Complete streets require evaluation to determine if they encourage active transportation.
Data were collected before and after a street intervention provided new light rail, bike lanes, and better sidewalks in Salt Lake City, Utah. Residents living near (<800 m) and far (≥801 to 2000 m) from the street were compared, with sensitivity tests for alternative definitions of near (<600 and <1000 m). Dependent variables were accelerometer/global positioning system (GPS) measures of transit trips, nontransit walking trips, and biking trips that included the complete street corridor.
Active travel trips for Near-Time 2 residents, the group hypothesized to be the most active, were compared with the other 3 groups (Near-Time 1, Far-Time 1, and Far-Time 2), net of control variables. Near-Time 2 residents were more likely to engage in complete street transit walking trips (35%, adjusted) and nontransit walking trips (50%) than the other 3 groups (24% to 25% and 13% to 36%, respectively). Bicycling was less prevalent, with only 1 of 3 contrasts significant (10% of Near-Time 2 residents had complete street bicycle trips compared with 5% of Far-Time 1 residents).
Living near the complete street intervention supported more pedestrian use and possibly bicycling, suggesting complete streets are also public health interventions.
Brown, Smith, Tharp, and Jensen are with the Dept of Family and Consumer Studies; Werner is with the Dept of Psychology; University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT. Tribby and Miller are with the Dept of Geography, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.