We surveyed North Carolina (NC) municipalities to document the presence of municipal walking- and bicycling-related projects, programs, and policies; to describe whether prevalence of these elements differed if recommended in a plan; and to characterize differences between urban and rural municipalities.
We surveyed all municipalities with ≥ 5000 persons (n = 121) and sampled municipalities with < 5000 persons (216/420), with a response rate of 54% (183/337). Responses were weighted to account for the sampling design.
From a list provided, staff reported on their municipality’s use of walking- and bicycling-related elements (8 infrastructure projects, 9 programs, and 14 policies). The most commonly reported were projects on sidewalks (53%), streetscape improvements (51%), bicycle/walking paths (40%); programs for cultural/recreational/health (25%), general promotional activities (24%), Safe Routes to School (24%), and law enforcement (24%); and policies on maintenance (64%), new facility construction (57%), and restricted automobile speed or access (45%). Nearly all projects, programs, or policies reported were more likely if included in a plan and more prevalent in urban than rural municipalities.
These results provide cross-sectional support that plans facilitate the implementation of walking and bicycling elements, and that rural municipalities plan and implement these elements less often than urban municipalities.
Evenson, Satinsky, and Kerr are with the Dept of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. Aytur is with the Dept of Health Management and Policy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. Rodríguez is with the Dept of City and Regional Planning, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.