Performance Measures for Complete, Green Streets: A Proposal for Urban Arterials in California
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans or “Department”) manages more than 15,000 miles of state highways, ranging in scale and function from local streets to interstate highways. Historically, Caltrans has been governed by the principles of highway engineering, which focus on providing mobility to motorized vehicles. Over the past decade, however, the Department has joined in a national movement to better incorporate non-motorized transportation and community-level outcomes into its transportation decision-making framework, embodied by the approach known as "Complete Streets." Recognizing that Caltrans’ current performance measurement system does not reflect this shift toward Complete Streets principles, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley created new measures to more accurately gauge Departmental progress toward these objectives. This paper elaborates on a proposed framework of performance measures for encouraging non-motorized transportation and increasing the environmental sustainability of the transportation system. The framework focuses on urban arterials, which carry high amounts of multimodal traffic and constitute 26% of California’s urban roadway network. Based on Complete Streets principles and the findings from an extensive literature review, the proposed framework compliments Caltrans’ current performance measurement system and presents an opportunity for the Department to become a national leader in encouraging non-motorized transportation and preserving the environment.