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Walkable Bikeable Communities

Walkable Bikeable Communities

Walkable, bikeable communities are places where it’s safe, convenient, and comfortable to walk, bike or take public transit. People who live in such communities are not only able to enjoy those amenities and the quality of life that they offer, but they are also more likely to be healthier.

Walkable, bikeable communities don’t happen by accident. They are created by design and are informed by a community’s walk/bike plan or Complete Streets policy that considers all users of the road. Walkable, bikeable communities have features like crosswalks, transit shelters, bicycle lanes and continuous sidewalks. For people who can’t drive, such as young children, people who can’t afford to own a car, and people with mobility challenges – like older adults or people with a disability – walkable, bikeable communities provide critical access to community services, and ways for residents to travel to where they need and want to go.


Increases physical activity

People who walk, bicycle, and take public transit integrate more activity into their daily lives. People who commute by public transit, for example, take 30% more steps per day than those that rely on cars.

Creates safer roadways and reduces injury

Street design has a major impact on road safety. A study of 15 lane reduction projects (a.k.a. road diets) in Iowa found a 34% reduction in crashes that resulted in injury. Medians, speed bumps, and other traffic-calming infrastructure can reduce the number of pedestrian injuries by up to 15%.

Improves the air we breathe

Walkable, bikeable communities can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution and our contributions to climate change. On days with less air pollution, children and adults with asthma, respiratory, and cardiovascular diseases make fewer emergency room visits and experience fewer life-threatening events

Makes it easier to access the places we need and want to go

Walkable, bikeable communities give everyone safe and convenient access to jobs, schools, grocery stores, clinics, and other places that they need to go — which is especially important for those who can’t or don’t drive.

Fosters social connections with others

Walkable, bikeable communities help create public spaces that foster social connections between community members, which has also been demonstrated to boosts mental and physical health.

What’s happening in suburban Cook County

Aligned with Go to 2050 and Connecting Cook County, municipalities across suburban Cook County are engaging key stakeholders and community residents to develop walk/bike plans and/or adopt Complete Streets policies. Click below to view municipalities identified as Healthy HotSpots that were recently awarded a grant from Invest in Cook County. You may also check out these municipalities on the Healthy HotSpot map.

Walkable, bikeable communities can take years to design, fund, and build. Pop-up events are a fun, tangible way for community residents to experience safer streets. Read how Active Transportation Alliance with several municipalities brought Complete Streets to life for community leaders and residents.

You can also find out about what’s happening with the movement to create more walkable, bikeable communities in your area and the benefits by learning about the work of Healthy HotSpot partner, Active Transportation Alliance.

Find out more about walk/bike plans and complete streets by clicking the images below

Walk/Bike plans

Complete streets


Explore the Healthy HotSpot Map