Do Complete Streets Make a Difference?

58 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2023

See all articles by Arthur C. Nelson

Arthur C. Nelson

University of Arizona; University of Utah

Robert Hibberd

University of Arizona

Date Written: January 22, 2023


Complete Streets are a new approach to transportation and land use planning. For one thing, they put people first. For another, they focus on expanding mobility especially for walking and biking. They also create human scale streets through streetscapes and landscaping, wider sidewalks, slower traffic, and often fewer travel lanes.

Among many promises made by advocates of Complete Streets is that they will attract people and jobs, change commuting patterns, and improve real estate values. But do they?

This report presents the first comprehensive assessment of whether Complete Streets make a difference in these respects. Statistical analysis is applied to 26 Complete Streets in 17 central counties (those hosting the largest cities in a metropolitan areas) of 16 metropolitan areas. We estimate that these Complete Streets total 48 kilometers in distance. We defined Complete Street corridors as 100 meters on either side of the centerline, comprising about 12 square kilometers in area. This is equivalent to about two one-thousandths, or 0.02 percent, of the urbanized land area of the central counties.

Implications for transportation and land use policy are offered.

Keywords: complete streets, complete streets and economic development, complete streets and demographic change, complete streets and population change

Suggested Citation

Nelson, Arthur C. and Hibberd, Robert, Do Complete Streets Make a Difference? (January 22, 2023). Available at SSRN: or

Arthur C. Nelson (Contact Author)

University of Arizona ( email )

1040 N. Olive Road
Tucson, AZ 85721
United States

University of Utah ( email )

375 South 1530 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
United States

Robert Hibberd

University of Arizona ( email )

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