The Walkability Checklist for Students and Adults is a simple six question checklist that adults and children can use to examine their neighborhoods and measure how safe and friendly their streets are for walkers. The Walkability Checklist provides a way to easily identify barriers to walking, which can then be utilized to make positive changes. For example, they can be used to inform school officials, community leaders, and the media on needed improvements to make walking to school safer .
Who can use the Walkability Checklist?
Urge parents or guardians to use the Walkability Checklist with their younger children on the walk or bicycle ride to school, as a way to discuss and identify steps needed to improve the safety of the route to school. Encourage parents to note the location of things that would discourage walking or bicycling. Older students may be able to complete the Walkability Checklist on their own. School staff can also use the Walkability Checklist with students, embedding it into the curriculum. This can be done either in conjunction with a walking field trip, or making it a special small group activity with the help of supervising adults.
Make certain that school administrators, public officials, and the media get Walkability Checklists as well. Suggest that the local newspaper print a version before a Walk to School event. Ask the police, traffic engineers, and department of public works to participate and get their opinions. They can be the greatest allies in creating solutions.
What is the reading level of the Walkability Checklist?
The Walkability Checklist is at a 4th grade reading level. Students who can’t read at that level should be assisted to complete it.
What languages is the Walkability Checklist available in?
English and Spanish (coming soon)
What should be done with the completed Walkability Checklists?
Students should give their completed Walkability Checklist to their teacher or another designated adult at the school. If the Walkability Checklist was done in Spanish, work with school staff or parent volunteers to translate any open ended responses back into English. Especially try to find specific locations or issues that were noted by substantial numbers of participants and make specific note of these. If possible, involve students in compiling Walkability Checklists and tabulating or summarizing results.
What should be done with the results of the Walkability Checklists?
Not everything can be fixed at once. But a prioritized list is a great place to begin. A first step might be to list the problems that have come up most in the Walkability Checklists, and discuss which seem to be the most important. Rank the problems first according to which would positively affect the most kids if they could be fixed. Then rank them according to which seem easiest to fix. Initially target the low cost, high impact solutions for the community to take action right away.
Possible Action Steps:
- Ask neighbors to trim trees or bushes that block the street.
- Ask neighbors to keep dogs leashed or fenced and report scary dogs to the animal control department.
- Take your Walkability Checklist results and write a letter to the newspaper or the mayor or city planning department.
- Organize a neighborhood vehicular speed-watch program and request increased police enforcement.
- Organize a school and surrounding community clean-up or tree-planting day.
- Encourage your school to teach pedestrian safety skills.
- Tell local traffic engineering or public works department about specific problems and provide a copy of the Walkability Checklist and the tabulated results. Emphasize that pedestrian-friendly communities are places with a high quality of life, often translating into increased property values, business growth and increased tourism.
- Speak up at city council meetings or petition the city or town for safe walkways and gather neighborhood signatures. Let them know that with more people walking, communities experience reduced traffic congestion, improved air quality and greater physical fitness.
- Use the Walkability Checklist results to support funding applications.