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Also highlighted are safety risks and offers recommendations for improving safety

Santa Clara County, CA: A report released February 15th shows the connection between walking and health, environmental, and community benefits. The Walking for a Healthier Santa Clara County report, released by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department and Traffic Safe Communities Network, also highlights the county’s most vulnerable pedestrians, locations of concern, and recommendations for improving walkability and safety. 

Key findings include: fifty percent of residents walk for reasons other than work such as to commute, shop or exercise; in a ten year period (2004-2013), the rate of pedestrian-involved motor vehicle crashes decreased slightly from 32.8 to 27.9 per 100,000 population; seniors have the highest pedestrian fatality rate; distractions and the aging population pose challenges for traffic safety professionals. Report data were obtained from local and national surveys, emergency department and trauma center reports, and a statewide database of police reports. 

Walking is the easiest and most affordable way to be physically active, and its benefits are well documented. Walking can help maintain a healthy weight, reduce risks of chronic disease, and support healthy aging,said Santa Clara County’s Health Officer and Public Health Director, Dr. Sara Cody. 

City-specific pedestrian collision maps are available in the report, as are recommendations to improve walkability and safety in key areas, called theE’s”: equity, education, engineering, enforcement, evaluation, engagement, and encouragement. For example, it recommends:

  • Using data and community engagement to prioritize planning and improve social equity;
  • Designing infrastructure that is comfortable for all ages and abilities;
  • Establishing educational programs that complement enforcement efforts;
  • Encouraging and supporting walking programs in schools, community settings, and worksites.

Local efforts to create walkable communities mirror those occurring across the country and strive to make walking a safe transportation and recreation alternative for all residents,” says County Supervisor Mike Wasserman. 

The Traffic Safe Communities Network is a community collaborative of health professionals, law enforcement officers, injury prevention specialists, elected officials, engineers, planners, advocates, and others. To access the report visit