Washington, DC

Level: gold
Population: 601,723
Population Density: 9,856/sq. mi.
Pedestrian Plan
Program Website
Contact: George Branyan

Community Highlights

Washington DC is designated as a Gold-level community due to its high transit and walking mode share and exceptional planning and engineering. The City’s level of staffing and public input for pedestrian issues also demonstrates a strong commitment to walkability. Highlights of Washington DC’s application include:

  • Washington DC’s Pedestrian Plan has two very important performance indicators: reducing pedestrian deaths and injuries by five percent every three years (adjusting for exposure) and increasing the number of pedestrians walking and using transit to work on an annual basis. The Plan also provides an excellent amount of detail by providing a timeline and cost estimate for each of the 20 recommendations.
  • 96 percent of DC’s population lives within a quarter-mile of a bus stop or half-mile of a rail station! The NextBus app and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) website have online trip planning that lets people look for options that reduce transfers or reduce travel time. WMATA’s Guidelines for the Design and Placement of Transit Stops document is used by DDOT in construction projects, and is provided to developers when they are impacting a bus stop through construction. Boarding/alighting data is used regularly in making changes to transit stop locations as well as siting transit shelters.
  • Washington DC’s complete streets policy, signed in 2010, applies to all transportation planning, design, review, operations, major maintenance projects (such as milling and overlay), new construction and reconstruction projects, except where prohibited by law.
  • The District also has a performance based parking pilot program which escalates or varies the parking meter rates to manage the demand for parking. Performance based parking is currently being implemented in the Columbia Heights and the Capitol Hill/Ballpark District.
  • The training for planning and design staff, as well as police officers in DC, is excellent. Since 2005, DDOT has partnered with the DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to offer trainings for officers on bicycle and pedestrian safety, law, and effective enforcement techniques. To date, 400 officers have received the training and in 2011, DDOT prepared a training presentation module for computer-based distance learning that must be completed by all MPD officers.
  • The annual “Feet in the Street” event closes the 361 acre Fort Dupont Park to cars so that residents and visitors come to run, walk, bike, skate, and play along this 1.6 mile long corridor. The Feet in the Street event is designed to promote physical activity, green transportation choices, and community spirit. It started in 2009 as a collaboration between the National Park Service and DDOT. In 2012, for the first time, the event will coincide with Metro DC’s “Car Free Day.”
  • DC’s Downtown Business Improvement District led the effort to develop a citywide wayfinding signage system. More than 30 stakeholder groups were involved in the process and the system is now expanding to neighborhoods beyond downtown.
  • In addition to excellent sidewalk coverage and pedestrian accommodations on over 230 bridges, DC has an exceptional Design and Engineering Manual.
  • Washington DC’s series of Livability Studies looked at community quality of life as experienced by the people who live, work, and recreate there. Outcomes will be aimed at on-the-ground changes such as enhanced pedestrian crossings, more accessible bus stops, increased green spaces, and numerous traffic calming practices.
  • DDOT requires all traffic studies to assess pedestrian demand for crossing facilities in addition to sidewalk demand.