APHA and Transportation for America have collaborated to release two tools to help public health work with metropolitan planning organizations to make biking and walking a good and viable choice in many communities. Photo by Steve Davis, courtesy Transportation for America

APHA and Transportation for America have collaborated to release two tools to help public health work with metropolitan planning organizations to make biking and walking a good and viable choice in many communities. Photo by Steve Davis, courtesy Transportation for America

Across the country, metropolitan areas large and small are taking steps to improve local walking and biking opportunities. Broward County, Florida, is one of those communities.

With the Atlantic Ocean on its eastern edge and the Everglades Wildlife Management Area covering the west part of the county, Broward County’s nearly 2 million residents live mostly in a densely populated urban center that includes Fort Lauderdale. Heavy, fast traffic made walking and biking treacherous in some areas. High costs to build new roads seemed to put safe active transport out of reach.

But over years of partnering with others in the community, and with the help of a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the organization developed, adopted and promoted complete streets guidelines in conjunction with the Broward Regional Health Planning Council.

With the guidelines, a local organization showed how complete streets —which require streets to be planned and maintained to ensure safe and easy travel by many modes — make communities healthier and safer. By September 2017, half of the county’s jurisdictions had enacted complete streets programs.

The success in Broward County is just one of many case studies examined in two new publications from APHA and Transportation for America to help communities make walking and biking easier for their residents, in part through the use of metropolitan planning organizations.

To continue reading this story from the February/March 2018 issue of The Nation’s Health, visit the newspaper online.