Walk Friendly Communities (WFC) is a national recognition program intended to encourage cities and town throughout the U.S. to improve pedestrian infrastructure and support safer walking environments. The program recognizes communities that are working to improve walking conditions by enhancing accessibility, safety, and mobility features through comprehensive plans and policies. The Walk Friendly Communities website provides instruction on how to apply for a WFC designation, current communities that have been recognized with the WFC designation, a list of program sponsors and partners, and guidelines for developing a WFC program.
Useful resources such as instructions on how to develop a pedestrian safety action plan and how to create a walking map are provided on the website to assist communities with improving their walkability. The Walk Friendly Communities program offers four levels of recognition: Platinum, Gold, Silver and, Bronze. Recognition is based on how well communities have improved planning and engineering practices, education and outreach programs, and enforcement and evaluation standards to support walkability. Each community that has received a WFC designation is featured on the Walk Friendly Communities website along with the steps these communities have taken to provide a safe walking environment for their residents.
Programs and initiatives of WFC designated cities and communities include:
- Sound Steps, a community-based walking program developed in Seattle, WA designed to get older adults active. The program provides connection to other walkers, a number of walks and hikes, and tools to measure and evaluate progress.
- WalkFirst Project, a program created in San Francisco, CA that identifies key walking streets in the city and prioritizes pedestrian improvements for establishing a better walking environment.
- Safe Routes to School, a comprehensive plan initiated in Alexandria, VA that creates an environment promoting children walking to school.
- Downtown Streetscape Project, a Cary, NC program created to provide a walkable downtown area by improving roadway design and pedestrian infrastructure.
This website is an excellent resource for any community looking for examples of walkable communities and information on how to earn a WFC designation award.
How to Use
The Walk Friendly Communities website offers many helpful resources for planners and community leaders looking to improve walkability in their communities. The website can be used as a source of guidance for planners, local officials, and community leaders seeking to provide safer walking environments for community members of all ages. Planners should pay particular attention to the case studies provided under the resource section of the website to gain an understanding of programs and initiatives implemented in other areas that have effectively enhanced walkability and improved pedestrian safety.