Quantifying the Impacts of Complete Streets: The Case of Richfield
Zhirong Zhao, Associate Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Complete Streets is a transportation policy and design approach that requires streets to be planned, designed, operated, and maintained to enable safe, convenient, and comfortable travel and access for users of all ages and abilities regardless of their mode of transportation. This project aims to demonstrate the economic and non-economic benefits of Complete Streets in the City of Richfield, which has been active in reconstructing several previously vehicle-oriented roads to allow for safe travel by those walking, cycling, driving automobiles, riding public transportation, or delivering goods.
The project has selected suitable improvement sites in Richfield and is working with the City of Richfield to identify possible economic benefits (such as increased property value) and other measurable benefits (such as public health benefits associated with pedestrian or cycling activities) of the Complete Streets projects. The economic benefits are estimated through a difference-in-differences (DID) analysis by comparing the pre-post changes of housing value or business activities between the improvement sites and comparison sites. For non-economic benefits of the Complete Streets project, benefit indicators are being collected through survey or interview and then monetized using common value parameters identified from the literature.
This study will help make a stronger case locally that pedestrian- and bike-related improvements are warranted. It will benefit taxpayers as it helps to guide sensible transportation investment toward building a more sustainable and livable urban environment.