Educating Transportation Officials and Decision-makers

Pedestrian education must include the people responsible for approving, planning, designing, and developing a safe pedestrian network. Transportation officials and decision-makers must have buy-in on the importance of walking and the need for safe walking conditions. Their support for pedestrian education programs, stepped-up enforcement activities, and infrastructure improvements is crucial. This section provides broad concepts that officials and decision-makers should know and strategies to inform them. Visit the Training section to see specific training/workshop opportunities available for educating professionals about pedestrian issues.

Key messages for transportation officials

It is important for transportation officials to understand and believe that:

  • Walking and bicycling are integral and critical parts of the transportation system.
  • The presence of pedestrians and bicyclists are good indications of the health and vitality of a community.
  • Walking is the most basic form of transportation, and yet also the easiest to overlook or take for granted.
  • Designing a safe, convenient, and comfortable walking and bicycling environment requires planning, careful engineering, attention to detail, and ongoing maintenance and care.
  • Physical improvements must go hand in hand with land use control, legal changes, enforcement, education, and a complete package of measures that require coordination and support from politicians as well as professionals.

Strategies for educating transportation officials

  • Show the facts — improve data to better describe the nature of the pedestrian problem in the community and to justify attention to pedestrian concerns.
  • Conduct internal campaigns within the organization to build staff support for the pedestrian safety program (in-house meetings, newsletters, forums, etc.).
  • Develop relationships and partner with other agencies (such as transit agencies, public health agencies, police departments, etc.) that have an interest in pedestrian issues and a responsibility for the public welfare.
  • Plan events and activities that encourage officials to walk with an escort that can point out challenges and potential solutions.