Planning Complete Streets for an Aging America

AARP Public Policy Institute Releases “Planning Complete Streets for an Aging America”

This report addresses the need to create Complete Streets that are safe and convenient for travel by automobile, foot, bicycle and transit regardless of age or ability.  The study encourages roadway planners and engineers to approach road design through the lens of Complete Streets and employ design strategies that support older drivers and pedestrians. Findings from original research conducted for this study show that:

  • Two-thirds of planners and engineers report that they have not yet begun considering the needs of older road users in their multi-modal planning.
  • More than 80 states and localities have adopted Complete Streets policies, but less than one-third of these explicitly address the needs of older road users.
  • Forty percent of adults age 50 and older report inadequate sidewalks in their neighborhoods. More sobering, nearly 50 percent report they cannot cross main roads close to their home safely.
  • The report suggests revisions to five intersection treatments in the Federal Highway Design Handbook for Older Drivers and Pedestrians to better balance the needs of both older drivers and pedestrians.

This paper is available electronically at If you would like additional hard copies of the report, please contact (202) 434-3890. If you have any questions about the report, please contact Jana Lynott at (202) 434-3893 or

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