Walkability Checklist

How walkable is your community?

Take a walk with a family member or friend and decide for yourselves.

Everyone benefits from walking. But walking needs to be safe and easy. Take a walk with a family member or friend, and use this checklist to decide if your neighborhood is a friendly place to walk. Take heart if you find problems, there are ways you can make things better.

Getting started

First, you will need to pick a place to walk, like the route to school, a friend's house, the grocery store, the park, or just somewhere fun to go.

The second step involves the checklist. Read over the checklist before you go. As you walk, note the locations of things you would like to change. At the end of your walk, give each question a rating. Then add up the numbers to see how you rated your walk overall.

After you have rated your walk and identified any problem areas, the next step is to figure out what you can do to improve your community's score. You'll find both immediate answers and long-term solutions under "Improving Your Community's Score..." below.

What is Your Neighborhood Walkability Score?

Take a walk and use this checklist to rate your neighborhood's walkability.

Rating Scale:
1=Awful 2=Many problems 3=Some problems 4=Good 5=Very good 6=Excellent

1. Did you have room to walk?

Rating: (check one)

6

2. Was it easy to cross streets?

Rating: (check one)

6

3. Did motorists drive well?

Rating: (check one)

6

4. Was it easy to follow safety rules?

Could you and your family member or friend...

Cross at crosswalks or cross where you could see and be seen by drivers?

Stop and look left, right, and then left again before crossing streets?

Walk on sidewalks or shoulders facing traffic where there were no sidewalks?

Cross with the light?

Rating: (check one)

6

5. Was your walk pleasant?

Rating: (check one)

6


How does your neighborhood stack up?

Add up your ratings and decide.

Questions 1-5 Ratings Total:

26-30 Celebrate! You have a great neighborhood for walking.
21-25 Celebrate a little. Your neighborhood is pretty good.
16-20 Okay, but it needs some work.
11-15 There are some major problems that need to be addressed. Work with your neighbors to address them.
5-10 The problems are severe and need to be brought to the attention of your local leaders. Work with your neighbors to organize a plan of action.

Improving your community's score...

Now that you know the problems, you can find the answer.

1. Did you have room to walk? What you and your family member or friend can do now What you and your community can do with more time
  • Sidewalks or paths started and stopped
  • Sidewalks broken or cracked
  • Sidewalks blocked
  • No sidewalks, paths or shoulders
  • Too much traffic
  • pick another route for now
  • tell local traffic engineering or public works department about specific problems and provide a copy of the checklist
  • speak up at board meetings
  • write or petition the city for walkways and gather neighborhood signatures
  • make media aware of problem
  • work with a local transportation engineer to develop a plan for a safe walking route
2. Was it easy to cross streets?
  • Road too wide
  • Traffic signals made us wait too long or did not give us enough time to cross
  • Crosswalks/traffic signals needed
  • View of traffic blocked by parked cars, trees, or plants
  • Needed curb ramps or ramps needed repair
  • pick another route for now
  • share problems and checklist with local traffic engineering or public works department
  • trim your trees or bushes that block the street and ask your neighbors to do the same
  • leave nice notes on problem cars asking owners not to park there
  • push for crosswalks/signals /parking changes/ curb ramps at city meetings
  • report to traffic engineer where parked cars are safety hazards
  • report illegally parked cars to the police
  • request that the public works department trim trees or plants
  • make media aware of problem
3. Did motorists drive well?
  • Backed without looking
  • Did not yield
  • Turned into walkers
  • Drove too fast
  • Sped up to make traffic lights or drove through red lights
  • pick another route for now
  • set an example; slow down and be considerate of others
  • encourage your neighbors to do the same
  • report unsafe driving to the police
  • petition for more enforcement
  • request protected turns
  • ask city planners and traffic engineers for traffic calming ideas
  • ask schools about getting crossing guards at key locations
  • organize a neighborhood speed watch program
4. Could you follow safety rules?
  • Cross at crosswalks or where you could see and be seen
  • Stop and look left, right, left before crossing
  • Walk on sidewalks or shoulders facing traffic
  • Cross with the light
  • educate yourself and your family members or friends about safe walking
  • organize parents in your neighborhood to walk children to school
  • encourage schools to teach walking safely
  • help schools start safe walking programs
  • encourage corporate support for flex schedules so parents can walk children to school
5. Was your walk pleasant?
  • Needs grass, flowers, trees
  • Scary dogs
  • Scary people
  • Not well lit
  • Dirty, litter
  • point out areas to avoid to your family members and friends; agree on safe routes
  • ask neighbors to keep dogs leashed or fenced
  • report scary dogs to the animal control department
  • report scary people to the police
  • report lighting needs to the police or appropriate public works department
  • take a walk with a trash bag
  • plant trees or flowers in your yard
  • request increased police enforcement
  • start a crime watch program in your neighborhood
  • organize a community clean-up day
  • sponsor a neighborhood beautification or tree-planting day
  • begin an adopt-a-street program
A Quick Health Check
  • Could not go as far or as fast as we wanted
  • Were tired, short of breath, or had sore feet or muscles
  • start with short walks and work up to 30 minutes of walking most days
  • invite a friend or child along
  • get media to do a story about the health benefits of walking
  • call parks and recreation department about community walks
  • encourage corporate support for employee walking programs

