How Walkable is Your Community?

Cover of the new 2016 Healthy and Complete Communities in Delaware: The Walkability Assessment Tool Walkable, pedestrian infrastructure is a key element of a “Complete Community.” When sidewalks, parks, and trails are pleasant places to walk, all community members benefit. Unfortunately, not all places are walkable, but with the help of IPA’s Walkability Assessment Tool, citizens achieve positive changes.

Visit the Walkable Communities section of the toolbox to learn more about ways to improve pedestrian infrastructure. This section includes:

Proximity to Public Transit Boosts Home Values

A new study from the Center for Neighborhood Technology affirms that homes located near public transportation maintain their property values better than homes without transit access.  The study found that residential property values hold their value 42 percent better on average if located within a half-mile of public transportation that has high-frequency service. Studies have also shown that consumers are willing to pay more for housing located in areas that exemplify new urbanist principles or are “traditional neighborhood developments.” These neighborhoods are walkable, higher density, and have a mix of uses as well as access to jobs and amenities such as transit.

SSE and America Walks Launch

Sam Schwartz Engineering, the transportation engineering and planning firm, and America Walks, the national pedestrian advocacy organization, are proud to announce the launch of This new website is the online home of their new guide, Steps to a Walkable Community: A Guide for Citizens, Planners, and Engineers, which features pro-walking tactics and case studies that have successfully improved and encouraged walking in communities around North America. builds off the enthusiastic response to the Steps to a Walkable Community guide. features tactics that tackle the challenges to walking from multiple approaches, including advocacy, land use, policy, design and engineering, encouragement, and enforcement. The site also allows online visitors to gather tactics and case studies into multidisciplinary bundles that can be emailed and shared with colleagues. The Steps to a Walkable Community guide and website will be the basis for the America Walks’ Walking Action Network program series.

Trend toward Reduced Driving among America’s Youth

A new report released in April 2012 by the NJPIRG Law and Policy Center demonstrates that Americans have been driving less since the middle of last decade. The report, Transportation and the New Generation: Why Young People are Driving Less and What it Means for Transportation Policy, More Americans are demanding walkable, compact communities that offer a variety of transportation options. Funding for transit, biking and walking projects will need to keep pace with rising demand.

The report shows that young people in particular are decreasing the amount they drive and increasing their use of transportation alternatives. Factors contributing toward the trend of reduced driving among use include greater reliance on communication technology, driver’s license restrictions, increased fuel prices, environmental concerns, and preference to live in urban areas with transit.

WHYY-Video, “Exercise by Accident”

A WHYY TV video segment, “Exercise by Accident,” was recently aired on its weekly show First for Friday. The video features Delaware Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay, who explains how the Delaware Coalition for Healthy Eating and Active Living (DE HEAL) is working to increase physical activity and walkable communities. University of Delaware IPA Planner B.J. DeCoursey details how better community design can help people “exercise by accident.”   IPA’s online and downloadable Walkability Assessment Tool was touted as a resource that can be used by Delaware municipalities to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a town’s walkability.

What is a Complete Street?

Dan Burden, a champion for walkability and Complete Streets has issued a post on AARP’s blog regarding Complete Streets as a necessity for all generations.  Burden states, “If we invest in complete streets now, then not only will we all be happier and healthier as we age, but one day our children will thank us — especially if they don’t have to drive across town, or even a few blocks, to help us across the street.”

IPA’s New Complete-Streets Related Publications

The University of Delaware IPA has two new Complete-Streets related publications that are now available onlineComplete Streets in Delaware: A Guide for Local Governments is intended to help Delaware local governments achieve complete streets in order to provide more balance transportation systems and create healthy, livable environments for motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Winter Maintenance of Pedestrian Facilities in Delaware:  A Guide for Local Governments describes how Delaware local governments can improve sidewalk snow removal and winter-maintenance practices in order to foster walking as a year-round activity and safe mode of transportation.