Getting Started

The STEP-UC (Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian for Underserved Communities) initiative, has developed a model to engage historically underserved communities and empower them to advocate for their pedestrian facility needs, ultimately resulting in improved infrastructure and pedestrian safety. This model is anchored around a community workaround in which the community, aided by a team of experts in pedestrian and traffic safety and community engagement, walks and identifies the condition of their pedestrian infrastructure. This effort is led by the Alabama Transportation Assistance Program at Auburn University, and the Fifty Fund, a local nonprofit focused on making communities safer. The STEP-UC team also included participation from ALDOT and FHWA. This initiative was developed and refined in Troy using the innovative street beating approach to community engagement led by The Fifty Fund. This effort resulted in several documents, included on this page, for other communities to use.

Have you ever wanted to change conditions for pedestrians in your community? Maybe you work for a road-owning agency and want to improve civic outreach. Or perhaps you’re an advocate for safer communities and want to work toward improvements. If so, this program is for you.

STEP-UC is an initiative whose purpose is to develop, demonstrate, and apply a model that engages historically underserved communities and empowers them to advocate for their pedestrian facility needs, ultimately resulting in improved infrastructure and pedestrian safety. This approach builds participation from the ground up in assembling a community-based team that identifies pedestrian facility needs and makes recommendations to address those needs. The intended result is a report that documents the walkaround and improvement recommendations that can then be presented to the local government with a request for a timeline for implementing the improvements.

Pedestrian deaths increased by 51% in the U.S. from 2009 to 2019, while traffic-related fatalities across all types increased by only 7% during the same period. Pedestrian fatalities and injuries are over-represented among low-income communities and neighborhoods in which people of color comprise a substantial share of the population.

A suite of documents serves as the basis for communities interested in applying the STEP-UC model in their communities. Key documents include The Engagement Guide, which explains the process and narrates the model, and The Walkaround Guide, which can be used in the field as the team evaluates the existing pedestrian infrastructure. Examples of these guides and the resulting recommendations report for two historically underserved neighborhoods in Troy, Alabama, where the STEP-UC model was developed and refined, are presented. Several related videos that discuss pedestrian facilities as well as document the efforts of the STEP-UC team in Troy, Alabama, are also available.

The STEP-UC model and resulting resource documents and videos were developed by the Alabama Transportation Assistance Program (ATAP) at Auburn University in conjunction with The Fifty Fund. ATAP is leading an effort to work with underserved communities to identify pedestrian facility improvement needs that will lead to safer walking environments.

ATAP’s mission is to provide training and technical assistance to local governments. ATAP has resident expertise in the design and safety effects of pedestrian facilities and can serve as a source of leadership and technical assistance, particularly for smaller municipalities that may not have the necessary background in transportation planning and pedestrian safety to lead the effort. The Fifty Fund (TFF) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission includes making communities safer. TFF brings an innovative, street-beating approach to civic engagement that has yielded the active participation of community leaders and local elected officials.

Click here to download a pdf for Getting Started.

Walk to School Day Program

Walk to School Day gives children, parents, school teachers, and community leaders an opportunity to teach and promote safe walking practices, and the healthy benefits of walking, and identify safety deficiencies. This event is celebrated worldwide. October is International Walk to School Month.