Activity-Friendly Routes to Everyday Destinations

Activity-Friendly Routes to Everyday Destinations

Active People Healthy Nation, Activity Friendly Routes to Everyday Destinations

Activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations is a strategy that improves the design of communities by connecting routes such as sidewalks, trails, bicycle lanes, and public transit to destinations such as grocery stores, schools, worksites, libraries, parks, or health care facilities. This strategy makes it safe and easy to walk, bicycle, or wheelchair roll for people of all ages and abilities.

Creating or modifying environments to make it easier for people to walk, bike, or take transit helps increase physical activity and can make our communities better places to live. Communities designed in this way are sometimes called complete communities, because they integrate land use planning, transportation planning, and community design and aim to meet the basic needs of all residents including access to safe physical activity.

Activity-Friendly Routes

Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Transit Transportation Systems

  • An activity-friendly route is one that is a direct and convenient connection with everyday destinations, offering physical protection from cars, and making it easy to cross the street.
  • Components to consider for intervention include:
  • Street pattern design and connectivity.
  • Pedestrian infrastructure.
  • Bicycle infrastructure.
  • Public transit infrastructure and access.
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Everyday Destinations

Land Use and Environmental Design

  • Everyday destinations are places people can get to from where they live by walking, bicycling, or public transit. This can include grocery stores, schools, worksites, libraries, parks, restaurants, cultural and natural landmarks, or healthcare facilities. They are often desirable, useful, and attractive.
  • Components to consider for intervention include:
  • Mixed land use.
  • Increased residential density.
  • Community or neighborhood proximity.
  • Parks and recreational facility access.

This package of resources can help state and local health departments, public health professionals, and community organizations as they aim to build more activity-friendly communities. Tools include:

Visual Guide | Slides and Talking Points | Active Communities Tool | Active People, Healthy Nation


States, local governments, and community organizations use the following approaches to carry out this strategy:

Complete Streets policies.

Complete Streets policies support the routine design and operation of streets and communities that are safe for all pedestrians, regardless of age, ability, or transportation mode. Key features found on Complete Streets include sidewalks, protected bike lanes, special bus lanes, comfortable and accessible transit stops, frequent crossing opportunities, median islands, accessible pedestrian signals, and curb extensions.

Comprehensive or master plans.

A comprehensive plan, also called the general plan or community master plan, is the official statement of a local government establishing policies for its long-term development. These documents can be created through a collaboration between citizens, planners, and city leaders to include policies that guide investments to improve residents’ health outcomes by increasing physical activity opportunities.

Zoning policies.

Zoning policies influence the design of communities and the location of different land use types, such as commercial and residential development. This can influence distances between the two and in turn the feasibility for active travel. Policies outlined in comprehensive or master plans often guide zoning codes and other land development regulations.

Safe Routes.

Safe Routes is a comprehensive approach to improve safety and security for everyone walking, bicycling, and wheelchair rolling. Safe Routes approaches such as Safe Routes to School and Safe Routes to Parks include infrastructure improvements for better traffic laws, safety education, and incentives to encourage walking and bicycling to community destinations.


*Can be used to help address equitable and inclusive access to physical activity

Connect with Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity