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Complete Streets

MnDOT Policy OP004
View/print signed policy (PDF)

Policy statement

The Minnesota Department of Transportation requires that the principles of “Complete Streets” are to be considered at all phases of planning and project development in the establishment, development, operation, and maintenance of a comprehensive, integrated, and connected multimodal transportation system.

Reason for policy

Minnesota Statutes 174.75 directed MnDOT to implement a “Complete Streets” policy for the state trunk highway system after consultation with stakeholders, state and regional agencies, local governments, and road authorities. This policy affects virtually all phases of road activity on trunk highways, from planning to maintenance.

As defined by the law, "Complete Streets" is the planning, scoping, design, implementation, operation, and maintenance of roads in order to reasonably address the safety and accessibility needs of users of all ages and abilities. Complete streets considers the needs of motorists, pedestrians, transit users and vehicles, bicyclists, and commercial and emergency vehicles moving along and across roads, intersections, and crossings in a manner that is sensitive to the local context and recognizes that the needs vary in urban, suburban, and rural settings.

MnDOT developed this policy along with Technical Memorandum 14-08-TS-02 to uphold, complement and elevate existing state and federal laws and departmental direction that support an integrated, multimodal transportation system.

This policy is prepared in accordance with Minnesota statutes and rules, federal statutes and regulations.

Principal points

Consistent with MnDOT’s mission of providing the highest quality, dependable multimodal transportation system, both the Minnesota GO Vision adopted in November 2011 and the Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan (SMTP), 2012-2031 establish a vision for a transportation system that:

  • Provides safe, convenient, efficient and effective movement of people and goods;
  • Provides accessibility regardless of socioeconomic status or individual ability.

The SMTP also establishes a statewide strategy of improving accessibility and safety for everyone traveling on, along or across roads.

The policy and Technical Memorandum provide direction on the implementation of “Complete Streets” pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 174.75 and also provide a framework to achieve the following transportation goals listed in (or envisaged by) Minnesota Statutes 174.01, Subdivision 2:

  • Minimize fatalities and injuries for transportation users throughout the state;
  • Provide multimodal and intermodal transportation facilities and services to increase access for all persons and businesses and to ensure economic well-being and quality of life without undue burden placed on any community;
  • Ensure that the planning and implementation of all modes of transportation are consistent with the environmental and energy goals of the state;
  • Increase use of transit as a percentage of all trips statewide by giving highest priority to the transportation modes with the greatest people-moving capacity and lowest long-term economic and environmental cost;
  • Promote and increase bicycling and walking as a percentage of all trips as energy-efficient, nonpolluting, and healthy forms of transportation;

For MnDOT’s preservation projects on the trunk highway system, consideration of “Complete Streets,” competing objectives, and creation of new assets must be balanced with asset preservation needs and other constraints (fiscal, right of way, etc.) in order to manage risks associated with diminishing MnDOT’s asset preservation capabilities and effectiveness.

Local road authorities are encouraged to adopt a similar policy. Effective implementation and operation of “Complete Streets” relies upon multi-jurisdictional collaboration and responsibility for an integrated network of state and local roads.

Who needs to know this policy

MnDOT personnel, local agency representatives, consultants, and contracts responsible planning, designing, constructing or maintaining projects along trunk highway right of way.


The procedures for implementing “Complete Streets” in planning, project development and scoping, design, construction, operations and maintenance, and measurement and evaluation are specified in Technical Memorandum 14-08-TS-02.

MnDOT will apply relevant Minnesota or federal statutes, rules, or industry codes as appropriate to the circumstances of the implementation of “Complete Streets” on trunk highway right of way. If a more stringent protection is prescribed by Minnesota or federal statutes, rules, or industry codes than is provided in this policy, the more stringent requirement shall prevail. Nothing in this policy shall be considered as a limitation on the authority or responsibility of MnDOT to apply statutes and regulations as appropriate to the specific circumstances.

Exemptions to Policy

Exemptions to the procedures detailed in the Technical Memorandum may be granted by the MnDOT State Design Engineer for the following reasons:

  • Users are legally prohibited from using a roadway. Where access is legally prohibited, project managers should consider opportunities to address or remove barriers to network connectivity and crossings that are important for serving non-motorized and other modes, such as provision of interstate crossings and/or collocated but separated facilities for non-motorized users who are prohibited from using the roadway itself.
  • Physical constraints and future travel and attractors demonstrate absence of current and future need. Because of the long life of bridge structures, careful consideration should be given before determining not to provide for other modes at the time a new structure is constructed.
  • Detrimental environmental or safety impacts outweigh the benefits of enhanced multimodal access.
  • Constraints related to local government opposition or right of way acquisition requiring excessive expenditure of time, money and resources.
  • Inability to negotiate and enter into an agreement with a local government to assume the operational and maintenance responsibility of the facility.
  • Preservation projects in which risk analysis and fiscal constraints indicate MnDOT may significantly diminish critical preservation of existing assets by expanding scope and adding new “Complete Streets” assets on the projects.
  • Emergency and routine or localized maintenance and repair work (debris removal, sweeping, pothole patching, sidewalk patching, joint and crack repair, etc.).


For current instructions, see Highway Project Development Process.


Complete Streets

“Complete Streets” is the planning, scoping, design, implementation, operation, and maintenance of roads in order to reasonably address the safety and accessibility needs of users of all ages and abilities.


“Highway” is a general term denoting a public way for the transportation of people, materials, goods, and services but primarily for vehicular travel, including the entire area within the right of way.


The State of Minnesota Department of Transportation, acting through the Commissioner of Transportation.

Right of Way

Real property or interests therein, acquired, dedicated or reserved for the construction, operation, and maintenance of a highway.

Trunk Highway System

All roads established or to be established under the provisions of Article XIV, Section 2 of the Constitution of the State of Minnesota, "Public Highway System." This system includes highways that are constructed, improved, and maintained as public highways under the jurisdiction of the Commissioner of Transportation, including highways on the Interstate system.


The responsibilities for planners, project managers, designers, construction managers and maintenance engineers for projects on the trunk highway system are specified in the Technical Memorandum 14-08-TS-02.

State Design Engineer

  • Develop and maintain an exemption process
  • Review and approve exemption requests

Manager, Planning and Data Analysis

  • Develop and track process indicators for implementation of “Complete Streets”
  • Track established performance indicators that contribute to “Complete Streets” goals

Related information

MnDOT Complete Streets website
MnDOT Cost Participation for Cooperative Construction Projects and Maintenance Responsibilities Policy
MnDOT Minnesota Tribal Nations Government-to-Government Relationship with MnDOT Policy

History of policy updates or amendments


Policy OP004 – Complete Streets, approved 11-12-2013

  • Comprehensive review, minor revisions, changes and updates to the policy to reflect organizational changes and make it consistent with other administrative policies.
    • Change/update: Responsible Senior Officer, Policy Owner, Policy Contact
    • Change/update: Signature page


Responsible Senior Officer

Susan Mulvihill, P.E.
Deputy Commissioner and Chief Engineer

Policy Owner

Mark Gieseke
Director, Transportation System Management

Policy Contact

Mark B. Nelson
Manager, Planning and Data Analysis