*In August 2019, new Complete Streets policy was passed. NCDOT updated the Complete Streets Implementation Guide, effective January 31, 2020, and will continue to refine guidance to improve the implementation process.*

2019 Complete Streets Workshop Resources

Workshop Presentations

Introduction and Benefits of Complete Streets

Navigating the Process

Opportunities for Engagement

Funding for Implementation


Complete Streets: How a Plan Becomes a Project (5 Steps)

Complete Streets: Additional Resources

Guest Presentations

AARP Facts and Resources

2012 Complete Streets Regional Workshop Slides

Boone, September 23
Greenville, October 5
Salisbury, October 18
Morehead City, November 2

Complete Streets Guidelines

Complete Streets Implementation Guide (January 2020)
Complete Streets Guidelines (July 2012, PDF: 17mb)
Complete Streets Appendices (July 2012, PDF: 7.9mb)

Supporting Resources and Research

PEDBIKESAFE: Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection Systems
CMF Clearinghouse
Economic Effects of Access Management Techniques in North Carolina
Guidelines for Planting within Highway Right-of-Way
Highway Safety Manual
NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide
North Carolina Pedestrian and Bicycle Crash Data Tool and Crash Fact Summary Reports
PBIC Free Webinar Series


National Complete Streets Coalition
North Carolina Department of Transportation


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are Complete Streets?
    • Complete streets are streets designed to be safe and comfortable for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, motorists and individuals of all ages and capabilities. These streets generally include sidewalks, appropriate bicycle facilities, transit stops, right-sized street widths, context-based traffic speeds, and are well-integrated with surrounding land uses. For more on the policy, visit About Complete Streets.
  • Why are Complete Streets important?
    • Communities across North Carolina are seeing a growing need to make it easier and safer for all people to walk, bicycle, drive, or use public transportation. Interest in active transportation, including walking and bicycling, is on the rise. The state’s population continues to grow, with more people seeking urban lifestyles and amenities. Additionally, concerns about obesity and the cost of health care, coupled with high fuel prices, are causing individuals to seek alternative methods of travel, such as public transportation.
    • Such interest is shared among all individuals, including the young, the elderly, the disabled, the wealthy and the economically disadvantaged. Still, few facilities exist to offer safe routes for pedestrians, transit users, and cyclists. Statewide, more than 1,800 pedestrians and around 1,000 bicyclists are struck by cars in reported collisions each year.
    • Communities need a realistic solution for the growing demand for safe and accessible transportation options— a solution in which the North Carolina Department of Transportation has an important role. This role is defined by the Complete Streets policy and design approach. Pedestrian-, transit-, and bicycle-friendly streets not only provide transportation system redundancy and safety, but they offer critical economic and tourism benefits needed for the state, and they better serve the needs of all citizens, including the growing population of people who do not or cannot drive or own a car.
  • Can you clarify how the term “highway” will be used, since it is stated that the Guidelines will be applied to “streets”?
    • “Highways” has traditionally been the term used to describe public roads that connect cities, towns and other destinations. In that context, they tend to be higher speed facilities and serve the primary function of providing mobility for motorists traveling between towns. However, these “highways” not only connect towns and cities, but often run through them.
      When that happens, the highways’ functional requirements change – as streets, they need to balance mobility with access to land uses and to reflect the changed context. Thus, “highways” become “streets”.
    • Importantly, for streets to be “complete”, the concept of mobility expands to include mobility not just for motorists, but also for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users. The planning and design guidance in the Guidelines encourages communities to work with NCDOT to define how any “highway” can change as it transitions to become a community’s “street”. The Complete Street philosophy encourages flexibility in design choices and the development of transportation networks based on context and multimodal functions for streets. This means designing streets that encourage non-vehicular travel and expanding the concepts of safety, efficiency and function to include all users as a street traverses an urban area or future urban area.
  • Why doesn’t this document address “cost-sharing” and “betterments”?
    • There are several steps to implementing Complete Streets in North Carolina and the Planning and Design Guidelines represents one step. This document and the “technical” topics described within it are about how to plan for and design Complete Streets in many different contexts. It describes how NCDOT will work with local communities to create Complete Streets throughout the State and provides flexibility and guidance to achieve this. The Guidelines will be followed by subsequent implementation steps including training, manual updates, and new performance measures. NCDOT is committed to implementing the Board of Transportation’s adopted Complete Streets Policy and a broad variety of practices and policies will be reviewed relative to Complete Streets. The topic of changes to the current cost-sharing approach is under discussion, but beyond the scope of this design-related document.
  • Will local agencies be required to adopt Complete Streets policies (to create Complete Streets)?
    • No, there is no requirement for formal, locally-adopted policies to create Complete Streets, but communities may choose to adopt a policy to further indicate their expectations for Complete Streets. For example, several North Carolina communities have adopted Complete Streets policies and many others are already striving to create Complete Streets. Our intent is to work with them to apply these guidelines to create streets that will serve all users and those communities for many years to come. Other communities may be less clear about the concept of Complete Streets and we encourage them to consider the many benefits of planning for and implementing Complete Streets and to work with us to do so. NCDOT recognizes that providing safe and comfortable streets that serve all users is the right thing to do, and also that the State of North Carolina is in an enviable position – it has the climate, the geography, and the broad variety of communities to allow residents and visitors alike to take advantage of the many opportunities associated with better streets.
  • What types of projects will use these Complete Streets planning and design approaches? New? Retrofit? Minor/maintenance? How will these be identified?
    • The expected outcomes and designs described in the Planning and Design Guidelines will be applied to all types of projects. Changing to a Complete Streets approach requires systematic application. The specific processes used to identify Complete Street designs for these different types of projects will vary, but what will be different moving forward is that communities will have more opportunities to work with NCDOT to apply the Complete Streets Guidelines.
    • NCDOT will provide local governments the opportunity to review and comment on all projects, with the level of participation and collaboration scaled to the types of projects. For example, some types of maintenance activities provide excellent opportunities to implement Complete Street features. Therefore, local government representatives will be encouraged to review upcoming resurfacing and other project lists (low impact bridges, spot safety, etc.) for opportunities to recommend Complete Streets features (striping changes, road diets, shoulder widening, bicycle/pedestrian accommodations, etc.). For larger scale projects (included in the State Transportation Improvement Program), Chapter 2 of the Guidelines describes how a design input team will work to create projects by early and ongoing collaboration with local government representatives (and others). To see example projects, click here [link to example projects page].
  • Planting guidelines and other internal policies – will you reference them in this document or update them?
    • The Complete Streets Planning and Design guidelines will be followed by subsequent implementation steps including training, updating manuals, policy reviews, and new performance measures. NCDOT is committed to implementing the Board of Transportation’s adopted Complete Streets Policy and a broad variety of manuals, practices and internal policies will be assessed for compatibility with the Complete Streets Guidelines. The Advisory Group will also work with NCDOT and the consultant to identify and assess differences or potential conflicts between the guidelines and existing NCDOT policies, practices, or manuals and advance recommendations for policy consideration.
  • What happened to the comments that were submitted during the review period for developing the Complete Streets Guidelines?
    • All of the comments were reviewed and used to clarify the material and the messages included in the Guidelines. The themes will be used to help shape the implementation and the training. Also, next steps include identifying and recommending changes to existing NCDOT guidelines, manuals, and practices to complement the Complete Streets Material.
  • How will the Complete Streets policy be advertised?
    • The policy is posted here, and also on the NCDOT Division of Bicycle Pedestrian Web page under the Laws and Policies link.
  • Who can I call for more information?
    • If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact: Ed Johnson, Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation, 919-707-2604.