Memorandum To: Franklin County hci leadership Team Ron Alexander – ccsr, Adrienne Paine Andrews From: Public Health Law Center Mary Marrow and Laura Pickrell, Research Assistant re: Benefits Associated with Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan Date: December

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To: Franklin County HCI Leadership Team

Ron Alexander – CCSR, Adrienne Paine Andrews

From: Public Health Law Center - Mary Marrow and Laura Pickrell, Research Assistant

RE: Benefits Associated with Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan

Date: December 9, 2014

The Franklin County HCI Leadership Team identified a Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan as its policy priority for the Healthy Communities Initiative to improve health by increasing physical activity through walking and bicycling in the community. Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plans can have long-term impacts on the safety, health, and economic vitality of a community by building upon existing infrastructure to create an interconnected, safe, and functional non-motorized transportation network which is conducive to use by cyclists and pedestrians. A key consideration in developing and implementing the Master Plan involves improving the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians (also known as “vulnerable road users” (VRUs)1) using transportation and recreation facilities.

The Franklin County leadership team requested information to support the development of a Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan (hereafter referred to as Master Plan) as a means of promoting safety, health, and economic vitality in the community, and guiding the future of pedestrian and bicycle initiatives throughout the region. The Public Health Law Center reviewed existing research and found the following support for improving infrastructure to increase active transportation and recreation through walking and cycling. This information can be used as “findings” in the Franklin County Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan to support the need for and the Master Plan.


  1. Sidewalks increase safety for pedestrians.

  • Between 2008 – 2012, the percentage of pedestrians killed who were in the roadway improperly2 increased in Kansas (figure 1) as compared to the national average. “Walking along the roadway” crashes can be prevented by providing walkways which are separate from travel lanes.3

  • Pedestrian crashes are more than twice as likely to occur in places without sidewalks; streets with sidewalks on both sides have the fewest crashes.4

Figure 1: Pedestrians killed who were in the roadway improperly, 2008-2012

Source: Fatality Analysis Reporting System

  1. Infrastructure which promotes bicycling also reduces crashes and injuries among cyclists.

  • Bike lanes: “On-road marked bike lanes were found to have a positive safety effect in five studies, consistently reducing injury rate, collision frequency or crash rates by about 50% compared to unmodified roadways.”5

  • More severe injuries were significantly associated with motor vehicle involvement, unlit roads at night, wider roads, perceptible road grades, and one-way streets.6 Infrastructure improvements such as pedestrian-scale lighting and minimal road grades can be incorporated into design guidelines for bicycle facility design, which may be included in Franklin County’s Master Plan.


  1. Walking has substantial health benefits.

  • Brisk walking (≥3.5 mph) has been shown to reduce body fat, lower blood pressure, increase high-density lipoprotein, and even reduce risks of bone fracture.7

  • Brisk walking has been associated with lower mortality rates from cardiovascular disease and cancer.8

  1. Bicycling has substantial health benefits.

  • Bicycle commuting has been shown to be a form of physical activity that meets recommended intensity levels,9 and is associated with lower rates of overweight and obesity.10

  • Feeling unsafe or threatened may prevent people from bicycling either for the purpose of commuting, or for recreation (figure 2).

Figure 2: Top perceived threats to cyclist safety, 2008

Source: National Survey of Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behavior, 2008

  1. Safe Routes to School

Parents are more likely to permit their children to walk to school if they perceive sidewalks along the route to be available and well-maintained, which has positive implications for children’s safety and health.

