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Walking & Bicycling Audits

Walk Audit

What is an Audit?

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.

Audit Checklists

A variety of checklists are available to take on the audit. The Partnership for a Walkable America has a Walkability Checklist and a Bikeability Checklist, while California Active Communities has a Spanish Walkability Checklist. Alameda County Safe Routes to School has an informational flier on School Neighborhood Walk Audits, and Sonoma County Safe Routes to School has a Walk Audit Lesson Plan for 5th and 6th graders.

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, and 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.