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Purpose of the WFC Assessment Tool

The purpose of this tool is twofold; it serves to both recognize existing walkable communities and to provide a framework for communities seeking to improve their walkability. This tool recognizes communities which have achieved high levels of walking and low rates of pedestrian crashes while also recognizing communities which are making progress in achieving these two goals through policies, projects and programs. Recognizing that there are many ways to achieve these outcomes, the range of questions in this tool attempts to capture the variety of factors that affect walkability.

There are several benefits of completing this form. First, the WFC assessment tool contains information and resources to assist agencies in improving walking conditions for your community. Through the questions and resources in this form, communities will be able to identify areas of needed improvement and use the tools to develop specific solutions. Completing this form also requires collaboration between government agencies, private not-for-profits, and the private sector, thus building stronger relationships in your community. Another advantage of this tool is that it creates a great internal resource for communities by documenting all walking-related programs, projects, and policies in one place. Most communities will be surprised by the amount they are already doing for walkability. Finally, submitting the assessment to the PBIC for scoring provides the opportunity for your community to be recognized with a designation of bronze, silver, gold, or platinum, in terms of conditions for increased and safer walking. This designation has many benefits of promoting walkability both within your community and through friendly competition with other cities.

Completing the WFC Assessment Tool

Most of the information requested for completion of this assessment tool can be soundly estimated or is relatively easy to find. The information needed to complete this assessment will likely come from a variety of municipal, county, and school district agencies and departments including the police, planning, public works, and engineering departments, and the local transit service provider. Additionally, other information that is requested may be most easily provided by local nonprofit organizations, advocacy groups, elected officials, or even a simple internet search. It is likely that the transportation agency will take the lead in this effort, but it will be important to coordinate across agencies when filling out this application. In some cases one department, such as the city or town's engineering department, will be able to complete an entire section. In other cases, it will make the most sense to have agencies or individuals, like a local Safe Routes to School task force or coordinator, answer certain questions.

How to Answer Questions

There are several different types of questions included in this assessment tool. We have described them here to clarify how each one should be answered.

For some questions, this assessment tool asks about your municipality's plans, policies, projects, and programs. In those cases, please include a link (web address) or attachment to those documents if possible. If the question requests a brief description, please summarize the policy, activity, or process in your own words. If a concise summary already exists, you may link to that summary or use that description. Include in your summary a description of the nature, scope, and results of the policy, program, or project in question.

Several questions request a substantial amount of information. Frequently, the checklists and examples are meant to act as a prompt or jog the applicant's memory, rather than to indicate that any municipality should be implementing all the measures listed. Please answer the questions to the best of your ability.

Some questions are simple yes/no or checkbox questions. In those cases, please check the appropriate box and include a hyperlink or attachment to the most up-to-date version of any requested ordinance, policy, plan, or relevant document.

Though this assessment tool is meant to be comprehensive, we recognize that each community is unique. Every city and town will have its own unique set of challenges and opportunities, so each will have a different approach to pedestrian issues. Accordingly, each section concludes with a question that offers applicants the opportunity to describe or elaborate on anything that your community is doing that may not have been addressed in the other questions.

What to Look For

When answering these questions please think broadly. Does any state or national programs (not directly implemented by you) have a positive impact in your community? Are there policies administered by other local departments that may affect the walking environment? Are there private organizations or advocacy groups doing work in your community?

When completing this assessment tool please be certain to mention any evidence-based programs or approaches your community is using, any in-depth or ongoing programs or activities, and any specific efforts to create a community-wide culture of walking. This assessment tool seeks to learn how communities are supporting walking and pedestrian safety and how well those efforts are working. Therefore, please describe both the nature of your policies, programs, and projects as well as any outcome or evaluation of those approaches.

Criteria and Scoring

This assessment tool is divided into eight sections:

  • Community Profile
  • Status of Walking
  • Planning
  • Education & Encouragement
  • Engineering
  • Enforcement
  • Evaluation
  • Additional Questions

All sections will be scored, including bonus points from the additional questions. The scoring system will be based on percent and scores are assigned based on the number of questions in the section, the depth of information required in those questions, and the potential impact on walkability of the content addressed in each question. Some cities may be at an advantage for certain questions, however these same cities will be negatively impacted by other questions. For example, an older city like Cambridge, MA has very narrow streets thus impacting sidewalk width and buffers but it has a high connectivety index and land use mix.