Walking is a low-impact, active, environmentally friendly, affordable, and sustainable form of transportation available to a wide range of residents. Walkable communities provide residents with safe transportation choices and improved quality of life.

Walking Updates


Safe and walkable neighborhoods provide a higher quality of life.

Walking Facts

  • In 2011, only 42 percent of Charlotte’s roads had a sidewalk.
  • In 1969, 50 percent of US children walked or biked to school. By 2011, only 13 percent did.
  • Nearly 85 percent of children are bused or driven by their parents, costing school districts and families billions in gasoline costs per year.
  • The Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord metro area has the 10th highest rate of pedestrian fatalities among the largest metros in the US.
  • In 2012, pedestrians accounted for nearly 15 percent of all traffic deaths, up six percent from 2011 and representing a five-year high.
  • As the rate of children walking or riding bikes to school has decreased, childhood obesity has increased among children ages six  to eleven from four percent in 1969 to 19.6 percent in 2007.
  • Moderate daily exercise, such as walking, can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and other health conditions.
  • Adding speed humps decreases the risk that a pedestrian will be struck by 53 percent. Installing refuge islands in crosswalks can reduce the likelihood of pedestrian-vehicle crashes by 66 percent.
  • In the decade from 2003 through 2012, more than 47,000 people died while walking on US streets. That is 16 times the number of people who died in natural disasters during the same ten years, but without the corresponding level of urgency.
  • The US metros with the most commercial Walkable Urban Places (WalkUPs) have an average of 38 percent higher GDP per capita as compared to the low ranking metros.
  • Office space in urban WalkUPs rents at a 74 percent higher premium per square foot over drivable suburban areas.

Walking Resources

  • Charlotte Department of Transportation (CDOT) provides information about the various documents that incorporate pedestrian needs.
  • The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center offers a vast library of research articles, fact sheets, and community support tools.
  • The National Association of City Transportation Officials’ Urban Street Design Guide emphasizes city street design as a unique practice with its own set of design goals, parameters, and tools.
  • The Institute of Transportation Engineers‘ document Designing Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach explains why and how to apply the principles of context sensitive solutions in transportation planning and in the design of roadway improvement projects in places where community objectives support walkable communities-compact development, mixed land uses and support for pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) has compiled a set of principles and key characteristics of the sustainable street network into a document that is practical, inspirational, and beautifully illustrated. Download the document, Sustainable Street Network Principles.
  • Calculate a Walk Score to find out how pedestrian-friendly your neighborhood is compared to other areas.
  • North Carolina pedestrian laws govern how pedestrians should interact with other users of roadways. 
  • To learn how to help create opportunities for children to walk and bike to school safely, check out the resources from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.
  • PlanCharlotte.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan online media project reporting on issues affecting the growth, quality of life and future of the Charlotte region. Check the blog for frequently updated discussions about pedestrian news.
  • BikeWalk NC is a membership-based, statewide advocacy organization promoting non-motorized transportation choices for residents of and visitors to NC.
  • Smart Growth America’s Foot Traffic Ahead report ranks the country’s top 30 metropolitan areas based on the amount of commercial development in Walkable Urban Places (WalkUPs).
  • Smart Growth America’s Dangerous Design 2014 report ranks the metro areas where pedestrian fatalities happen and who’s most at risk, presenting data from every county, metro area, and state.
  • The American Heart Association’s Start Walking Now page explains the benefits of walking and provides resources for getting active in your community.