This chapter develops a comprehensive framework for evaluating planning decisions that affect walking conditions (“walkability”) and walking activity. It identifies various walking economic impacts (benefits and costs), describes methods for measuring those impacts, and discusses how to apply this information, based on the literature. The chapter finds that walking plays a unique and important role in an efficient and equitable transportation system, including affordable basic mobility, exercise and recreation, and access to other modes including public transit and parked cars. Walking is typically the second most common travel mode by trip mode share, and is particularly important for physically, economically and socially disadvantaged people. Improving walkability, increasing walking activity, and creating more walkable communities provides various economic, social, and environmental benefits. Conventional planning tends to undervalue many of these benefits, resulting in less support for walking than is optimal. Decision-makers increasingly want more comprehensive evaluation which considers a wider range of planning objectives and impacts. More comprehensive benefit analysis tends to justify more support for walking, and could lead to better planning decisions. Improving walking conditions helps create a more diverse, efficient, and equitable transport system which responds to changing demands and future needs. Walking is particularly important for disadvantaged people who tend to rely on walking for basic mobility, many of whom are constrained if walking conditions are poor. The analysis presented in this chapter is significantly more comprehensive than generally used in planning, and if used could lead to improved planning and enhanced walking.
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