Promoting Walking and Walkable Communities – Cross-Sector Recommendations from the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance


By National Physical Activity Plan Alliance

Spring has officially arrived across the United States. Many Americans will begin to spend time outdoors and may be considering ways to get more active. Walking is among the most common forms of physical activity. It is appropriate for people of all ages and most abilities, and has numerous benefits. Unfortunately The 2017 United States Report Card on Walking and Walkable Communities delivered failing (or near failing) grades for seven of nine evaluated categories. Available data indicates that the United States has a long way to go in the effort to improve walking behavior and walkable communities, but, until now, there was no clear path forward for improving these grades.

The National Physical Activity Plan Alliance (NPAPA) celebrated the first day of Spring with the release of the Promoting Walking and Walkable Communities – Cross-Sector Recommendations. The recommendations aim to identify and prioritize the most critical activities that will result in the greatest impact on improving walkability and increasing walking throughout the United States.

Leading experts within the NPAPA collaborated to create Promoting Walking and Walkable Communities – Cross-Sector Recommendations. Like the National Physical Activity Plan, these walking-focused recommendations, include tactics from all nine societal sectors. Actions in each individual sector are extremely important, but alone will not dramatically change walking behavior and walkability throughout the United States. It is only with a combination of actions across sectors that significant improvements will be accomplished. In addition to representation across the sectors, the final recommendations include tactics for very specific actors. Over 75 tactics provide community planners, local jurisdictions, education professionals, sports teams, departments of transportation, public health professionals, and others with concrete ideas on how to improve walking in their communities.

The recommendations are organized around a new conceptual framework. The framework indicates that improved walking and walkability can best be achieved through actions in three primary outcome components and three process components.

Outcome components include:

  • Policies
  • Places, and
  • Programming.

Process components supporting these desired outcomes include:

  • Cross-Sector Collaboration,
  • Data and Monitoring, and
  • Resources and Funding.

Addressing all six of these components through the lens of equity and inclusion helps ensure improved walking and walkability for people living in varied and diverse communities nationwide.

To learn more about the Promoting Walking and Walkable Communities – Cross-Sector Recommendations or the NPAP, visit the NPAPA website or connect with the NPAPA on social media through Facebook or Twitter.

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