Neighborhood Walk-abouts and Bike-abouts

Neighborhood walk-abouts and bike-abouts are environment analysis exercises used in many Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs to raise awareness of the issues and conditions facing walking and bicycling, to garner support for needed changes and to gather information needed to help create school route maps. The walk-abouts and bike-abouts seek to identify and document the traffic and safety issues near schools and identify potential short- and long-term solutions to deal with these safety issues.

Participants of a neighborhood walk-about familiarize themselves with the school zone.

The neighborhood walk-abouts and bike-abouts are organized by the community or school and may involve local policymakers, traffic engineers and planners, law enforcement, safety professionals, school district personnel, school nurses, parents, students, school principals and local media. The group typically meets at the school, observes the school activities during drop-off and pick-up time, and tours the school zone and walking and bicycling routes to the school. Along the way, safety concerns are documented and photographed for later discussion. Active & Safe Routes to School offers a list of items to consider during a walk-about. Participants also can complete easy-to-use checklists such as the Walkability Checklist and Bikeability Checklist while conducting the walk-about or bike-about.

After the tour, the group reconvenes at the school to discuss their findings and potential short and long term solutions to address the problems they encountered. Participants leave the meeting with a clear plan of action, including responsibilities for each person and follow-up dates. Results of the walk-about and bike-about are communicated to the school community through newsletters or other channels. A walk-about and bike-about can also be conducted by teachers with students as a hands-on learning experience about their community.