Capturing the Benefits of Complete Streets

(Center Identification Number: 77968-00)

Principal Investigator:

Victoria Perk, Senior Research Associate
National Center for Transit Research (NCTR) at the
Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR)
University of South Florida
4202 E. Fowler Avenue, CUT 100
Tampa, Florida  33620-5375
(813) 974-7327

DSR Contact:

Sharon Pinson, Division of Sponsored Research
Office of Research and Innovation
University of South Florida
3702 Spectrum Blvd, Suite 165
Tampa, Florida  33612-9445
(813) 974-0360

Project Manager:

Larry Hymowitz, MobilityCoordinator
FDOT Project Manager
Office of Modal Development
Florida Department of Transportation, District 4
3400 West Commercial Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309
(954) 777-4663

Purpose and Benefit of Research

Anecdotal information indicates that private investment and property value increases are associated with featured Complete Streets projects; however, the studies do not compare them to the economic benefits or return on investment of non-Complete Streets projects. Therefore, this research will investigate comparing investments in roadway capacity (i.e., projects that serve to increase private vehicle speed and/or level of service, without Complete Streets components) with investments that result in decreased private vehicles speeds and increased safety (i.e., projects that have some Complete Streets components). Such research will lead to a better understanding of the differences among such projects in creating jobs, spurring private investment, increasing property values, and overall improved economic impacts. This will help transportation agencies to understand the marginal returns that can be expected from investments in non-traditional project expenditures that improve accessibility of roadways for transit, bicyclists, and pedestrians and that reflect and promote community visions and plans.

Background Statement

Rather than designing roadways to primarily achieve greater vehicular travel speeds, Complete Streets initiatives promote safe access to all users: pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users, as well as motorists. According to the National Complete Streets Coalition, which is led by Smart Growth America, Complete Streets projects make it easy and safe for people to cross a street, walk, bike, and use public transportation. Such projects require an altered approach to planning, whereby communities direct their engineers and planners to “routinely design and operate the entire right-of-way to enable safe access for all users” (

There is not one singular definition of a Complete Streets project; each one is developed to fit within the unique context of a given community. Some elements of Complete Streets projects may include, but are not limited to: sidewalks, bike lanes, wide paved shoulders, bus lanes, accessible and comfortable transit stops or stations, frequent and safe opportunities to cross streets, median islands, accessible pedestrian signals, curb extensions, narrower travel lanes, and roundabouts. The approach to Complete Streets is applicable to rural as well as urban environments, although the elements of the projects will differ.

While it might be anticipated that Complete Streets projects would have a higher level of economic benefits (or return on investment) than projects that do not include Complete Streets elements, there has been no quantitative research in this regard. Further, many studies and reports that examine Complete Streets projects use qualitative analysis to reach their conclusions, which still leaves the true answer to the question of their impacts unanswered.

Project Objectives

This project will begin to fill the gap in the literature regarding the economic impacts of Complete Streets projects and how those impacts may differ from more traditional roadways capacity investment projects that do not contain elements of Complete Streets. This research will include a thorough look at the existing literature regarding Complete Streets and a summary of their impacts. Further, the Research Team will determine an appropriate methodology for quantitatively estimating the economic impacts of both Complete Streets and non-Complete Streets projects. Finally, case studies will be used to determine the relative impacts of both types of projects. The proposed scope of work will consist of the following tasks:

Supporting Tasks and Deliverables

Task 1. Literature Review and Background Information
This research will begin with a literature review covering the concept of Complete Streets and related topics. Literature will be compiled and reviewed from articles gathered from academic, industry, and other relevant sources. Background information will be compiled regarding Complete Streets policies and other topics as appropriate and related to the research objectives. This task will also include an effort to identify the data that will be necessary to conduct the research for this project.

Task 1 Deliverable: Literature Review Summary
Deliverable will be sent to

Task 2. Develop Methodology
In this task, information will be used from the results of Task 1 to develop an appropriate quantitative methodology for estimating and comparing the economic impacts of Complete Streets projects and non-Complete Streets projects. The goal is to determine ways to use available data to adequately measure the economic costs and benefits associated with such projects to determine the marginal difference in net benefit from Complete Streets projects. Other types of measures may also be developed, such as the correlation between speeds and property values, rates of sales tax collections in relation to vehicle miles traveled (VMT), gross tax receipts as a percentage of the project cost, among others to be determined as part of this task. This task will also include an exhaustive list of variables to be included in the analysis.
Task 2 Deliverable: None; Task 2 labor will be invoiced along with Task 3 labor after the Task 3 deliverable has been approved.

