Resources to Increase Physical Activity Through Community Design
Increasing physical activity through community design involves creating proximity to everyday destinations via activity-friendly routes. Everyday destinations include homes, workplaces, schools, parks, healthcare, and food outlets. Activity-friendly routes include pedestrian, bicycle, and transit transportation networks.
Resources for developing community designs for physical activity are below.
Built Environment Approaches Combining Transportation System Interventions with Land Use and Environmental Design
Combine one or more interventions to improve pedestrian or bicycle transportation systems with one or more land use and environmental design interventions to increase physical activity.
Interventions to Increase Active Travel to School
Increase active travel to school based on evidence they increase walking among students and reduce risks for traffic-related injury.
Equitable and Inclusive Access#
A resource describing how every Active People, Healthy NationSM strategy can be designed to support the goal of equitable and inclusive access to opportunities for physical activity.
Health Equity Resources#
Tools to help communities, programs, and initiatives work to remove barriers to health and achieve health equity. Includes links to health equity data.
Shared Spaces & Health Equity [PDF-14.2MB]#
A field scan of active transportation policies and projects conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
See # for resources in other sections that can be used to help address equitable and inclusive access to physical activity.
Active Communities Tool
Helps cross-sector teams create an action plan to improve community environments that promote physical activity and meet the needs of their community.
Bicycling and Walking in the United States Benchmarking Report
Publicly available data on bicycling and walking.
Child Opportunity Index
Indicators of resources available for children in neighborhoods.
Complete Streets Policy Inventory [PDF-19.6MB]
Maps of US adoption of state, local, and regional Complete Streets Policies from 2000 to 2021.
Create Thriving, Activity-Friendly Communities
Resources to help communities use economic indicators to assess and apply infrastructure investments in more equitable ways.
Dangerous by Design 2022 [PDF-10.1MB]
Information on street safety for active transportation and provides local data on pedestrian deaths.
Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS)
Data on fatal traffic crashes within the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
Geospatial Data Storefront
Searchable geospatial datasets, web-based mapping tools, and application programming interfaces.
Housing & Transportation Affordability Index
Maps, charts, and stats on housing and transportation costs at the neighborhood level for 917 metro and micro areas.
Making Strides 2022: State Report Cards on Support for Walking, Bicycling, and Active Kids and Communities [PDF-17.4MB]
Reveals how supportive each state is for walking, bicycling, and physical activity focusing on four areas:
- Complete Streets and active transportation policy and planning.
- Federal and state active transportation funding.
- Safe Routes to School funding and supportive practices.
- Active neighborhoods and schools.
Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Data, Trends, and Maps
National and state data on weight status, eating habits, physical activity, and breastfeeding behaviors in the United States, as well as information about related environmental and policy supports.
Park-related data for 14,000 US cities and towns. See the location of parks in a community, neighborhoods within a 10-minute walk to a park, and areas that do not currently have access to a park.
PLACES: Local Data for Better Health
Model-based, population-level analysis and community estimates for US counties, places (incorporated and census-designated places), census tracts, and ZIP Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTAs).
Smart Location Database
Nationwide, geographic data on housing density, diversity of land use, neighborhood design, destination accessibility, transit service, employment, and demographics.
Dataset characterizes every US Census block group based on its relative walkability.
WISQARS (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System)
Fatal and nonfatal injury, violent death, and cost of injury data.
Resources to take action to support and create safe and complete streets.
Walkability Action Institute
Prepares interdisciplinary teams from regional planning organizations to create action plans that support policies and plans for walking and walkability.
Online, educational program to build local capacity to create action plans that increase walking and improve walkability.
A Guide to Building Healthy Streets: How Public Health Can Help Implement Complete Streets
Community guide that focuses on how public health practitioners can work with other agencies to implement the policy. Includes model Complete Streets policy language, information on how to address equity, community examples, and key resources.
Best Practices in Engaging Public Health in Complete Streets Initiatives [PDF-5.1MB]
Key strategies and examples of Complete Streets in 15 US jurisdictions. Learn about how to get involved with Complete Streets initiatives, potential barriers and challenges, and what worked well in these jurisdictions.
Complete Streets in the Federal Highway Administration
How the Federal Highway Administration supports state and local transportation agencies to plan, implement and evaluate equitable streets and networks that prioritize safety, comfort, and connectivity to destinations.
Small Town and Rural Multimodal Networks Guide#
Apply national design guidelines in a rural setting. Includes case studies and ways to make gradual improvements and contribute to innovation despite geographic, fiscal, and other challenges.
Urban Bikeway Design Guide
Explains methods for cities to create Complete Streets that are safe and enjoyable for bicyclists, based on the experience of the best cycling cities in the world. Required, recommended, and optional elements are given for each treatment.
Public Health Action Guide: Public Transit [PDF-1.30MB]
Promotes the health benefits of expanding public transit options and shares actions for public health professionals.
