A Campaign Plan to coordinate and invigorate walking in America
DRAFT FOR PUBLIC COMMENT
Walking is the first and most fundamental form of transportation, the most basic form of physical activity and the most popular form of outdoor recreation. Walking as transportation leads to healthier people, vibrant economies, and environmental sustainability.
Over the past fifty years, however, our nation has systematically engineered walking out of daily life. In 1969 walking made up 40 percent of all transportation trips, but in 2008 walking trips decreased to 11 percent. Existing cities and new sprawling communities have become laced with massive high-speed roadways, unsuitable and even life threatening for the most ambitious person trying to walk to a destination; in the past fifteen years 76,000 people have been killed walking. Correspondingly, physical activity has declined, bringing about skyrocketing obesity rates and the attendant killer diseases. The associated healthcare costs resulting from sedentary lifestyles cost American taxpayers, business owners, and individuals was $147 billion in 2006, and could rise to $344 billion by 2018 if trends continue.
This strategic campaign plan provides the goals, objectives, and tactics on transitioning America Walks from an organization primarily supporting local walking advocacy to collaborating with a wide array of interests to advance and defend walking nationally. The report is broken into three strategic focus areas:
1. Create a National Unified Voice for Pedestrians
America Walks coordinates a unified voice for walking, working with our powerful Steering Committee and growing list of partners to advance a common agenda and campaigns. By 2012 we will have 500 organizations and 50,000 individuals endorse the Vision for a Walkable America.
2. Advance and Defend National Walking Policies, Infrastructure, and Programs
America Walks will complete a unified federal walking policy platform and push to have it adopted into transportation and other relevant federal legislation and agency work. We will acquire funding to hire Washington D.C. based campaign staff and coordinate with partners to integrate walking into their policy platforms.
3. Advance Community-based Campaigns that Restore Walkability throughout America…
- Reducing Speeds in America / Community Speed-free Zones. Speed kills. Less known is that auto speeds are a primary barrier for children, families, and aging Americans to walk out their door to get to school, work, shopping, or transit. We will launch a major campaign to reduce speeds to 20 mph in communities throughout America. America Walks will serve as a clearinghouse and technical service provider, partnering with state and local organizations to implement projects in their communities.
- Access to transit and jobs, focused on aging adults, low-income, and people with disabilities. Access to transit means access to equitable, reliable, and cost-effective transportation to get to work and essential destinations. Three quarters of all transit trips start with a walking one. Breaking down barriers to walking to/from transit serves both riders and providers. America Walks will start eliminating barriers by focusing on research and data collection and data dissemination around this key issue as it works with partners to define the needs and most cost effective means to address them.
Goals and tactics are provided for each of the strategic focus areas. This three-year campaign plan outlines an ambitious yet realistic set of goals, objectives and tactics to take us to the next level. America Walks believes that progress in each of these areas will lead to more walkable communities and thus an increase in walking. We look forward to working with and growing our partners to advance these essential goals.
About America Walks
“America Walks is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that leads a national coalition of local advocacy groups dedicated to promoting walkable communities. Our members are autonomous grassroots organizations from across the country, each working to improve conditions for walking in their area.”