Task 3. Identify Case Study Sites and Relevant Investment Projects
According to the National Complete Streets Coalition, as of 2012, Complete Streets policies are in place in 488 communities across the nation, including 27 states (including Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia), 42 regional planning organizations, 38 counties, and 379 municipalities1. The Research Team will investigate roadway projects in several of these communities to identify potential case studies for use in later tasks of this project. To assist in controlling for all of the various factors that can affect the economic impacts of investment projects, it will be important to find examples of Complete Streets and non-Complete Streets projects within the same community. Further, the Research Team will attempt to find Complete Streets projects that comprise many different elements (as described previously in the Background Statement). However, because each Complete Streets project is unique, it should be noted that some of the examples may have more or fewer of the elements associated with such projects. Another important factor in the selection of case study sites and relevant projects is the availability of appropriate data required for the quantitative analysis. It is anticipated that at least two out of an approximate three to five case study sites will be located in Florida.
Task 3 Deliverable: Summary of Methodology and Selected Case Study Sites and Projects
Deliverable will be sent to

Task 4. Data Collection
After the case study sites and relevant investment projects have been identified, the Research Team will work with contact persons at each case study site to collect the necessary data for analysis. Data that will be collected will include those items identified in Task 1 as being required for an analysis of economic impacts. It is also likely that the Research Team will be able to collect some of the needed data independently via the U. S. Census or other online databases. In addition, it is expected that the Research Team will need to travel to some or all of the case study sites in order to complete the data collection effort. After the data are collected, this task will include their preparation for analysis.
Task 4 Deliverable: Summary of Case Study Projects and Data Collected
Deliverable will be sent to

Task 5. Data Analysis
After all of the required data have been collected and prepared for analysis, and after the methodology has been approved by FDOT, the Research Team will conduct the quantitative analysis. The anticipated results will show the marginal difference in economic impacts from projects with Complete Streets components and projects with no such components. Based on the results of Task 2 (Develop Methodology), the Research Team will use the available data to measure the economic costs and benefits associated with the case study projects with the objective of estimating the marginal difference in net benefit from Complete Streets projects. It is anticipated that some results will be presented separately for each case study, along with summary information combining results of all case study projects.
Task 5 Deliverable: None. Task 5 labor will be invoiced along with Task 6 labor after the Task 6 deliverable has been approved.

Task 6. Draft Final and Final Report
Ninety (90) days prior to the end date of the task work order, the university will submit a draft final report to The draft final report will summarize the results of all previous tasks, including Task 5 (Data Analysis). The draft final and final reports must follow the Guidelines for University Presentation and Publication of Research available at
The report must be well-written and edited for technical accuracy, grammar, clarity, organization, and format.

Deliverable: Upon Department approval of the draft final report, the university will submit the Final Report on two (2) CDs. Both CDs shall contain the report in PDF and Word formats. CDs should be labeled in a professional manner and include contract number, task work order number, project title, and date.
The final report is due by the end date of the task work order and should be mailed to the Florida Department of Transportation, Research Center, 605 Suwannee Street, MS 30, Tallahassee, FL 32399-0450.

Task 6 Deliverable: Final Report

Use of Subcontractors

No use of subcontractors is anticipated for this project.

Use of Graduate Students (s) and other Research Assistants

Students will be used to assist with gathering literature and information for Task 1, data collection, data analysis, and formatting the draft final and final reports.


No equipment will be purchased for this project.


No additional expenses are required for this project.


This project will include travel. It is anticipated that at least one member of the Research Team will need to travel to one or more of the case study sites in order to complete the data collection effort. Travel will occur to up to three Florida case study sites and up to two out-of-state sites. The travel is budgeted for one person to make up to five trips, each trip lasting approximately two days (although travel to the western U.S. will require three days). All travel shall be in accordance with Section 112.061, Florida Statutes. FDOT employees may not travel on research contracts. Travel must only be requested when teleconference and web meetings cannot achieve the purpose of the travel.

Project Kickoff Teleconference

The Principal Investigator will schedule a kickoff teleconference that shall be held within the first 30 days of execution. The project manager, principal investigator, and research performance coordinator shall attend. Other parties may be invited if appropriate. The purpose of the meeting is to review the tasks, deliverables, and deployment plan. Teleconference/web meeting should be used.

Project Closeout Teleconference

The Principal Investigator will schedule a closeout teleconference that shall be held during the final 30 days of the task work order. The principal investigator, project manager, and research performance coordinator shall attend. Other parties may be invited, if appropriate. The purpose of the meeting is to review project performance, the deployment plan, and next steps.


Work not identified and included in this scope of service is not to be performed and will not be subject to compensation by the Department.

Publication Provision

If at any time the University or subcontractor (if applicable) desires to publish in any form any material that has not been submitted for formal review and acceptance by the Department, the University must submit to the Department an abstract and notification of intent to publish materials, and receive the Department’s concurrence to publish. To protect the interest of the Department, such publication must prominently contain the following statement “The Florida Department of Transportation has not reviewed or accepted this material.” Both written and oral releases are considered to be within the context of publication. However, there is no intention to limit discussion of the study with small technical groups or lectures to employees or students. Lectures that describe the plans but disclose neither data nor results may be given to other groups without advance approval.

Project Schedule

November 2013 to October 2015

Budget Summary

Total Project Cost $145,071

Leave a Reply

Please complete the simple math problem prior to submitting your comment. This reduces spam. Thanks! * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.