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How to Improve Walking Routes in Your Community

Walking is one of the best ways to get around – and a great form of exercise. Encourage more of it by enlisting neighbors to identify ways to improve walking routes in your community. It's rewarding, easy to organize, and a great way to boost access to local destinations.


  • Step 1: Download surveys Download the Sidewalks and Streets toolkit at Volunteers use these checklists to rate a walking route on various criteria, like the condition of the sidewalks, the safety of the crosswalks, and the area's overall cleanliness.
  • Step 2: Find volunteers Find friends and neighbors willing to walk a designated route in town and note along the way what could be done to make it easier or safer for walking. Consider enlisting a local organization's help in supplying volunteers.
  • TIP: Include someone with mobility challenges if possible, and someone with a stroller. You can also consult with an expert who understands mobility concerns for people with physical challenges.
  • Step 3: Map out an area Choose a date, time, and location for the walk. Map out an area to assess that should be pedestrian-friendly. You may choose your own area to walk, or ask the opinion of community leaders.
  • Step 4: Conduct the survey Ask each volunteer to bring along a street map, clipboard, paper, and pens, plus a camera to record any examples of items that require change or repair. Rate each item on the survey.
  • TIP: Photos are especially powerful tools for illustrating problems and convincing community leaders of changes needed.
  • Step 5: Tally the scores At the end of the walk, collect the surveys. Tally the results and identify improvements you can make now or in the future.
  • Step 6: Share your report For improvements that require help from local agencies, produce a report that includes photos. Share your report with local agencies and elected officials and request action!
  • Step 7: Compare notes Go to to check out how other communities have made themselves more pedestrian-friendly. Then post an article about your own success!
  • FACT: Studies show that safe, walkable communities promote meaningful participation in community life.

You Will Need

  • A Sidewalks and Streets toolkit
  • Volunteers
  • An area to assess
  • Street maps
  • Clipboard
  • paper and pen
  • and a camera
  • A follow-up meeting

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