photo of walkers on trailPolicy Initiatives for Walkable/Bikeable Communities

As it becomes widely accepted that a long history of car-oriented community design has contributed to many of America’s health problems, especially obesity, more policy initiatives are aiming to promote pedestrian-friendly communities. This trend recognizes that a community’s walkable atmosphere is greatly impacted by its official policies, which in the past have led to a sedentary lifestyle.

An about-face in policy can encourage physically active lifestyles. This section takes a closer look at these initiatives and how their goals for healthy communities can become part of the legal fabric of local government.

Progressive initiatives at the national, state, and local levels seek changes in public policy to support healthier communities by making them more walkable and bikeable. The goal is for physical activity to become an integral part of people’s daily routines, whether that means biking to work, walking to school, or hiking on a trail for pleasure.

It is important to note that the concerted effort among governments and various organizations to implement these policies allows communities to compete for transportation funding or other grants that will otherwise go to enterprises that reinforce an inactive mode of living.

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