered by people on foot.

As in past years, Sunbelt communities that grew in the post-war period top the list of most dangerous regions according to the PDI: Orlando, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Jacksonville, Miami, Memphis, Birmingham, Houston, Atlanta and Charlotte. These areas developed rapidly, with many low-density neighborhoods overly dependent on extra wide, fast arterial roads to connect homes, schools, jobs and shops. Such roads rarely feature the facilities needed for safe travel by foot.

The report also calls out the unacceptably high number of pedestrian deaths seen in nearly every major metro region. The fact is that even our most walk-friendly communities can—and must—do more.

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Where roads are dangerous by design

Every day, in communities across the country, people are killed while walking to school, to work or to the store. Many of these lives could be saved by building and operating streets that work for everyone who uses them.

On Tuesday, May 20, Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition will release Dangerous by Design 2014, a report that brings attention to the national epidemic of pedestrian fatalities and the decades-long neglect of pedestrian safety.

The 2014 edition will rank the country’s major metropolitan areas using a Pedestrian Danger Index, which assesses the likelihood that a person walking will be hit by a driver of a vehicle, and by looking at overall percentage of traffic deaths suffered by people walking. In addition, it will make specific recommendations at the national and state levels to improve safety, including Complete Streets practices that ensure streets are built and operated for the safety of all road users.

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