Table of Contents
Evidence suggests that most individuals need to get more physical activity. Walking is just one way that individuals can increase the amount of physical activity they engage in. However, many environments are not suitable, safe, or attractive for walking. The Walkability Audit tool assesses the walkability of a workplace. It elicits information on pedestrian facilities, pedestrian conflicts, crosswalks, maintenance, path size, buffers, universal accessibility, aesthetics, and shade. Respondents must also provide information on dangerous or unpleasant elements of the environment, potential improvements, and an overall evaluation of whether the environment is attractive and safe for walking.
Data on reliability and validity of the instrument are presented by Dannenberg and colleagues (2007).
Author of Tool:
Dannenberg, A.L., Cramer, T.W., & Gibson, C.J.
Dannenberg, A.L., Cramer, T.W., & Gibson, C.J. (2005). Assessing the Walkability of the Workplace: A New Audit Tool. American Journal of Health Promotion, 20 (1): 39–44.
Creating or Improving Access to Places for Physical Activity is Strongly Recommended to Increase Physical Activity. The Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Available at https://www.thecommunityguide.org/pa/default.htm*
Primary use / Purpose:
The Worksite Walkability Audit Tool is designed to assess how safe and attractive the walking environment at a workplace is.
Walkability Audit Tool
This tool will help you assess the walkability of your workplace. Directions and the tool follow.
- Obtain (or create, if necessary) a map of the campus or area around your place of work that you wish to audit, including likely pedestrian destinations, such as parking lots, nearby restaurants, shops, parks,
- Decide, either by observation or inference, the most useful or likely pedestrian route between each location of interest on your map, eventually assembling a network of walking segments (link to glossary) that make up your most common walking routes. Label these segments ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ or 1,2,3 to identify one from the See Sample Audit Report Map (link) for an example.
- Take the attached audit tool to the location under study. Take as many copies as you have identified segments on your map—for example, if you have 10 segments on your map, take 10 copies. You will use a copy of the audit tool to assess each segment individually. The tool assesses factors related to safety, aesthetics, and recreational potential, (link to glossary) with safety being the most important.
- Begin with your first segment, and use the attached audit to rank each feature, using the description provided on the audit. There are no right or wrong answers, just pick the number that most accurately represents your understanding of the segment. Also answer the questions at the bottom of the audit tool, noting potential dangers and
- Repeat step 4 for each segment of your map. Some segments may be very different from each other, and some may be very
- Once you have completed the audit form for all the segments on your map, use the formula in the box halfway through the audit form to create a numerical score for each segment. This score makes safety considerations the most important, followed by things like accessibility and aesthetics (medium importance) and finally shade (least important), and should range from 0-100. Calculate scores for all segments of your map.
- Now you can input the scores from each segment on your map, and generate a report. If you like, you can follow the format of our sample report. (link)We designated segments with scores of 0-39 points as high-risk and unattractive (red), scores of 40-69 as medium-risk and average or non-descript looking (yellow) and 70 and above as low-risk and pleasant. The questions you answered at the bottom of the audit tool can help you prioritize your needs and wants for improving the walking routes
- Pedestrian Facilities (High): presence of a suitable walking surface, such as a sidewalk or
1 No permanent facilities; pedestrians walk in roadway or on dirt path
3 Continuous sidewalk on both sides of road, or completely away from roads
5 Sidewalk on one side of road; minor discontinuities that present no real obstacle to passage
- Pedestrian Conflicts (High): potential for conflict with motor vehicle traffic due to driveway and loading dock crossings, speed and volume of traffic, large intersections, low pedestrian
1 High conflict potential
5 Low conflict potential
- Crosswalks (High): presence and visibility of crosswalks on roads intersecting the segment. Traffic signals meet pedestrian needs with separate ‘walk’ lights that provide sufficient crossing
1 Crosswalks not present despite major intersections
5 No intersections, or crosswalks clearly marked
- Maintenance (Medium): cracking, buckling, overgrown vegetation, standing water, etc. on or near walking Does not include temporary deficiencies likely to soon be resolved (e.g. tall grass).
1 Major or frequent problems
5 No problems
- Path Size (Medium): measure of useful path width, accounting for barriers to passage along
- No permanent facilities
- < 3 feet wide, significant barriers
5 > 5 feet wide, barrier free
- Buffer (Medium): space separating path from adjacent
1 No buffer from roadway
- > 4 feet from roadway
- Not adjacent to roadway
- Universal Accessibility (Medium): ease of access for the mobility impaired. Look for ramps and handrails accompanying steps, curb cuts, etc.
- Completely impassible for wheelchairs, or no permanent facilities
- Difficult or dangerous for wheelchairs (e.g. no curb cuts)
- Wheelchair accessible route available but inconvenient
- Designed to facilitate wheelchair access
- Aesthetics (Medium): includes proximity of construction zones, fences, buildings, noise pollution, quality of landscaping, and pedestrian-oriented features, such as benches and water
- Shade (Low): amount of shade, accounting for different times of day.
1 No shade
5 Full shade
Sum of High importance (A-C): x 3 = Sum of Medium importance (D-H): x 2 = Sum of Low importance (I): x 1 = Total Score: / 100
- What is the most dangerous location along this segment?
- What is the most unpleasant element of this segment?
- What improvements would make this segment more appropriate for pedestrian use?
- Would it be possible to design a more direct route to connect the ends of this segment?
- Are the conditions of this segment appropriate and attractive for exercise or recreational use?