Transit Street Design Guide
Guidance for developing transit facilities on city streets and designing and engineering city streets to prioritize transit, improve transit service quality, and support other goals related to transit.
Equity in Practice: A Guidebook for Transit Agencies [PDF-22.6MB]#
Looks at how current transit practices can marginalize many groups of people. Identifies how some agencies are changing these practices, confronting racism and discrimination in their decision-making, and establishing new protocols to prioritize riders who have historically been neglected.
Building Blocks: A Guide to Starting and Growing a Safe Routes to School Program
Step-by-step approach on how to start a Safe Routes to School Program, get the school and city on board, and make the program stronger over time.
Building Momentum for Safe Routes to School: A Toolkit for School Districts and City Leaders
How to build and sustain a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) task force, structure and sustain a paid SRTS coordinator position, and adopt SRTS policies. Includes examples of a task force invitation letter, job descriptions, city SRTS resolutions, and district SRTS policies.
Engaging Students with Disabilities in Safe Routes to School [PDF-4.3MB]#
Describes the benefits of SRTS for students with disabilities, strategies for inclusion within each SRTS component, important components of inclusive programming, considerations for students with different kinds of disabilities, and ways to partner and build resources.
Safe Routes to Parks#
Provides park professionals with resources to help implement the Safe Routes to Parks Action Framework. Includes toolkits, assessments, online tools, and case studies.
Vision Zero: A Health Equity Road Map for Getting to Zero in Every Community#
Offers recommendations for advancing health equity through Vision Zero, a growing movement among cities nationally and internationally to eliminate all traffic-related deaths and severe injuries within a chosen time period.
Vision Zero Implementation Toolkit [PDF-3.3MB]
Helps communities develop and implement a Vision Zero policy to eliminate all traffic-related deaths and severe injuries.
Zero Deaths and Safe System
Links to more information about the Safe Systems approach to achieving the zero deaths vision.
A blog series describing 15 planning approaches that can be used in small and rural communities.
Fostering Healthy Communities Through Planning and Public Health Collaboration
Shows how planners and public health professionals can work together to create healthy communities.
Creating Walkable & Bikeable Communities [PDF-62.6MB]
Options for bicycling and pedestrian facilities in rural, suburban, and smaller urban cities. See tools, techniques, and samples to help strengthen the link between land use planning, street design, and active transportation, and to increase options for cycling and walking.
Health in the Development Review Process [PDF-974KB]
Guide to regulatory aspects of comprehensive planning for health in cities and counties. Addresses why and how to incorporate health into the development review process and how planners can lead the way in creating healthy communities.
Healthy Comprehensive Plan Assessment Tool (HCPAT)
Helps evaluate the strength of health-related policies in a community’s comprehensive plan by guiding users through an assessment of four key domains: Complete Streets, Complete Neighborhoods, Environmental Health, and Healthy Food Systems.
How to Create and Implement Healthy General Plans [PDF-2.7MB]
Toolkit helps lay the groundwork for creating healthier communities through general plans. Includes suggestions for health-supporting policies, interdisciplinary partnerships, steps for action without fixed entry points, and community engagement.
Long-Range Planning for Health, Equity & Prosperity: A Primer for Local Governments#
Offers a framework on how to integrate health and equity into everyday practice and decision making related to long-range planning, community engagement, investment, and evaluation processes.
Toolkit to Integrate Health Equity Into Comprehensive Plans [PDF-1.91MB]#
Helps address health and equity in comprehensive plans and processes. Includes model language about goals, policies, and action items for promoting equity and participation in healthy community planning.
Building Healthy Corridors [PDF-5.0MB]
Provides strategies and guidance for a variety of professionals to transform commercial corridors into places that support health for people who live, work, and travel there.
Choosing Our Community’s Future
Guidebook for citizens to shape growth and development. Includes photographs, stories, profiles of people and places, and lessons learned. Links to local help, other resources, and a comprehensive glossary.
Components of Local Land Development and Related Zoning Policies Associated with Increased Walking: A Primer for Public Health Practitioners [PDF-4.9MB]
How to engage with local planning and zoning officials. Gives specific community examples and links to key resources along with a glossary of key terms used by the planning and zoning sectors.
Cracking the Zoning Code
Describes the components of zoning codes, how zoning works, and how reforms to zoning maps, codes, and procedures could improve housing affordability and racial equity.
Form-Based Codes: A Step-by-Step Guide for Communities [PDF-8.9MB]
Helps communities update their zoning ordinances to align with local comprehensive plans designed to create healthy, safe, walkable communities. Explains how form-based codes are created and how communities can use them to achieve their local vision for transportation, housing, economic development.
Providing Well-Placed Affordable Housing in Rural Communities Toolkit
Explains how local governments in rural areas can provide affordable housing that supports physical and economic health by changing zoning restrictions, protecting existing subsidized housing, and taking advantage of federal assistance.