What is it? A walking or biking program encourages community members to be active and take advantage of alternative modes of transportation. Programs are designed to increase awareness about the availability and ease of these alternative forms of transportation – which also can save commuters money, decrease roadway traffic and lead to a number of other potentially positive secondary effects. These initiatives may also focus on helping people get outdoors, have fun and be active. A walking or biking event, such as a bike to school day, will usually include both education and activities. Community-wide efforts also work to create more opportunities to walk or bike through new bike sharing initiatives, sidewalk enhancements, and greenways construction. A well done, comprehensive program can increase alternative transportation, create a more active citizenry and multiply opportunities for community connections.
How has it been used? Sumter, South Carolina was home to the PATH program which used innovative ways to encourage walking. Instead of focusing on online social media, the project leaders marketed to senior residents by using themed calendars and printed community notices. Because some neighborhoods were considered dangerous places to walk, off-duty police officers accompanied group walks. Walk-and-talk sessions were held with community leaders to get people out and moving with them. Churches held walking competitions. An educational campaign provided information on warming up, proper shoe selection, and other content. City officials invested in the repair of broken sidewalks and shrub trimming to make walkways more accessible. (Source: The State)