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Walkable Communities

People walking a dog by a lawn and some shrubs

Compact, walkable communities allow residents to walk to services, shopping, schools and jobs and can reduce traffic congestion, air pollution and improve public health.

Contact: Active Transportation Programs for no cost techincal assistance and resources to help improve pedestrian safety and mobility in your community.

Elements of a walkable community

A growing body of research and many national and international and national resources now agree on a basic set of features and elements that make a walkable community. They generally include: 

  • Human scale design 
  • Denser, mixed use development near neighborhood services and transit 
  • A distinct urban or town center 
  • A variety of connected transportation options 
  • Unique and identifiable public spaces 
  • Lower speed streets 
  • Universal design - accessible design 
  • Connected, grid street pattern

Sizes and shapes of a walkable community 

  • Block size of 300-600 feet 
  • Intersection spacing of 1000 feet on arterials to 500 feet on local streets 
  • Extend street crossing time (2.5 ft/sec or 0.85 m/s) 
  • Connect dead end streets when adjacent parcels develop 
  • Lower speed streets (below 35 mph) 
  • 8 housing units per acre  

Case Studies and Best Practice

Research and Resources 

Technical Assistance