Walking and bicycling audits identify barriers for travel between home and school. Also known as assessments, walking and bicycling audits generally include a tour of the school area where participants identify issues related to walking and biking, followed by a debriefing and brainstorming session to rank concerns and identify potential solutions.
Generally, an audit is completed by personnel with experience in pedestrian and bicycle issues (planners or engineers) and includes input from stakeholders (often school faculty and/or administrators, district staff, parents, students, and other local stakeholders and experts). The stakeholders systematically document conditions that impact students walking or bicycling to and from school and note specific locations on a map. Problem areas could be social, natural barriers, or man-made obstacles that prevent safe walking or bicycling.
After the audit, the stakeholders work with local authorities (city engineers and/or planners and school district staff who would be implementing the improvements) to identify potential short-term, low-cost solutions as well as longer-term options. Solutions should include education, encouragement, enforcement strategies, and school site transportation policies in addition to infrastructure improvements. Information from the audit can be used to develop suggested route maps for the school and to support Safe Routes to School grants.
Use the Walking & Bicycling Audits Guidebook to get started and check out the Evaluating School Commute Programs Guidebook for more information on audits and other tools for tracking program participation and benefits to the community.