Great Resources

Need some guidance? These resources might help.

Walking Information

Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC)
UNC Highway Safety Research Center
730 Airport Road, Suite 300
Campus Box 3430
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3430
Phone: (919) 962-2203
Email: pbic@pedbikeinfo.org
www.pedbikeinfo.org
www.walkinginfo.org

National Center for Bicycling & Walking (NCBW)
8120 Woodmont Ave, Suite 650
Bethesda, MD 20814
Phone: (301) 656-4220
Email: info@bikewalk.org
www.bikewalk.org

Walk to School Day Web Sites

Partnership for a Walkable America
730 Airport Road, Suite 300
Campus Box 3430
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3430
Phone: (919) 962-7419
Email: walk@walktoschool.org
USA event:
www.walktoschool-usa.org
International:
www.iwalktoschool.org

Street Design and Traffic Calming

Federal Highway Administration Office of Safety
http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/index.htm

Directory of State Departments of Transportation
http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/webstate.htm

Intersections
http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/intersections/index.htm

Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety
http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/index.htm

Stop Red Light Running Program
http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/intersections/srlr_campaign.htm

Institute of Transportation Engineers
www.ite.org

Surface Transportation Policy Project
www.transact.org

Accessible Sidewalks

United States Access Board
1331 F Street, NW
Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20004-1111
Phone: (800) 872-2253
(800) 993-2822 (TTY)
Email: info@access-board.gov
www.access-board.gov
En Español: www.access-board.gov/spanish.htm

Pedestrian Safety

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Traffic Safety Programs
400 Seventh Street, SW
Washington, DC 20590
Phone: 1-888-327-9153
TTY: 1-800-424-9153
www.nhtsa.dot.gov

Pedestrian Safety
www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/pedbimot/ped

Safe Kids Worldwide
1301 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20004-1707
Phone: (202) 662-0600
Fax: (202) 393-2072
www.safekids.org

Walking and Health

Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
4770 Buford Highway, NE, MS/K-24
Atlanta, GA 30341-3717
Phone: 1-800-232-4636
(800-CDC-INFO)
Email: cdcinfo@cdc.gov
www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/index.htm
En Español:
1-888-246-2857
www.cdc.gov/spanish/

Ready, Set, It's Everywhere You Go!
www.cdc.gov/communication/campaigns/ready.htm

Kids Walk-to-School
www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/kidswalk/index.htm

California Center for Physical Activity, California Department of Public Health
P.O. Box 997377, MS 7211
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 552-9874
Email: cacenterforpa@dhs.ca.gov

Prevention Magazine
33 East Minor Street
Emmaus, PA 18098
(610) 967-5171
www.prevention.com

Walking Coalitions

America Walks
Old City Hall
45 School Street, 2nd Floor
Boston, MA 02108
Phone: 617-367-1170
Email: info@americawalks.org
www.americawalks.org

Partnership for a Walkable America National Safety Council
1121 Spring Lake Drive
Itasca, IL 60143-3201
Phone: (603) 285-1121
www.walkableamerica.org

Source: Adapted from the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, Walkability Checklist. Available at: www.walkinginfo.org/cps/checklist.htm Accessed March 30, 2006.

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