Walking is an activity that many of us take for granted. But as pedestrian accident rates continue to rise and access to safe pedestrian spaces is diminished, communities are recognizing that walking -- and improving the walkability of our neighborhoods – requires public attention and action.
Throughout October, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), in coordination with several state agencies and other partners, will sponsor a series of 90-minute webinars, or
Walkinars, to highlight how we can collectively rally around walking, an activity that is both central to the state’s active transportation efforts and a critical component promoting public well-being.
In fact, walking is recognized as the
State of Maryland’s Official State Exercise.
The Walktober Walkinar series, hosted by the Maryland Department of Planning, will help planners, local officials, pedestrian advocates, and the public at large learn how to advocate for safe walking infrastructure. Panelists will identify key resources to build, strengthen, and sustain local partnerships and share new tools and technologies being used across the country to identify and plan for pedestrian-accessible routes for all ages and abilities.
All webinars will be from 9:30 to 11 a.m. EST on Thursdays. See the specific dates below. For registration information, visit the
Maryland Department of Transportation's
Planners who attend the webinars live are
eligible for 1.5 AICP CM credits. There is no cost to participate.
Walkinar #1: National Perspectives on Walking and Pedestrian Safety: Where We Are and How We Move Forward (October 6, 10:30 a.m.)
The 2022 Walktober Walkinar series kicks off with a look at national efforts on pedestrian safety, where things stand and how the country is moving forward.
The series begins with the Honorable Thomas B. Chapman, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) who will highlight the NTSB most wanted highway safety improvement items. Specifically, he will highlight the importance of the safe system approach to traffic safety in protecting vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and bicyclists.
Next, Mike McGinn of America Walks will outline the current state of the walkability movement and the opportunities presented by new infrastructure funding available at the federal level., as well as how advocates can work with state and local officials to lay the groundwork for new investments in walkability and accessibility.
Finally, surveys by AARP show that brisk walking, walking for exercise, and walking for leisure are among the most common activities engaged in by adults in all age groups. Laura Mehegan of AARP will share data and trends from these surveys, which show that one in five adults say they are engaging in more vigorous walking than they were before the pandemic.
Walkinar #2: Equity and Walkability: Improving Pedestrian Infrastructure in Underserved Neighborhoods (October 13, 10:30 a.m.)
National conversations about equity have expanded into the pedestrian realm and have prompted increasing numbers of communities to examine how to improve pedestrian infrastructure in underserved neighborhoods.
Nondrivers represent nearly one quarter of the population and yet often are not included in planning and policymaking discussions. This session will look at how nondrivers are organizing to improve pedestrian infrastructure to better serve people of all ages, as well as those who cannot drive, do not have access to a car, or who cannot afford to own or maintain a vehicle.
The 10 Minute Walk program is an innovative approach to help ensure that all community members have easy and safe access to parks and green spaces. A coalition of mayors and stakeholders is working to achieve universal park access and create an equitable, safe, resilient, and healthy environment for communities to thrive. Tune in to learn more about this great initiative.
Finally, for two decades, James Rojas and John Kamp have been looking to art, creative expression, and storytelling to shake up the classic community meeting. They will share their insights, experiences and provide pointers for building common ground and inviting active participation among diverse groups.
- Anna Ziwarts, Director, Disability Mobility Initiative Program
- Christina Jang, Technical Assistance Program Manager , Trust for Public Land
- James Rojas and John Kamp, Place It!
Walkinar #3: Walking and Public Health: Research Insights into the Value of Active Living (October 20 at 10:30 a.m.)
Walking is the most common leisure-time physical activity in the U.S. With the advent of pedometers, other wearable devices and phone applications that enable walkers to quantify and monitor their steps, attention has focused on the number of steps needed daily to improve health. Pedro Saint-Maurice, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute will share recent findings from these great new data sources.
Discussions about health and wellness also have looked at a broader set of tools and approaches. Dhruti U. Patel, , MS., P.G. Dipl., of the University of Maryland Extension, will share the benefits of mindfulness in our everyday lives, from stress relief to fitness and mindful eating to how these approaches can fit together to improve public health.
- Pedro Saint-Maurice, Ph.D., National Cancer Institute, Metabolic Epidemiology Branch
- Dhruti U. Patel, MS., P.G. Dipl., University of Maryland Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator
Walkinar #4: Expanding Access to Pedestrian Infrastructure and Improving Public Safety: Tools and Case Studies (October 27 at 10:30 a.m.)
The final Walkinar will look at how transit and pedestrian infrastructure can be improved to expand access and improve public safety, through tools and case studies from Maryland and beyond.
Stephanie Dipetrillo of the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University will discuss how the built environment around transit facilities can affect how people use transit.
Montgomery County Planning is using a new strategy to improve road safety for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. Their “Predictive Safety Analysis” is a proactive data-driven approach designed to prevent severe and fatal crashes before they happen. Tune in to learn how this effort will help eliminate all traffic deaths and injuries in the county by 2030!
Finally, Carden Wyckoff of Atlanta will take a look at transit equity through the lens of someone who uses a wheelchair by sharing her experiences and insights about the importance of rollability and the value of universal design for all.