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Communities Across the Country Earn “Walk Friendly” Status

News Release

For Immediate Release

September 22, 2011

CHAPEL HILL, NC —The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) is excited to announce new Walk Friendly Communities (WFC) in 10 locations across the nation. The “Walk Friendly” title means a city or town is being recognized for their success in working to improve a wide range of conditions related to walking, including safety, mobility, access, and comfort. PBIC recognizes these 10 new communities for their commitment to improving walkability and pedestrian safety:

Gold Level

Silver Level

Bronze

“We were very pleased to have a great mix of designated communities this round,” said Carl Sundstrom, WFC program manager. “Through the application process, communities share their best practices and, in turn, we’re able to share this information to all of the communities who apply through the technical assistance we provide.”

These 10 communities are added to the inaugural class of 11 Walk Friendly Communities announced in April 2011. In addition to the designated communities, Dayton, OH, Omaha, NE, and Rancho Cordova, CA, all received honorable mentions for elements of their pedestrian programs. To date, Seattle, Washington, has been the only Platinum-level Walk Friendly Community awarded.

The program will begin accepting applications for the next round on November 1, 2011, with the deadline for submission on December 15, 2011. Interested communities are encouraged to visit www.walkfriendly.org to learn more about the program and review the community assessment tool. Communities can also attend a free Webinar to ask questions about the application process on October 14, 2011. To register, please visit https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/352585906

Applicants use a web-based program that asks a comprehensive set of questions and provides communities with feedback and ideas for promoting pedestrian safety and activity. The questions examine engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation and planning. Officially launched in October 2010, the WFC program is funded by FedEx and the Federal Highway Administration.

“Every day our FedEx drivers share the streets with pedestrians and see the importance of walkable communities. FedEx has developed highly advanced safe driving practices over the past 35-plus years, but we are committed to doing more,” said Rose Flenorl, manager of FedEx Global Citizenship.

“By supporting Walk Friendly Communities, FedEx helps communities create access to safer, more walkable roadways. The Walk Friendly Communities program provides the tools for communities to assess their own walkability and create plans for change. This is community empowerment in action, making a long-lasting social impact to pedestrian safety and the walkability of our communities.”

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About the WFC Program

The Walk Friendly Community designation, awarded from bronze to platinum, is given to applicant communities that have demonstrated a commitment to improving and sustaining walkability and pedestrian safety through comprehensive programs, plans and policies.

At the core of the WFC program is a comprehensive assessment tool that evaluates community walkability and pedestrian safety through questions related to engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation and planning. The assessment tool questions are intended to both evaluate conditions for walking and provide communities with feedback and ideas for promoting pedestrian safety and activity.

Modeled after the League of American Bicyclists’ “Bicycle Friendly Communities,” WFC distinguishes cities and towns that are leading the way in walkability. WFC is the first program to highlight communities for their walkability initiatives and programs, while also offering feedback to assist communities in improving walkability.

About PBIC

Since its inception in 1999, PBIC's mission has been to improve the quality of life in communities through the increase of safe walking and bicycling as a viable means of transportation and physical activity. The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center is maintained by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration.

About the FHWA Bicycle & Pedestrian Program

The Bicycle & Pedestrian Program of the Federal Highway Administration promotes bicycle and pedestrian transportation use, safety, and accessibility. The FHWA Bicycle & Pedestrian Program issues guidance and is responsible for overseeing that States and other agencies understand and meet legislative requirements.

About FedEx

FedEx Corp. provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenues of $39 billion, the company offers integrated business applications through operating companies competing collectively and managed collaboratively, under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world's most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 290,000 team members to remain "absolutely, positively" focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities.

Media Contacts:

PBIC: Katy Jones, 919.843.7007 (office), 919.883.7848 (cell) jones@hsrc.unc.edu
FedEx: Deborah Willig, 901.508.4377 (cell) deborah.willig@fedex.com
FHWA: Kelly Hanahan, 202.366.0877 (office) kelly.hanahan@dot.gov