Establish an Advisory Council or Safety Task Force- Or Both

A pedestrian advisory council is typically a volunteer committee of informed residents who provide guidance on a city’s pedestrian policies, programs, and plans, and make recommendations for pedestrian improvements. A task force, often created through an executive directive, is convened to develop the framework for short- and long-term actions to create safe, pedestrian-oriented public space. The scopes of advisory councils or task forces can also expand from walking to “active living” in order to include public health and bicycle advocates.

Council or task force members should include representatives from city agencies responsible for public space and streets, and representatives from other agencies that influence walking safety and policies, such as fire and police departments, senior services, utility companies, housing authorities, public health departments, etc. Members should also include community representatives, whether they are members of pedestrian advisory councils; community groups; associations for seniors, the disabled, or the medical profession; or walking-advocacy organizations.

  • Name an agency to lead the task force, and hold it accountable to meeting its goals
  • The committee convener should demonstrate initial and ongoing support by:
    • Attending meetings (where appropriate)
    • Publicly reaffirming goals
    • Applying continual pressure on city agencies to prioritize committee goals and recommendations
  • Regularly report progress back to agencies and the general public
  • Attend other meetings to advance efforts
  • Facilitates interdepartmental and community coordination and communication
  • Reinforces pedestrian concerns as a public and governmental priority
  • Encourages and reinforces agency support
  • Helps agencies reach short-term goals and understand local context to inform longer-range pedestrian safety plans
  • Potential communication and funding hurdles between multiple agencies
  • Competing objectives of participating agencies or community organizations
  • Potential lack of power if not supported by strong elected or agency leadership
Where to Use It
  • Countries, states, counties, cities, and towns
Professional Consensus
  • Task forces and advisory councils are established means of evaluating structural needs and proposing institutional reforms within federal, state, and municipal governments
  • In the absence of official endorsements from national associations or governmental departments, cities are turning to best practices employed by other municipalities

Examples Many states and cities have convened pedestrian task forces, pedestrian advisory councils, pedestrian-bicycle councils/task forces, or active living councils/task forces, including:

This material is the product of a partnership between America Walks and Sam Schwartz Engineering. Visit here for more information on the partnership.