• Complete Streets are sustainable streets. The transportation sector is the second largest and fastest-growing contributor to U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Infrastructure that makes it unsafe or unpleasant to walk, bicycle, or take transit can make it difficult for people to choose less carbon-intensive modes of transportation. The 2001 National Household Transportation Survey revealed that 50 percent of all trips in metropolitan areas are three miles or less and 28 percent are one mile or less – distances easily traversed by foot or bicycle. Yet, 65 percent of trips under one mile are now made by automobile, in part because of incomplete streets.
  • Complete Streets direct a better use of taxpayer dollars. In Illinois, a complete streets law was passed last year after lawmakers heard the story of a bridge near Cary, Illinois that was built without a safe crossing for cyclists or pedestrians. After several deaths and a successful wrongful death lawsuit, the state DOT had to retrofit the bridge at great expense, adding a path to the span. It would have far less expensive to do it right the first time.
  • Complete streets make our towns and cities more attractive. By improving safety and encouraging healthier, active lifestyles, Complete Streets is one way the transportation sector can play a role in making Michigan attractive to a New Economy workforce.
  • Complete streets improve pedestrian and cyclist safety. Designing our infrastructure with pedestrians in mind — sidewalks, raised medians, better bus stop placement, traffic-calming measures, and treatments for disabled travelers — can reduce pedestrian risk by as much as 28%.
  • Complete streets encourage healthy and active lifestyles. One study found that 43% of people with safe places to walk within 10 minutes of home met recommended activity levels, while just 27% of those lacking safe options were active enough. Nearly one-third of transit users meet the Surgeon General’s daily activity recommendations through their routine travels.
  • Complete streets improve transportation equity. About one-third of Americans do not drive, including an increasing number of seniors and low-income Americans. We need to provide transportation options for all of our citizens to get to work, school, shops and medical visits, and to take part in social, civic and volunteer activities.
  • Complete streets can reduce congestion. The Texas Transportation Institute found that providing more travel options, including public transportation and non-motorized facilities, are important and low-cost elements to increase the capacity of the transportation network.
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