Preparing and Submitting an Application

Whether you’re ready to join the ranks of Walk Friendly Communities, or just want to get an outside perspective on your programs, you’ve come to the right place. Review the information below to learn how the process works and begin preparing your submission.

To start or continue your online application, visit assessment.walkfriendly.org

If you are not ready to start the online application, you can still view the questions:

All applications are prepared and submitted to program staff using our online application system. Follow these steps to plan, prepare, and submit your application:

1. Prepare

Review the Assessment Tool and decide if your community is ready to apply. For a snapshot of the key components in the application, take a look at this one-page self assessment.

Determine who needs to be on the application team. This will likely involve people from:

  • Planning or Transportation Department
  • Engineering or Public Works
  • Transit Agency
  • Law Enforcement Agency
  • School Districts
  • Advocates and Community Groups

2. Compile Data and Responses

Gather data and responses from relevant departments and programs. Leave plenty of time to work through the application and submit the necessary information. Preparing all of this information takes time, so be sure to plan ahead! Don’t hesitate to contact program staff if you run into trouble or have questions along the way.

3. Submit Your Application

Once you’ve checked your responses and confirmed that you are ready to submit, mark your application as “complete” to notify program staff. Applications must be received by one of the two deadlines each year:

  • June 15
  • December 15

Once the deadline passes, Walk Friendly Communities reviewers will spend several months reviewing the applications and determining which communities will receive designations. Communities who submit by the June deadline will be notified of the review outcomes the following October, and those who submit by the December deadline will be notified by the following April.

4. Plan Your Follow-Up

All applicants will receive feedback from reviewers on the strengths of their programs, as well as areas where improvements can be made. Share this information with your application team, elected officials, community members, and advisory boards. Use our feedback to create a plan to address areas of opportunity.

If you’re designated as a Walk Friendly Community, plan an event and celebrate! We’ll provide you with a plaque, design files, and media templates to help you spread the word about your achievement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply?

Individual cities and towns in the United States are eligible to submit Walk Friendly Communities applications. At this time, other organizations (such as universities, regional agencies, and neighborhoods) are not eligible for the designation.

Counties may only apply if the municipal government and county government are one in the same, like Arlington, Virginia.

If you have questions about your eligibility to submit an application, please contact info@walkfriendly.org.

How are applications scored?

Each application submitted to the Walk Friendly Communities program is independently scored by at least two reviewers. Reviews take into account community context to ensure that scores accurately reflect expectations for a particular city or town. For example, a small town with no transit system is not penalized for not answering a question about bus shelter accessibility.

Once each question in the application is scored, reviewers come together to assign a score for each section of the application using the following tier system:

  • Walk Friendly: Strong programs within this section of the application.
  • On the Right Track: Foundations are in place, but additional work is needed.
  • Needs Attention: Few existing programs and a clear need for improvement.

Using the tiers above, reviewers determine whether to designate a community Walk Friendly and at what level. Higher designation levels reflect Walk Friendly scores across multiple areas of the application, while lower designation levels indicate fewer Walk Friendly program areas.

  • Platinum: Each section of the application is Walk Friendly
  • Gold: All sections are Walk Friendly, with the exception of one or two sections that are On the Right Track. No sections Need Attention.
  • Silver: Three or four sections are Walk Friendly, with others On the Right Track or Needing Attention.
  • Bronze: A minimum of two Walk Friendly sections, and at least one of these is Planning or Engineering.
  • Honorable Mention: Some programs to highlight, but overall no designation given.

If you have questions about application scoring or how designations are assigned, please contact our program staff.