Walkability Audit

Walkability Audit

Summary

This tool allows citizens to assess the walkability of specific streets and their community for how conducive they are to pedestrian activity. It provides a baseline measurement on how walkable areas are and a forum for comments and recommendations.

Tool Description

A walkability audit is an intuitive survey used to evaluate streets and neighborhoods to determine how easily and safely they can be walked. Community members can quantitatively score and compare various streets in an area and provide recommendations and feedback. In a walkability audit, streets (or street segments) are evaluated on different aspects, with sections assessing factors such as sidewalks, crosswalks and safety in addition to aesthetics, amenities and connectivity. Each section has various components. For example, the sidewalk section can contain metrics like condition, width and obstructions. Components for crosswalks could be efficacy and on-road indication. Each component is ranked on a numerical scale ranging from 1 to 5. The scores from the components are summed, giving a total section score. The sum of the four sections’ scores gives the street’s overall walkability score, which can be used for comparison. The components of a walkability audit can be tailored for specific locations; for example, amenities may be more important for downtown areas than residential areas. For each section, space is provided for comments (surveyors could note that the sidewalk is damaged at the southern end of the street or note in the safety section that broken glass reduced the general feeling of safety score). Surveyors report factors like pedestrian traffic patterns, proximity to public transit, specific problem areas, and suggestions for improvement. The qualitative section compliments the quantitative section with greater specificity and depth. A walkability audit is a helpful tool for assessing the current condition neighborhood’s streets and how well they support pedestrian activity. It allows for direct comparisons between streets and catches specific problem points and areas for improvements. As communities strive to be more walkable for economic, social, environmental and health reasons, this tool can be a helpful starting point to improve walkability.

Strengths

  • Allows for evaluations and comparisons of street segments
  • Good tool to evaluate current baselines and provide recommendations going forward
  • Valuable part of the planning process

Limitations

  • Scores may vary depending on the surveyor
  • A preliminary tool; while a walkability audit provides a forum for suggestions to increase walkability, it does not address how these recommendations should be brought about
Submitted By: awl1
Last Updated: December 13, 2012, 2:15 am

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