Building Support through Institutionalization

Institutions with a role in pedestrian and bicycle accommodation include state, regional, and local entities. Each entity has established policies and processes. Integrating pedestrian and bicycle considerations into policies and processes is referred to as "institutionalization." When pedestrian and bicycle considerations are completely institutionalized:

  • Bicyclist and pedestrian needs are part of the agency's mission and corporate culture.
  • The entire organization focuses on reducing crashes involving bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • Pedestrian considerations are automatically included in all plans, policies and projects.
  • Once successful, there would no longer be a need for a bicycle/pedestrian coordinator just like there is currently no need for a "car" coordinator. It is a matter of taking what is often a "special project" and making it the norm.

Institutionalization doesn't just happen. It takes a well thought out plan that may require years to implement. It requires both internal work by staff and external work by pedestrian advocates. The intent is to change bicycling and walking from being perceived as "alternative" activities to being treated as "mainstream" activities by including them in documents used by decision makers. The policies, plans, and processes that guide institutions are constantly being revised and updated. This is the ideal time to make changes that begin to institutionalize bicyclist and pedestrian considerations. Many of the opportunities for change are listed below. This is only a starting point. Every community differs and can find unique and effective ways to institutionalize pedestrian improvements.