Federal government outlines efforts to adopt "Complete Streets" model to roadway design

CompleteStreets(Smartcities Dive) The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Safety Administration (FHWA) is adopting "Complete Streets" as the main approach for funding and designing our nation's roadways.

In a report submitted to Congress last month, projects such as bike paths, roundabouts, pedestrian pathways to transit hubs and other road enhancements for people traveling outside of vehicles will be prioritized for funding.

According to the FHWA, the Complete Streets design model aims to address five areas: improve data collection and analysis; support safety assessments for all types of projects; adopt standards and guidance that promote accessibility for all road users; reinforce the safety for all users in design standards and make Complete Streets the default approach.

In December 2021, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) released a new policy on road safety, with a similar commitment to prioritizing the safety of people first in highway planning.

This adoption is coming as traffic deaths among people outside vehicles continues to increase. New data released last month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that 38,824 people were killed in all traffic crashes in 2020. The NHTSA data reported a 9.2% increase in bicyclist deaths and 3.9% increase in pedestrian deaths, increases not seen since the 1980s. About one-third of all traffic deaths are people killed outside of vehicles.

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