How the design of Complete Streets affects mode choice: Understanding the behavioral responses to the level of traffic stress

Javier Bas, Mohammad B. Al-Khasawneh, Sevgi Erdoğan, Cinzia Cirillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Following a federal policy statement in 2010 supporting bicycle and pedestrian accommodation in federal-aid transportation projects, many cities across the US have implemented Complete Streets principles and invested in developing better-planned infrastructure that can be safely accessed by a diversity of modes of transportation by all types of users, in a mix of land uses. However, most of the travel demand forecasting models and planning tools used in practice are not sensitive to changes in demand for non-motorized modes such as walking and cycling in response to road infrastructure improvements. Hence, there is a need for models and tools that are capable of evaluating impacts of infrastructure changes that include Complete Streets implementations on the travel behavior, and estimate shifts in mode choices from motorized to non-motorized modes. This paper proposes a specific data collection plan, a multi-modal choice model, and strategies to update traditional trip-based transportation models to forecast rates of non-motorized trips for evaluating Complete Streets plans at a higher level. Concretely, we estimate elasticities to Level of Traffic Stress, which defines the comfort or discomfort experienced by walkers and bikers, segmented by income levels and trip purposes. We then use them to compute the new non-motorized mode shares that would be achieved by improving CS attributes leading to lower levels of traffic stress. The proposed modeling framework has been successfully applied to the Maryland Statewide Transportation Model, producing reliable non-motorized trip rates, and can be extended to other methodological frameworks used by public agencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103698
JournalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
StatePublished - Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Complete Streets
  • Elasticity
  • Level of Traffic Stress
  • Non-Motorized modes
  • Transportation planning
  • Travel Demand Forecasting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Transportation
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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