Planning, designing, and building walkable communities are technical tasks. Likewise, the process of retrofitting existing neighborhoods, business districts, and entire cities to make them walkable requires specific technical knowledge and skills. This section, which is provided primarily for planners, architects, and engineers (but also for advocates who may wish to forward new respources to the professionals) focuses on best practices for creating a built environment that makes walking a safe, enjoyable, and rational choice for short journeys.
Pedestrian Safety: Between 4,000 and 5,000 pedestrians are killed on the nation’s roads every year. What can planners, engineers, and law enforcement do to reduce collisions while encouraging more people to walk for pleasure and purpose?
Data Collection and Analysis: Good policy is informed by accurate and meaningful data. These resources include key statistics along with tools and methodologies for conducting walk audits, pedestrian counts, sidewalk inventories, and traffic speed analyses.
Place-making: People will take a walk if they see other people doing the same thing, and that happens when a city’s public spaces are comfortable and compelling. Placemaking is the art and science of creating great places where people want to spend time.
Land Use and Planning: One of the most important determinants of walkability is whether there are real destinations within walking distance. For this reason, suburban land-use patterns emphasize driving, whereas urban, mixed-use neighborhoods are walkable.
Sidewalks and Crosswalks: The basic elements of pedestrian networks are sidewalks and crosswalks. Where should they placed? Which designs work best in which locations? How do you pay for them? And what kind of policies do you need?
Intersection Design: The crossing of two streets can create a barrier or “pinch point” for pedestrian connectivity, unless it is well designed. The existence and timing of pedestrian signals and the detailed shapes of the curb lines impact walkability.
Speed Management: Traffic speed has an enormous impact on the walkability of any street. Lower speeds create a feeling of comfort and reduce the risk of serious injury and death. How do you set and enforce an appropriate speed limit for specific locations?
Wayfinding: When people are walking for recreation or transportation, they like to know which way they are going and how far it is to their destination. Well-designed maps and sign posts enhance walkability.
New Community Change Grants Awarded
Meet the awardees of our 2018 Community Change Grants and read about the work they will be doing in 2019.
America Walks Explores Walking College Results
Every year, Walking College Fellowships are awarded to about 25 advocates who are working alone, in local organizations, or in their professional capacity to advance walkability. This is an overview of the program’s early successes in terms of tangible outcomes in communities across the country. Click HERE to download the PDF version of this report.
New Resources: Getting Started Practice Guides
We are pleased to be able to offer this series of Getting Started Practice Briefs designed to provide local organizations and advocates with resources, knowledge and insider tips on how to make their communities more walkable.
Review six concise fact sheets about the multiple, cross-cutting benefits of walking and walkable communities.
Search for more technical resources organized under topics that include sidewalks, speed management, and place-making.
Search our resources for citizens and local groups, organized under advocacy topics such as building partnerships, developing campaigns, and finding funding.