Chapel Hill, NC (PRWEB) April 26, 2011
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) is excited to announce the inaugural round of Walk Friendly Communities (WFC). After evaluating applicant communities in several categories related to walking, including safety, mobility, access and comfort, PBIC has recognized the following 11 communities for their commitment to improving walkability and pedestrian safety.
“The WFC designation recognizes communities that help set the bar in fostering and accommodating walking,” said Carl Sundstrom, WFC program manager. “We were pleased with the response we received for the first round of this new program and are very excited to see communities use this program to further their pedestrian efforts.”
Pedestrian injuries and fatalities remain alarmingly high in the U.S. at the same time that there is an increasing groundswell of support for active transportation across the country. Communities are channeling this support for livability and taking advantage of the many benefits of walking – improved safety, environmental and personal health, reduced traffic congestion, enhanced quality of life, and economic rewards.
In an effort not only to recognize but to motivate walk friendly communities, applicants learn best practices through participating in the application process. Applicants use a web-based program that asks a comprehensive set of questions and provides communities with feedback and ideas for promoting pedestrian safety and activity. The questions examine engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation and planning. Officially launched in October 2010, the WFC program is funded by FedEx and the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration.
“The Walk Friendly Communities program empowers communities to make a long-lasting social impact. It does this by providing the tools for communities to assess their own walkability and create plans for change,” said Rose Flenorl, Manager of FedEx Global Citizenship. “Every day, more than 80,000 FedEx vehicles are on the road, sharing the streets with pedestrians. FedEx has developed highly advanced safe driving practices over the past 35 years, but it is not enough. By supporting Walk Friendly Communities, FedEx helps communities create access to safer, more walkable roadways. We are proud to be a sponsor of the Walk Friendly Communities program.”
The program will begin accepting applications for its second round on May 1, 2011 with the deadline for submission on June 15, 2011. Interested communities are encouraged to visit http://www.walkfriendly.org to learn more about the program and review the community assessment tool.
About the WFC Program
The Walk Friendly Community designation, awarded from bronze to platinum, is given to applicant communities that have demonstrated a commitment to improving and sustaining walkability and pedestrian safety through comprehensive programs, plans and policies.
At the core of the WFC program is a comprehensive assessment tool that evaluates community walkability and pedestrian safety through questions related to engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation and planning. The assessment tool questions are intended to both evaluate conditions for walking and provide communities with feedback and ideas for promoting pedestrian safety and activity.
Modeled after the League of American Bicyclists’ “Bicycle Friendly Communities,” WFC distinguishes cities and towns that are leading the way in walkability. WFC is the first program to highlight communities for their walkability initiatives and programs, while also offering feedback to assist communities in improving walkability.
Since its inception in 1999, PBIC's mission has been to improve the quality of life in communities through the increase of safe walking and bicycling as a viable means of transportation and physical activity. The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center is maintained by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration.
About the FHWA Bicycle & Pedestrian Program
The Bicycle & Pedestrian Program of the Federal Highway Administration promotes bicycle and pedestrian transportation use, safety, and accessibility. The FHWA Bicycle & Pedestrian Program issues guidance and is responsible for overseeing that States and other agencies understand and meet legislative requirements.
FedEx Corp. provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenues of $38 billion, the company offers integrated business applications through operating companies competing collectively and managed collaboratively, under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world's most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 290,000 team members to remain "absolutely, positively" focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities.
PBIC: Katy Jones, 919.843.7007 (office), 919.883.7848 (cell) jones(at)hsrc.unc(dot)edu
FedEx: Deborah Willig, 901.508.4377 (cell) deborah.willig(at)fedex(dot)com
FHWA: Kelly Hanahan, 202.366.0877 (office) kelly.hanahan(at)dot(dot)gov