LT16: Shared Use Streets and Crime Reduction

Framework Component

Effectiveness & Maintenance – Multi-Sector Impacts

Indicator Description

Policy and environmental changes related to shared use streets, crime reduction, and safety can help support physical activity behaviors. This indicator is also focused on the implementation of the policies that are highlighted in MT10.

Background and Context

Studies show that characteristics of the built and social environment within communities (including infrastructure and condition of the sidewalks and streets and the prevalence/type of crime) can have a significant impact on physical activity.

A shared-use or mixed-use street (also referred to as Complete Streets) provides an infrastructure that supports multiple recreation and transportation opportunities, such as walking, cycling, and use of wheelchairs to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Shared-use streets make it easy to cross the street and support active transportation. In many cases, developing and adopting policies that promote Complete Streets and active transportation requires cities, towns, counties, and municipalities to change transportation planning, design, maintenance, and funding decisions and involve multiple stakeholders.

Additionally, another strategy to promote shared use is open streets. Open streets are community-based programs that promote the use of public space for physical activity, recreation, and socialization by closing streets temporarily to motorized vehicles, allowing access to pedestrians.

Likewise, crime and safety within communities has also been identified as an important barrier to low-income individuals and families engaging in physical activity. The prevalence and type of crime can contribute to community residents’ perception of safety, which consequently could deter participation in outdoor activities, such as walking. Crime within locations in the neighborhood that are specifically designated for recreation such as parks, trails, and playgrounds, can be particularly relevant when considering associations between crime and physical activity. Additionally, several studies have reported relationships between traffic safety and physical activity.

As described in MT10, Community Design Policies help create and provide support for system changes that result in safer and more appealing places for physical activity.

CDC’s 2014 State Indicators Report on Physical Activity outlined two key PSE change strategies related to shared-use streets, crime prevention, and safety; 1) creating or enhancing access to safe places for physical activity (including quality parks, trails, sidewalks, walking paths); and 2) supporting street-scale and community-scale design policy. LT16 should focus on measuring progress toward these indicators. LT16 measures the number of cities, counties, municipalities, states, etc. that implement policies or systems changes that improve safety and reduce crime such as shared-use streets, open streets activities, safe routes to school activities, and community policing. The role SNAP-Ed plays is focused on cultivating the partnerships and providing education to support the creation and adoption of community design and safety policies and systems changes. SNAP-Ed programs will work collectively with other organizations/agencies to achieve collective impact vs. working alone.

Outcome Measures

The long-term outcomes for this indicator may include:

  1. Total miles of shared-use paths, sidewalks, and bike lanes within local, state, territorial, or tribal jurisdictions (specify geographic areas where at least 50% of the residents are eligible for SNAP-Ed)
    b. Amount of funding or annual number of Complete Streets programs/projects initiated and completed in local, state, territorial, or tribal jurisdictions (specify geographic areas where at least 50% of the residents are eligible for SNAP-Ed)
  2. Amount of funding or annual number of safe route to school programs/projects initiated and implemented in local, state, territorial, or tribal jurisdictions (specify geographic areas where at least 50% of the residents are eligible for SNAP-Ed)
  3. Funding and annual number of open street programs initiated and implemented in local, state, territorial, or tribal jurisdictions
  4. Amount of funding or annual number of CPTED projects initiated and principles implemented in local, state, territorial, or tribal jurisdictions
  5. Funding and annual number of community policing programs in local, state, territorial, or tribal jurisdictions
  6. Total annual crimes and crimes in spaces designated for recreation within local, state, territorial, or tribal jurisdictions
  7. Total pedestrian injuries, and injuries in spaces designated for recreation within local, state, territorial, or tribal jurisdictions (specify geographic areas where at least 50% of the residents are eligible for SNAP-Ed)

What to Measure

Using the databases listed below, identify and track the following:

  1. Shared use paths, sidewalks, and bike lanes, relative to the total street miles
  2. Number of Complete Streets initiatives funded or implemented
  3. Number of Safe Routes to Schools initiatives funded or implemented
  4. Open street programs funded or implemented
  5. Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) programs funded or principles implemented
  6. Community policing programs funded and implemented
  7. Reduction in the crime/victimization rate, reduction in the crime/victimization rate in recreation spaces
  8. Reduction in pedestrian injury rate (pedestrian deaths and crashes)

Certain outcomes can be reported in census tracts in which 50 percent or more of the households have income less than 185 percent of the federal poverty level or it could be a city or federally designated zone of economic need. For others, data are not available at the census tract level. The outcome does not have to only affect the low-income area, but the low-income area must be prioritized in the PSE intervention and evaluation.

Population

N/A

Surveys and Data Collection Tools

  • Local data on funding levels and number of programs implemented (e.g., community policing, safe routes to schools, open streets) are commonly available from state or local governments. However, the National Center for Safe Routes to School (http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/data-central/find-state-contacts) provides information on funding and programs. Some limited data on community policing are available through the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services within the Department of Justice (http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/default.asp?Item=1429 )
  • Data on shared use for cities, towns, and municipalities may be available from local/state government (such as the city planning commission) and/or collected as part of city- or state-level coalitions that are focused on active transportation and physically active lifestyles. Shared-Use Street Level of Service Calculator: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/pedbike/05138/05138.pdf https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/pedbike/05137/05137.pdf 


Few sources provide data at the neighborhood or community level, which would require SNAP-Ed Implementing Agencies to collect data directly using some of the tools included below.

Additional evaluation tools to measure LT16 can be found in the SNAP-Ed Library.

Key Glossary Terms

Additional Resources or Supporting Citations

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