Sample Policies

Local policies have the most direct impact on how the built environment supports walking and biking at the site, neighborhood, and community levels. Municipal ordinances and zoning regulations should be regularly reviewed to identify and remove barriers for walking and biking and to include policies that will improve conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists. Relevant policies may include:

  1. Incentive zoning
  2. Motor vehicle parking requirements (i.e., the design, amount, and price of car parking required for different developments)
  3. Overlay districts
  4. School siting
  5. Bicycle parking ordinances (e.g., specifying the type and number of bicycle parking spaces for development)
  6. Street design standards (e.g., maximum block lengths, connectivity requirements)
  7. Form-based codes

The city of Raleigh, North Carolina, and the city of Bloomington, Indiana, have Unified Development Ordinances (UDO) that include good examples for many of these policies.

More information:

  1. ChangeLab Solutions has some good resources about planning policies that support healthy, active communities, including model ordinances and resolutions for Complete Streets and model bike parking ordinances. Two especially comprehensive resources are the Pedestrian Friendly Code Directory and Getting the Wheels Rolling: A Guide to using Policy to Create Bicycle Friendly Communities [PDF].
  2. The Victoria Transport Policy Institute has the online Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Encyclopedia, which includes a section on parking and land use management.
  3. A local TDM program may work with employers to provide commute options (see examples in Montgomery County, MD, and Santa Monica, CA), or work with developers to design and implement projects that will enhance the mobility of tenants and visitors (see example in Arlington County, VA).
  4. LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) is a rating system that promotes bicycling and walking by prioritizing development density and network connectivity.
  5. The National Complete Streets Coalition provides model language for Complete Streets policies.
  6. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides School Siting Guidelines that are designed to inform and improve the school siting decision-making process.