How can Complete Streets Benefit Communities?
Areas that lack Complete Streets can be highly congested and dangerous. Approximately, 15% of American students who ride the bus to school do so because it is too dangerous to walk. In the City of Houston, 3 out of every 5 people who are either disabled or elderly, lack sidewalks between their homes and the nearest bus stop. As a result, only 10% use public transportation, even though 50% live within two blocks of a bus stop. Additionally, elderly people, who comprise 13% of the population, account for 18% of all pedestrian fatalities. By providing a safe, easy way to access schools, transit stops and other points of interests can decrease congestion, create healthy communities, and increase air quality.
Cities that have incorporated the Complete Streets guidelines have seen positive results. Approximately 55% of the American population falls short of the recommended activity guidelines. Studies have found that 43% of people with safe places to walk within ten minutes of their homes meet recommended activity levels. Complete Streets also help to reduce vehicle emissions. In areas where Complete Streets are located, carbon dioxide emissions have decreased by 20 pounds per day. Nitrous Oxide and Volatile Organic Compounds both decrease at 8% and 10% respectively when Complete Streets are present.