WalkBoston, a Massachusetts organization, is promoting walkable communities and their effect on local economies. This presentation provides insight and advice for local businesses looking to increase foot traffic in their stores by making the surrounding community more walk-friendly. WalkBoston outlines the advantages of walkable communities for both businesses and individuals such as more potential customers, happier and healthier employees and higher, more stable property values. Additionally, this presentation provides examples of communities that have embraced walkability and offers ideas for other communities looking to do the same.
Local businesses thrive in densely-populated, walkable communities. According to the presentation, workplace fitness and wellness programs have been shown to reduce employer health-care costs by 20 to 50 percent. Working in a walkable community allows employees of local businesses to walk to work, lunch or any other destination they may need to go to during the workday.
Other presentation highlights include:
- According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, “if one in ten Massachusetts adults started a regular walking program, the state would save $121 million in heart disease expenditure annually.”
- By creating an engaging sidewalk experience through captivating storefronts, pedestrians are more likely to wander into stores, thus increasing foot traffic and potential customer base.
- Putting on low-cost events in the community will bring people in. For example, in Grand Rapids, Michigan the community organized an event called ArtPrize that attracted 20,000 spectators and cost less than $1,000 to coordinate.
How to Use
Local businesses and community planners can use this presentation to better understand what WalkBoston is doing to improve walkability in its surrounding communities. The benefits outlined in the presentation can be used to make your own community aware of the advantages walkability offers to businesses and individuals alike. This presentation provides unique examples of how communities can attract more people by becoming more interesting and enjoyable including providing festival lighting that will allow for year-round evening activities.
View full report: Good Walking is Good Business (PDF – 4.1 MB)