Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Urban Science


Multimodal Complete Streets have emerged as a prominent aspiration of urban planning to ensure safe access for all users of streets including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit users. Concurrently, municipal leaders are pursuing ambitious tree planting initiatives. These co-arising trends are potentially good news, as trees are important elements of livable cities and Complete Streets. Yet, street trees may have different health and safety benefits and disbenefits for various circulation modes. To advance a multimodal approach to research and practice, we undertook a systematic literature review with goals to (1) identify the scholarly literature addressing links between street trees, human health, and safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicle drivers; (2) depict the principal disciplines, themes, and conceptual scope of this research; and (3) discuss the implications for urban planning and design practice and research. This review drew upon 13 scholarly databases and yielded 63 relevant articles spanning 15 countries, of which 49 constituted original research. The systematic analysis covers eight research categories. Findings show exponential growth in related scholarship over the past two decades, especially for pedestrians. Journals oriented toward interdisciplinary planning and public health and safety are leading this rise, and benefits far outweigh disbenefits. Yet, there are multimodal tensions especially as it relates to the role of street trees in relationship to drivers and pedestrians. Implications for research and practice are discussed, with an eye towards governance, design, and equity.


Eisenman:; Coleman:







UMass Amherst Open Access Policy

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.