The National Complete Streets Coalition, an American organization under Smart Growth America, developed Evaluating Complete Streets Projects: A Guide for Practitioners to promote performance measures that better reflect multi-modal users and to demonstrate how transportation investments can be connected to community goals. The report emphasizes that these performance measures form part of a three-step process that includes setting targets, modeling impacts, and monitoring results. Collecting baseline data before a project starts can provide the opportunity for powerful comparisons. Ultimately, communicating how projects perform can bolster support among residents and elected officials for continued investment in Complete Streets efforts.
The Guide identifies seven goals that a transportation project could contribute to, and explores possible outputs and outcomes that could be tracked in order to measure progress towards each:
- Access: How well are people connected?
- Economy: Does the project connect people to or create jobs? Does it boost the local economy?
- Environment: Does the project improve air quality, natural habitats, or the treatment of stormwater run-off?
- Place: Does the project fit and enhance the community?
- Safety: Is the road safe for all users? Do people perceive it as safe?
- Equity: How does the project impact traditionally disadvantaged groups?
- Public Health: Does the project allow people to have healthier lifestyles?
Interestingly, the Complete Streets Coalition released this report within one month of the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation's release of Complete Streets Evaluation: Understanding Complete Streets in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, indicating the importance of collecting and analyzing data, as more and more Complete Streets projects are built, on both sides of the border.