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.