Walkable Communities

Walkable Communities Pages

Page Contents

What is a walkable community?

A walkable community is well-designed and compact allowing people to walk to places like school, work, parks, and restaurants as a form of everyday transportation. A walkable community also supports other forms of active transportation such as biking, in-line skating, skateboarding, using mobility devices, and using public transit.

The 3 Ds: density, diversity, and design

People are more likely to choose an active form of transportation over driving when destinations are within walking distance of people’s homes and workplaces. A comfortable walking distance for most people is a 5 - 10 minute walk or a distance of 400m - 800m.

A walkable community addresses these components:

Density

  • The places we live and work are close enough together to make distances short enough to easily choose walking, biking, and other modes of active transportation.
  • Many people and jobs in an area can support and attract retail, services, and public transit.

Diversity

  • A variety of places within a 5 - 10 minute walk or a short bike ride.

Design

  • Connectivity – Sidewalks, pathways, bike lanes and trails connect people to a variety of destinations, making it easy to get around.
  • Beautification – Interesting and pleasant things to look at creates an inviting environment for active transportation.
  • Safety – Many design features can increase the feeling of safety and reduce injuries.
  • Accessibility –Regardless of age or ability, everyone is able to get around with ease.

The health benefits of walkable communities

Active Transportation video (external link)

Halton Region Health Department Climate Change Champions describe many benefits of active transportation and provide examples of what you can do, such as taking a pledge (externall link) to use active transportation, participating in Active and Safe Routes to School (externall link), and completing the walkability checklist (externall link).

Studies show that the way we build our communities benefits our health and well-being in the following ways:

Being active and healthy

  • Designing our communities so that walking, cycling, and transit use are easy choices, helps us be physically active and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

Creating community

  • Designing our communities in ways that encourage people to gather, connect, and celebrate in parks, public squares, restaurants, cafes, and shops builds vibrant communities.

Breathing clean air

  • Designing our communities so that there are many places close by to get to without a car can reduce air pollution and greenhouse gasses.

Improving safety

  • Designing our streets so that they are safe and convenient for all road users: pedestrians, cyclists, transit users, and drivers regardless of age or ability.

Related web pages