  • Elementary-aged children who walk or bike to school generally obtain more daily physical active compared to those who do not. Children who walk or bike to school are also more likely to engage in other forms of physical activity outside of school, and are more likely to walk or bike to other destinations.11

  • In a survey completed among parents in an Austin, Texas suburb, the likelihood of walking was greater for students whose parents reported that there were sidewalks on most of their neighborhood streets. Additionally, there was an increased likelihood of walking among students whose parents reported that sidewalks were well-maintained in their neighborhood.12

  • The majority of parents feel that it is too dangerous for their child(ren) to walk or bicycle to school because of traffic, rather than because of crime.13

  • “Parents may weigh the safety of the specific route a child will travel over the safety of the neighborhood or school environment when deciding whether to allow their child to walk to school”.14


  1. People want and support the development of infrastructure which promotes bicycling

  • Almost half of people 16 or older (47%) would like to see some changes made in their community for bicyclists. This applies regardless of how satisfied individuals are with the design of their communities for bicycling safety, Those living in suburban areas were more likely (51%) than those in urban (47%) or rural (42%) areas to desire change.15

  • The change most desired in the community among all bicyclists surveyed (including those who bicycle rarely to those who bicycle regularly and use bicycling as their primary source of commuting) is to increase bicycling facilities such as more bicycle lanes (38%), more bicycle paths (30%), and more bicycle trails (14%).16

  1. Bicycle infrastructure helps local businesses, which improves the economic viability of the community

  • A survey conducted among business leaders in Austin, Texas; San Francisco, California; Portland, Oregon; Chicago, Illinois; and Washington, D.C  revealed that “protected bike lanes improve real estate value from neighborhood redevelopment, help companies in downtown or urban city centers recruit talented workers who want to live close to where they work and bike, help lower health care costs as workers reap the health benefits of pedaling to work, and increase retail visibility and sales volume.”17

  1. Homebuyers want and prefer to have sidewalks.

  • In a Community Preference survey of 2,071 randomly-selected adults conducted by the National Association of Realtors in 2011, more than ¾ of respondents ranked having sidewalks or places to take walks as very important or somewhat important in deciding where to live (figure 3).

Figure 3: National Association of Realtors, 2011

Source: Roper Center, National Association of Realtors

  1. Walkability adds value to homes.

  • The National Association of Realtors’ “Houselogic” website cites a study that shows that houses in neighborhoods with good walkability are worth between $4,000-$34,000 more than houses in neighborhoods that require more driving.18

  • In a survey19 published in 2009 of 15 metropolitan areas demonstrated that a one-point increase in the walkability of a neighborhood as measured by increased home values by $700 to $3,000.20

  • The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) states that “walkable” neighborhoods often have higher property values because homes in locations where residents can safely walk to schools and other nearby destinations are desirable.21

  1. Homebuyer desires are generally gravitating toward walkability.

  • A Community Preference Survey published by the National Association of Realtors in September 2013 demonstrates that 60 percent of respondents favor a neighborhood with a mix of houses and stores and other businesses to which it is easy to walk.22

  • Walkability is desirable among older populations as well as first-time homebuyers and families. Sidewalks and other infrastructure which promotes walking allows homebuyers to age in place,23 rather than forcing them to relocate. This is of particular importance in Franklin County, given that the percentage of persons age 65 or over in in this area is slightly higher than the Kansas average (15.2% versus 14% respectively).24

  • The Boomer Housing Survey,25 conducted by the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) in 2012 of 2060 Boomers26 indicates that presence of sidewalks is somewhat or very important to homebuyers (figure 4).

Figure 4: AARP, 2012

Source: Roper Center, AARP

  1. Sidewalk Construction is Seen as an Appropriate Use of Government Funds

  • People see improvements to existing communities, including infrastructure enhancement (including sidewalk construction), as an advantageous use of government funds.

  • A poll conducted by the American Association of Realtors in 2011 indicated that the majority of those polled felt as though improvements made to existing communities was a better use of government funds than development of new communities (figure 5).

  • (Note: While this poll focused on state funds, this information would translate to local Kansas government funding as Kansas local governments are primarily responsible for funding, developing, implementing, and maintaining sidewalk infrastructure in Kansas).

Figure 5: National Association of Realtors, 2011

Source: Roper Center, National Association of Realtors. 2011

The Public Health Law Center provides information and technical assistance on issues related to tobacco and public health, but does not provide legal representation or advice. This correspondence should not be considered legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney. If you have specific legal questions, we recommend that you consult with an attorney familiar with the laws of your jurisdiction.


