Walking is one of our most natural and fundamental processes. It’s our most basic form of mobility and our inalienable right. We walk to our parks, our churches, our stores, we walk everywhere, and yet more recently we have stopped.

Indeed, in the United States we have systematically engineered walking out of our daily lives in favor of the automobile and unrealistic level of service standards that make pedestrian activity difficult. Consider the following statistics: according to the 2009 National Household Travel Survey in 1969 walking made up 40 percent of all the trips we took, but by 2008 walking trips decreased to just 11 percent. These sobering statistics are endemic of our nation’s over-reliance on the automobile. Sprawl, high speed arterials, and main streets that operate more like highways, have made it unpleasant and even unsafe for walking.

As the premiere international conference on active transportation we have championed walking in our agenda since 1980. Walking defines successful urban and rural spaces. By emphasizing walking, we are designing livable communities at a human scale.

Being “Pro Walk”  is very important to us, and for our 2014 conference we have formed a special partnership with America Walks and the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute to develop the Walking Institute.

The Walking Institute is six session track that will provide information and skills designed to organize, orient and promote walking and local walking advocacy efforts.

To register for the conference and enjoy everything the Walking Institute has to offer click here

Talk to the Walking Experts:

This interactive session will focus on what works in walkability efforts and how walking experts have been successful through their years of work.

Kate Kraft, America WalksMolly O’Reilly, America WalksIan Thomas, America WalksWendy Landman, WalkBoston; Andy Hamilton, Walk San Diego

Walkability: What Have We Learned?:

Learn from long-term practitioners about what it takes to foster walkable, livable communities, including core principles and practice guidelines.

Kate Kraft, America WalksLauren Marchetti, National Center for Safe Routes to SchoolKelly Morphy, WALC Institute

Winning with Walking:

This session will focus on how to create local movements for walking, from research that helps you make the case, to creating successful partnerships, to tapping into existing resources and networks.

Scott Bricker, America Walks

Choosing the Right Engineer for Projects:

This session will outline the key skills and talents you should think about looking for in your engineers, whether you are hiring a firm for a project or seeking to fill an in-house position.

Kate Kraft, America WalksMolly O’Reilly, America Walks; Gary Toth, Project for Public Spaces

Kickstarting A Community Project:

This talk will share important takeaways that WalkBoston learned during its first Kickstarter campaign that can be used by other groups considering alternative streams of funding for local initiatives.

Brendan Kearney, WalkBostonMatt Tomasulo, Walk [Your City]

Creating Programs that Get People Walking:

This session will provide an overview of different programs that communities can implement to get people out walking. Learn what’s worked and what to avoid for community-based walking groups, engaging medical professionals, and micro-funding.

Bill Lovett, YMCA; Erin Slevin, American College of Sports MedicineKathy Smith, Partners for Health Foundation

 

Pedestrians enjoy walking along Pittsburgh’s riverfront. Photo via Flickr CC by the Uprooted Photographer