National Safety Month Gives Opportunity to Evaluate State Investments that Support Active Transportation and Walkability

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership and the Y collaborate to update report cards that encourage state investments in walking and walkable communities

WASHINGTON, DC, JUNE 20 – June is National Safety Month, a good time to look at the design of communities and how they support safe, active transportation. The Safe Routes to School National Partnership and the Y have partnered to update state report cards highlighting how states are investing transportation dollars, committing resources and establishing policies to support walkable communities.

Making Strides: 2018 State Report Cards on Support for Walking, Bicycling, and Active Kids and Communities is an update of a 2016 report compiled by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership for YMCA of the USA (Y-USA). It was funded through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support the U.S. Surgeon General's call to action to make walkable communities a national priority to help address rising rates of chronic disease across the nation.

According to the CDC, physical inactivity continues to be one of the primary contributors to obesity and related conditions, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. Active modes of transportation such as walking, bicycling and wheelchair rolling are simple ways people can incorporate physical activity into their daily lives. By investing in walkable communities, states can increase access to safe active transportation that allows us to be healthier and more connected.

The rankings show that there is enormous opportunity for states to enact new, health-promoting, evidence-based policies—and strengthen existing ones that will benefit our communities. The report finds that a majority of states rank in the middle categories of “Warming Up” and “Making Strides,” with three states ranking as “Lacing Up,” the lowest category. Two states – Washington and California – ranked in the highest category, “Building Speed.”

Each state was evaluated using 27 indicators, with several new indicators including: Adopted a bicycle, pedestrian, or active transportation plan, supports walking, bicycling and physical activity in school design guidelines, and Funds Safe Routes to School non-infrastructure projects. These indicators were then applied across four strategic areas:

  •          Complete Streets and Active Transportation
  •          Safe Routes to School and Active Transportation Funding
  •          Active Neighborhoods and Schools
  •          State Physical Activity Planning

States can play a significant role in each of these areas to help increase the number of youth and adults walking, bicycling, and being physically active.

“In just two years, many states have made considerable progress in their support for walking, biking, and physical activity,” said Cass Isidro, Executive Director of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. “Nearly twice as many states are providing state dollars for Safe Routes to School programs, and more states are providing funding for shared use and hiring dedicated staff for physical activity. That’s great progress – but there are still many opportunities for states to strengthen their support for healthy, accessible communities. Advocates and practitioners can use these report cards to help make the case for increased funding and support for programs that improve health and well-being for our communities.” 

 In addition to the state report cards, the report includes an overview of the research that supports walking, bicycling, and physical activity as ways to improve health; rationale for state-level report cards; a detailed explanation of how the states were graded; newly updated maps; reflection upon overall trends; and a new examination of bicycle and pedestrian planning. The full report and state report cards can be found here: https://bit.ly/2yjXGOE

“The safety of our sidewalks, roads and bicycle lanes determine how and if people will use them for active transportation,” said Neal Denton, Y-USA Senior Vice President/Chief Government Affairs Officer. “Ys have stepped up to the challenge of making our streets safer and more accessible to active transportation and we are excited to continue to work with partners like the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and state leaders to advance policies that help our communities be as accessible and healthy as they can be.”

About the Safe Routes to School National Partnership

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership is a nonprofit organization that improves the quality of life for kids and communities by promoting active, healthy lifestyles and safe infrastructure that supports bicycling and walking. The National Partnership works to advance safe walking and bicycling to and from schools, to improve the health and wellbeing of kids of all races, income levels and abilities, and to foster the creation of healthy communities for everyone. saferoutespartnership.org

About the Y

The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the United States, 2,700 Ys engage 22 million men, women and children—regardless of age, income or background—to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence to not just promise but deliver lasting personal and social change. ymca.net

Contact:

Kelly Kennai, YMCA of the USA, 202.688.4736, kelly.kennai@ymca.net

Margaux Mennesson, Safe Routes to School National Partnership, 503.313.6400,   margaux@saferoutespartnership.org  

 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Bookmark and Share