Determine Community Vision and Objectives

A good plan has:

  • A vision or set of visions
  • Objectives
  • A set of policies or actions that will help achieve the vision

Community visions depict alternative futures that can be achieved through planning and policy. Identifying preferred visions is a first key step in drafting a bicycle or pedestrian plan. A vision can be thought of as the "what" and "where" for the community.

A vision could be the creation of safe spaces for pedestrians. Another vision could be the creation of environments that support many modes of transportation.

But visions don't exist in isolation. The plan and policies that accompany a vision are the instruments through which the vision is attained. They are the "how" and "when". Plans that are short, straightforward, specific, and built on strong facts are the most easily funded and implemented. The quality and effectiveness of a plan does not depend on its length or depth but on having clear goals and policies that effectively focus resources on making the changes that improve the pedestrian environment.

Additionally, we need to know whether a community is achieving its vision, or how close it is to achieving it. Objectives quantify necessary steps in achieving a vision. Objectives must be measurable so that they can be used to evaluate the level of success of a plan. Sample objectives of a plan can be:

  • Increase the share of trips taken by walking or bicycle by 10 percent in the next five years.
  • Reduce bicycle and pedestrian-involved crashes by 50 percent within the next decade.
  • Prioritize investments in infrastructure and treatments for pedestrians and bicycles.
  • Develop and implement an educational program for citizens, land developers, planners, and elected officials about the importance of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure.