A successful Complete Streets initiative requires ongoing education and training — and it is about far more than helping engineers learn how to incorporate bicycle and pedestrian facilities into road projects. Planners, engineers, consultants, and other agencies need a thorough understanding of new procedures. Elected official need ongoing engagement to understand how the general policy goals will be translated into projects on the ground. And communication with the public about what they want out of their streets, and what is happening to their roads, is essential for implementation to be successful.
Many communities employ a workshop approach to help transportation staff understand and embrace the intention behind Complete Streets. They need to hear how this approach works in other communities, and how it fits into their professional goals and standards. The best messengers for these sessions are those within the same profession; engineers need to hear directly from other engineers, planners from other planners. Many agencies have also used a more informal, on-the-job training approach that encourages dialogue between departments. Additional technical training should be part of regular professional development.
Work with elected officials, involved stakeholders, and the general public must be ongoing. Transportation staff and Complete Streets supporters need to be able to communicate how the proposed projects benefit the community and nearby residents and businesses, and how incomplete streets negatively affect mobility and access to schools, offices, and shops. Regular updates on goals and successes are key. “Experiential” learning, through activities such as walking audits and bicycle tours, has been very helpful in building support and camaraderie among staff, elected officials, and community members. Some have also produced or shared short videos that focus on the health, economic, and safety benefits of changing street design.
- Leadership sends a formal memo or email to staff about the new Complete Streets Policy.
- Conduct a formal staff training process, potentially through:
- Staff retreats,
- Series of Complete Streets specific training sessions,
- Funded professional development with outside experts, and/or
- On-the-job training.
- Conduct informal mentoring-training within the transportation department.
- Provide training on technical aspects of the policy (e.g. engineering/design).
- Provide training on non-technical aspects of the policy (e.g. process changes within the department to consider all users of all abilities).
- Provide training on non-transportation topics such as environment and public health benefits.
- Provide sensitivity training to learn about all users of the road such as those with disabilities.
- Training includes department heads, managers and program staff.
- Develop systematic training in incorporating all users of all abilities for new staff.
- Include multiple departments in training, such as utilities, public health, transit agencies and economic development.
- Engage with community to explain the importance of Complete Streets policy, when and how it will be applied, from a multi-disciplinary view. Engage through:
- Public meetings,
- Presentations at city council meetings,
- Presentations at district offices that are open to the public,
- Video presentation available online,
- Printed materials such as newsletters, pamphlets, posters, and/or
- Walking and/or biking audits or tours.
- Educational campaigns, which may include information about new road markings and signs, coaching on sharing the road with other users, benefits of walking, biking, and taking public transportation.
- Community engineers and planners must hear from their professional peers.
- Strive to instill a sense that Complete Streets is part of everyone’s job.
- Outreach to community members is an on-going process and must not end with a policy’s adoption.
- The first projects are the hardest to sell. Communicate on a project-by-project scale as well as in more general terms. Go to the public so they hear about the project and your goals directly from you first.
- Start with temporary or pilot projects, or choose projects with relatively simple implementation; be sure to tie these projects back to the Complete Streets objective.
- Provide regular updates to community and agency elected officials and media on implementation and successes.
- Ask your Metropolitan Planning Organization to provide training for its member jurisdictions.
- Share project successes in the context of overall policy implementation.
Professional Training: Workshops
- National Complete Streets Coalition Workshops
- Designing Pedestrian Facilities for Accessibility, Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals
- Designing for Pedestrian Safety, Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center
- Planning and Designing for Pedestrian Safety, Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center
- Creating Livable Communities through Public Involvement, Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center
- Complete Streets Workshops, Massachusetts Department of Transportation
- Complete Streets Training, North Carolina Department of Transportation
- One Bay Area Grant: Complete Streets Policy Development Workshops, Metropolitan Transportation Commission (San Francisco region)/
Professional Training: Web-based
- Webinars, Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals
- Webinars, State Smart Transportation Initiative
- Webinars, Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center
- Professional development opportunities, Institute of Transportation Engineers
- Professional development opportunities, American Planning Association
Professional Training: Notable Conferences
- Annual Meeting, Transportation Research Board
- Pro Walk Pro Bike Conference, Project for Public Spaces
- Professional Development Seminar, Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals
- Technical Conference and Annual Meeting, Institute of Transportation Engineers
- National Planning Conference, American Planning Association
- New Partners for Smart Growth, Local Government Commission
- Walkability Checklist, Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center
- Walkability Workbook, Walkable and Livable Communities Institute
- Walkability Audits with Dan Burden, Walkable and Livable Communities Institute
- Walkable Community Workshops with Mark Fenton
Pilot Projects, Demonstration Events, Programs, and Placemaking
- Pavement-to-Parks program, San Francisco
- Make Way for People Initiative, Chicago
- Tactical Urbanism 2: Short Term Action, Long Term Change, Street Plans Collaborative
- City Repair, Portland, Oregon
- The Better Block: Rapid Urban Revitalization Projects
- The Open Streets Guide, Alliance for Biking & Walking and Streets Plans Collaborative
- Resources for Organizers, Open Streets Project
- “20 Is Plenty” program, Hoboken, New Jersey
- “Neighborhood 25” program, Arlington, Virginia
- Sustainable Jersey community certification, New Jersey
Public Information About Projects
- Participation Tools for Better Community Planning, Local Government Commission, 2013