An audit is an unbiased examination/evaluation of the walking and biking environment. The general purpose of an audit is to identify concerns for pedestrians and bicyclists related to the safety, access, comfort, and convenience of the environment. In addition to identifying problem areas, an audit can be used to identify potential alternatives or solutions (such as engineering treatments, policy changes, or education and enforcement measures). Audits can be performed before, during, or after the construction of a project.
Audits involve a review of all the data for a location or travel corridor analyzed by a multi-disciplinary team independent of the site or project being audited. Informal audits can be performed by any individual or community group. More formal audits (i.e., those that follow a standardized set of audit procedures) can also be conducted; these are usually performed by a multidisciplinary team of trained professionals, including engineers, planners, transportation researchers, pedestrian and bicycle specialists, and others. A multi-disciplinary team will often allow a fresh look at traffic conditions at a location or along a corridor.
The Federal Highway Administration’s Road Safety Audit (RSA) Guidelines and Prompt Lists can be used to assess the safety of bicycle or pedestrian facilities:
- Bicycle RSA Guidelines and Prompt Lists (2012)
- Pedestrian RSA Guidelines and Prompt Lists (PDF) (2007)
Other audits and checklists include:
- CDC Worksite Walkability Audit Tool — Instrument developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to assess the walkability surrounding a workplace.
- AARP Sidewalks and Streets Survey — Adapted from PBIC’s Walkability Checklist and focusing on older pedestrians, this toolkit is designed so that communities can make walking safer by teaching small groups to take simple “walkability” surveys and to take recommended actions for community improvements.
- Toolkit for the Assessment of Bus Stop Accessibility and Safety — Tool developed by Easter Seals Project Action to evaluate pedestrian access features and connections, assess passenger comfort amenities, evaluate safety and security features, and document information features.
- Universal Design Audit Checklist — Tool developed by the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access to assess the design of a facility for universal access.
Active Living Research hosts a number of resources related to walking audits, including:
- Active Neighborhood Checklist
- Analytic Audit Tool and Checklist Audit Tool
- Systematic Pedestrian and Cycling Environmental Scan (SPACES) Instrument
- Measurement Instrument for Urban Design Quantities Related to Walkability
- Physical Activity Resource Assessment (PARA) Instrument
- Pedestrian Environment Data Scan (PEDS) Tool
- Path Environment Audit Tool (PEAT)
- Rural Active Living Assessment (RALA) Tools