Establish an Executive Directive

Executive orders or mayoral directives can create or modify policies
that affect city operations. In the case of walking, mayoral directives can kick-start the creation of pedestrian action plans, pedestrian-oriented street design guidelines, and multiagency collaborations to meet safety goals set by mayors.

  • Outline a strong policy vision
  • Set clear, measurable goals to keep efforts focused
  • Create a strong role for advocacy groups to promote agency accountability
  • Provide bold leadership at the agency level to support reflection and reform
  • Provide initial and ongoing mayoral support:
    • Reaffirm goals publicly
    • Attend task force meetings
    • Push agency heads to prioritize the directive’s goals
  • Regularly evaluate progress toward the directive’s goals
  • Publicly publish reports of those evaluations to foster transparency, keep the directive’s goals and progress in the media spotlight, and encourage agency accountability
  • Faster and easier to institute than an ordinance to be adopted by the city council
  • Unifies multiple goals, vision policies, and programs
  • Helps institute regular public or multiagency hearings to increase agency accountability, educate the public and elected officials, and review existing practices for potential opportunities for improvement
  • Encourages other jurisdictions and private companies to follow suit and support the initiatives
  • Provides impetus for city council–crafted bills and resolutions to institutionalize efforts to meet the goals of the mayoral directive

Potentially limits the initiative to the term of the mayor who issues the directive

Where to Use It

Countries, states, counties, cities, and towns with strong mayoral or head managerial roles

Professional Consensus

In the absence of endorsements from national associations or governmental departments,cities are turning to best practices employed by other municipalities


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