America Walks and Sam Schwartz Engineering Release “Steps to a Walkable Community”

A new book and workshop series puts innovative, multidisciplinary pro-walking tactics in the hands of citizens, planners, and engineers.

Sam Schwartz Engineering, the transportation engineering consulting firm, and America Walks, the national pedestrian advocacy organization, are proud to announce the launch of Steps to a Walkable Community: A Guide for Citizens, Planners, and Engineers. This book and downloadable PDF is a collection of innovative tactics that have successfully improved and encouraged walking in communities around the country. This resource serves as the basis for a series of webinars, phone discussion groups, trainings, and walking campaign walkshops™ also launching this month.

Creating a pedestrian-friendly community often means tackling the problem from several different angles at the same time. To address that reality, Steps to a Walkable Community features tactics that tackle those challenges from multiple approaches, such as advocacy, land use, policy, design and engineering, encouragement, and enforcement.

The guide is designed to be practical: Benefits of walking are distilled into two-page fact sheets that readers can use as talking points. Tactics are grouped by their fields of discipline and described in a standardized, easy-to-read format under the following headings: definition, benefits, considerations, appropriate contexts, guidance, professional consensus, examples, and case study (where needed).

“I now see the future of cities lies in their previously dominant transport mode—walking,” says Sam Schwartz, president and CEO of Sam Schwartz Engineering. “Steps to a Walkable Community will help engineers, planners, and citizens support this grand movement.”

“This guide, Steps to a Walkable Community, provides readers with both time-tested and innovative pro-walking tactics that are realistic and achievable,” says Scott Bricker, executive director of America Walks. “We aim for this resource to be the first stop in shopping for exciting walking projects and campaigns. Dive in and learn about these exciting initiatives.”

Steps to a Walkable Community is available for wide distribution in multiple formats:

  • Download a free PDF from
  • Order a $40 hardcopy by emailing
  • Visit, launching in October, a website where the tactics within Steps to a Walkable Community will be integrated with other emerging ideas

Steps to a Walkable Community is a continuation of work that began in November 2011, when America Walks gathered fifty leaders to formulate a strategy to assist state and local efforts to improve walkability. One key outcome was to develop a guide of innovative and effective pro-walking strategies. Sam Schwartz Engineering (SSE) and America Walks entered into a partnership to create this guide and strengthen a growing pedestrian movement. Steps to a Walkable Community was principally authored by Laura MacNeil, an urban planner at Sam Schwartz Engineering.

The Steps to a Walkable Community guide will be the basis for America Walks’ Walking Action Network program series to bring these innovative tactics to communities around the country. Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Walking Action Network launches September 13th in Long Beach, CA.

Sam Schwartz Engineering specializes in developing context-sensitive transportation solutions for simple to complex projects regionally, nationally and abroad. Identifying transportation and traffic impacts, Sam Schwartz Engineering provides creative, multi-modal plans that are grounded in technically rigorous analysis and industry-accepted design standards. At Sam Schwartz Engineering, we strive to balance the needs and improve the quality of life of all users, including drivers, pedestrians, transit riders and cyclists.

America Walks, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit national organization, is building a diverse and powerful coalition to be a strong voice to advance and protect walking at the national level serving as a coordinator, information clearinghouse, and resource provider; America Walks advances game-changing campaigns with national and local partner organizations. Its mission is to make America a great place for walking by working collaboratively to share knowledge, advance policies and implement effective campaigns to promote safe, convenient, and accessible walking conditions for all.


Laura MacNeil,
Sam Schwartz Engineering

Scott Bricker
America Walks