1 Vulnerable road users are defined by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) as road users who are most at risk for serious injury or death when they are involved in a motor-vehicle-related collision. These include pedestrians of all ages, types and abilities, particularly older pedestrians and people with disabilities. VRU‘s also include bicyclists and motorcyclists. Older drivers may also be considered to fit into this same user group

2 “In the roadway improperly” is defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as walking, lying, standing, or playing in the roadway or in the immediate vicinity of the roadway.

3 Safety Benefits of Walkways, Sideways, and Paved Shoulders; FHWA Safety Program at page 2, available at

4 Campbell, B., et al. (2004). “A Review of Pedestrian Safety Research in the United States and Abroad.” Federal

Highway Administration Publication # FHWA-RD-03-042

5 Reynolds, C. C., et al. "The impact of transportation infrastructure on bicycling injuries and crashes: a review of the literature." Environmental Health 8.1 (2009): 47.

6 Reynolds, C. C., et al. "The impact of transportation infrastructure on bicycling injuries and crashes: a review of the literature." Environmental Health 8.1 (2009): 47.

7 Dunton, G., et al., 2006, Perceived Barriers to Walking for Physical Activity,Preventing Chronic Disease

8 Eyler AA, et al., 2003, The epidemiology of walking for physical activity in the United States.

9 de Geus B, De Smet S, Meeusen R. Determining the intensity and energy expenditure during commuter cycling. Br J Sports Med. 2007;41:8–12.

10 Wen LM, Rissel C. Inverse associations between cycling to work, public transport, and overweight and obesity: findings from a population based study in Australia. Prev Med. 2008;46:29–32.

11 Oluyomi, A.O et al. “Parental safety concerns and active school commute: correlates across multiple domains in the home-to-school journey”. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 2014, 11:32

12 Oluyomi, supra.

13 Cho, CM et al. “The effect of resident-perceived neighborhood boundary on the equity of public parks distribution: using GIS”. We. Geographic Information Systems, 2005: 296-307

14 Oluyomi, supra.

15 National Survey of Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behavior, 2008

16 National Survey of Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behavior, 2008

17 Advocacy Briefs. (2014). Bicycle Retailer & Industry News, 23(2), 23

18 National Association of Realtors “Houselogic” website, available at

19 The study, which was funded by a grant from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, included 15 metropolitan areas, finding a statistically significant positive relationship between walkability and home values in 13 areas: Arlington, Virginia; Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Chicago, Illinois; Dallas, Texas; Fresno, California; Jacksonville, Florida;; Phoenix, Arizona; Sacramento, California; San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; Stockton, California, and Tucson, Arizona. In one metro area, Las Vegas, walkability was correlated with lower housing values, and in Bakersfield, California, there was no statistically significant connection between walkability and housing values. From:

20 CEOs for Cities, Walking the Walk: How Walkability Raises Home Values in U.S. Cities (2009), available at

21 Engineering Solutions to Promote Pedestrian Safety. Federal Highway Administration, available at

22 National Association of Realtors “2013 Community Preference Survey” Press Release, available at

23 The Center for Disease Control defines aging in place as “The ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”

24 U.S. Census Bureau, State and County Quickfacts. Available at Accessed 12/2/2014.

25 The Boomer Housing Survey is conducted to shed light on the current, emerging, and future housing concerns of the baby boomer population. It is administered to gain a sense of this population’s opinions, attitudes, and experiences in the areas of retirement migration, aging in place, and decisions regarding real estate purchases. Reported statistics are weighted using Census data (AARP).

26 “Baby boomers” or “boomers” are defined as persons born in the post-World War II era between the years of 1946 and 1964. The term is also frequently used in a cultural context.

Public Health Law Center · 875 Summit Avenue · St. Paul, Minnesota 55105 USA

Tel: 651.290.7506 · Fax: 651.290.7515 ·

Page – Last Updated December 9, 2014

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