Providing safe and convenient bicycle and pedestrian networks decreases the likelihood of accidents between automobiles, bicyclists and pedestrians. A Federal Highway Administration (FHA) review of the effectiveness of a variety of measures found that simply painting crosswalks on wide high-speed roads does not reduce pedestrian crashes, but measures that design the street with pedestrians in mind, including sidewalks, raised medians, improved bus stop placement, traffic-calming measures, etc. all significantly reduce accidents and improve overall safety.
A balanced transportation system that includes Complete Streets can facilitate economic growth by providing accessible and efficient connections between residences, schools, parks, public transportation, offices, and retail destinations. A balanced transportation system entices businesses to consider relocating to Broward County and the South Florida region by knowing their workforce will have mobility options and not be destined to sit in traffic, if they so choose.
In addition, Complete Streets have proven to raise property values. According to Smart Growth America, “In a survey of 15 real estate markets from Jacksonville, Florida to Stockton, California a one-point increase in the walkability of a neighborhood as measured by WalkScore.com increased home values by $700 to $3,000.” For an overview of more economic benefits attributed to Complete Streets, please see the Smart Growth America Complete Streets Fact Sheet.
Providing Choices and Reducing Congestion
Investing in only automobile travel lanes discourages transportation choices and dictates travel behavior. Streets that provide travel choices can give people the option to avoid traffic jams, and increase the overall capacity of the transportation network.
Convenience and Health Benefits
Public health experts encourage walking and bicycling as a solution to our country’s obesity epidemic, and Complete Streets can help with this. One study found that 43 percent of people with safe places to walk within 10 minutes of home met recommended activity levels, while just 27 percent of those without safe places to walk met these levels.
Helping Children, the Elderly and the Disabled
Streets that provide facilities for bicycling and walking help people get physically active and gain independence. More children walk to school when sidewalks are in place, and children who have access to safe pedestrian and bicycling routes have a more positive view of their neighborhood. Safe Routes to School programs, gaining in popularity across the country, will benefit from Complete Streets policies that help turn all routes into safe routes. Providing safe pedestrian and bicycling networks also increase mobility options for the elderly and disabled who may not be able to operate a motor vehicle but do have the ability to get around on foot or by bicycle.
Poor air quality in urban areas is linked to increases in asthma and other illnesses. Yet if each resident of community of a 100,000 replaced one car trip with one bike trip just once a month, it would cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 3,764 tons of per year in the community. Complete Streets allow this to happen more easily.