Issue Brief: Complete Streets
The Issue

ASLA supports legislation that encourages designing transportation corridors to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders.

Background & Analysis

The Complete Streets movement is growing in momentum, with over 700 state and local Complete Streets policies adopted throughout the nation. A national Complete Streets policy would ensure that all our nation’s rights-of-way are safe for all users. Complete Streets policies promote the creation of more walkable and public transportation-oriented communities, thereby improving pedestrian safety, encouraging healthy and active lifestyles, helping improve air quality, and helping to reduce dependence on foreign oil.
Representatives Doris Matsui (CA) and David Joyce (OH), have introduced
the Safe Streets Act, (H.R. 2071) which would require that the safety, interests, and convenience of all users be considered in the design and construction of federally-funded transportation projects. This legislation would call on states and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to establish a Complete Streets policy for federal transportation projects that is flexible enough to accommodate all types of projects in all locations across the country. Exemptions would be available where costs would be too prohibitive, for highways and other roads where pedestrians are not allowed, or where population, employment density, and transit service is so low that the expected users would not include pedestrians, bicyclists, or public transit users. This legislation would also call on the Secretary of Transportation to provide research, technical guidance, and data collection to assist states and MPOs in developing and implementing Complete Streets policies and projects.  Under the bill, the Secretary would work with the American Society of Landscape Architects, along with other allied organizations, in developing this technical assistance and guidance.


In the 112th and 113th Congress, Complete Streets legislation was introduced in both the House of Representatives and in the Senate.  However, both legislative sessions expired before adoption of the bills were completed.

In the 112th Congress, during Senate Commerce Committee consideration of the surface transportation reauthorization bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), a
Complete Streets amendment was adopted and included in the Senate-passed version of the MAP-21 bill.   However, during the House/Senate Conference Committee negotiations, the Complete Streets language was removed from the final version of MAP-21 that was signed into law.

Current Status

H.R. 2017 was introduced on April 28, 2015, and was referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s subcommittee on Highways and Transit where it is awaiting further action.


Rep. Doris Matsui (CA), Rep. David Joyce (OH) and co-sponsors.


H.R. 2017, The Safe Streets Act.
Reps. Matsui and Joyce Reintroduce Bipartisan Legislation to Create Safe Streets for All Users
National Complete Streets Coalition
Dangerous By Design 2014
Safer Streets, Stronger Economies, March 2015
U.S. DOT Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets
The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2014
List of State and local Complete Streets policies
Planning Complete Streets for An Aging America
Transportation for America's Aging in Place, Stuck without Options: Fixing the Mobility Crisis Threatening the Baby Boomer Generation

Related ASLA Policies

Transportation Corridors and Facilities
Livable Communities
Urban Growth and Development
Universal Design