When you really think about it, making the case for a walking is easy. Below are some of the key reasons why walk friendly communities are so important, as well as some great evidence to back this up. To start a conversation about WALK Friendly Ontario in your community, print this overview about the program and the many benefits of being walk friendly.
Check out this short video to learn more about what a walk friendly community looks like.
Why are walk friendly communities so vitally important? There are so many reasons.
Health & Well-being
- Walk friendly communities are welcoming, vibrant and inclusive. (Active Transportation in Canada)
- “Walking is medicine”
- Residents who live in walk friendly neighbourhoods walk more often than those who do not (A Healthy Toronto By Design Report: The Walkable City)
- Creating walk friendly environments is one of the most effective and cost-efficient means of tackling the obesity epidemic and staggering levels of chronic disease
- Walkable neighborhoods are inversely associated with the development of diabetes. (Diabetes Care)
- In addition to offsetting childhood obesity, walking can offset some of the most disturbing trends such as attention disorders and depression. (Louv, R., “Last Child in the Woods”)
- Walk friendly communities are often joyful places that are a delight to be in and experience. (O’Brien, C., “A Footprint of Delight”)
- Magnetic appeal to locals and tourists, and essential to successful downtown revitalization strategies. (Tolley, R., Good for Busine$$)
- This must-read report has some very impressive economic and safety metrics from recent improvements to street design in NYC: “Measuring the Street: New Metrics for 21st Century Streets”
- Boost to local businesses – Cars don’t shop, people on foot do! (Bergeron, K. & Cragg, S., Making the Case for Active Transportation, Bulletin 3)
- Building walking infrastructure creates more jobs than building roads. (Alliance for Biking & Walking, 2012 Benchmarking Report)
- Streetscape improvements increase rents and attract new businesses, save on road maintenance and parking requirements, reduce the costs associated with traffic congestion and residents who use cars less have more disposable income to spend locally. (Litman, T., “Economic Benefits of Walkability”)
- In some cases, people arriving on foot and by bicycle have been shown to visit more often and spend more money per month than those arrive via auto. (Clean Air Partnership, ” Bike lanes, On-Street Parking and Business”)
- “Walkable environments should be considered economic infrastructure that attract employment and should be invested in accordingly.” (Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, Walking & Economic Development)
- Making it easy for people to get around without using a car for many short trips can mean a considerable transportation cost saving, thereby raising disposable income levels. (Alliance for Biking & Walking, 2012 Benchmarking Report)
- In 2013, Healthy Living Niagara and Niagara Region published fact sheets about the economic value of active transportation.
- Replacing short car trips with walking and other forms of active transportation can improve local air quality and reduce green house gas emissions, helping Ontario meet climate change objectives economically. (Bergeron, K. & Cragg, S., Making the Case for Active Transportation, Bulletin 4)
- This report issued by RBC & Pembina Institute found that people desire walkable, “location-efficient” neighbourhoods: http://www.pembina.org/pub/2358
- IPSOS Reid conducted a survey on behalf of the Ontario Professional Planners Institute which also found almost three quarters of Ontarians want increased emphasis on public transit (for which all trips start and end with a walk) and over fifty percent would like to see more emphasis on infrastructure for pedestrians: http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/-1703947.htm
- Physical inactivity is a critical issue in Canada that results in an estimated $5.3 billion per year in direct and indirect health care costs. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/alw-vat/trends-tendances/index-eng.php#a1
The cost of traffic gridlock to our economy is estimated at $10 billion a year and rising. http://fcmchallenge.ca/challenges/5
- Walk friendly communities have residents who are more likely to know their neighbours, to participate politically, to trust others, and be involved socially. (Bergeron, K. & Cragg, S., Making the Case for Active Transportation, Bulletin 7)