A Resident's Guide for Creating Safe and Walkable Communities

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About this Guide

Walkable communities are safe and accessible for everyone.

People need walkable communities where sidewalks, trails, and street crossings are safe, accessible, and comfortable for people of all ability levels. Pedestrian-friendly communities have many benefits, including:

  • Safer environments for walking and bicycling, which means you are less likely to be in a traffic collision or get injured.
  • Better access to more places, providing more choices in how you can get to your destinations so you don't have to rely on having a car.
  • More opportunities to be physically active, which can improve your health and overall quality of life.
  • Opportunities for everyone, which includes a walking environment that accommodates people with disabilities.

It takes the commitment and involvement of many people to build and maintain places that are safe and friendly for walking. This guide is designed to be used by anyone looking for ways to improve the walkability of their neighborhood, whether they are just beginning to learn about pedestrian safety or are already part of an established community safety group. Residents can make a difference by raising awareness of pedestrian safety issues and pushing for change.

This guide provides examples from other communities working to improve pedestrian safety. It includes information, ideas, and resources to help residents learn about issues that affect walking conditions; find ways to address or prevent these problems; and promote pedestrian safety. The Resource Sheets at the end of the guide contain fact sheets, worksheets, and sample materials—these materials can be adapted to meet the needs of your community, or distributed to others working to improve pedestrian safety. The guide provides a thorough introduction to pedestrian safety and includes many references to other resources and materials for those interested in more in-depth information.

Keep in mind that pedestrian safety improvements often happen in stages. Even minor changes take time and may require effort from various individuals or agencies. This guide is a starting point and will help you be more efficient and effective, but patience and follow-through are crucial to your success.

The guide is organized into five key sections to lead you through your efforts to improve pedestrian safety in your community. Depending on the needs of your community, you can start with any of the sections below.

How can I identify problems with walking conditions in my neighborhood?
This section will help you figure out where there are walkability issues in your community.

Who can help me make my neighborhood a safer place to walk?
This section discusses the different groups and individuals that can help you improve walkability in your neighborhood.

How can the safety of my neighborhood be improved?
This section describes different fixes for improving walking in your community.

I need more information!
This section includes a glossary of commonly used terms, frequently asked questions, and references for other sources of information.

Resource Materials
This section includes detailed fact sheets, ways to take action, and sample materials that can be used to generate ideas and improve the walkability of your community.

 

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Program Contact

Tamara Redmon

202-366-4077

Gabriel Rousseau

202-366-8044

What's New

The FHWA Safety Office is continually developing new materials to assist states, localities and citizens in improving pedestrian and bicycle safety. The materials listed on this page were completed recently.

New Pedestrian Forum – Fall 2014

New Understanding Pedestrian Crashes in Louisville, KY 2006-2010

New Bicycle Safer Journey (Revised 2014)

New Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon Guide

new A Guide for Maintaining Pedestrian Facilities for Enhanced Safety

new Guide for Maintaining Pedestrian Facilities for Enhanced Safety Research Report

REVISED Pedsafe 2013: Pedestrian Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System

New Pedestrian Safer Journey 2013 (Revised)  

Proven Countermeasures for Pedestrian Safety

Spotlight on Pedestrian Safety

Promoting the Implementation of Proven Pedestrian Countermeasures

State Best Practice Policy for Medians

State Best Practice Policy for Shoulders and Walkways

Pedestrian Countermeasure Policy Best Practice Report

The State of Florida is developing a statewide Pedestrian Safety Action Plan. They have set up a project website that includes information about the project, workshop presentations and resources relating to pedestrian safety.

Evaluating Pedestrian Safety Countermeasures

Safety Benefits of Raised Medians and Pedestrian Refuge Areas: Brochure, Booklet

Safety Benefits of Walkways, Sidewalks, and Paved Shoulders: Brochure, Booklet

Pedestrian Safety Strategic Plan