Happy Walktober! Going for a walk might be an easy way to get physical activity, yet not everyone has access to safe and comfortable places to walk. Sidewalks might be crumbling, narrow, or nonexistent. The safe way across a busy street might result in a frustrating 500m detour. Or perhaps you’ve experienced a scary near miss with a vehicle or have recently tripped and fallen. All these experiences factor into our decision to walk and may be barriers to walking, especially for people who have limited mobility.
A new crowdsourced website is hoping to change that. WalkRollMap.org has recently been developed by researchers at the University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University, and Memorial University with funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada. Crowdsourcing offers a way to fill in the data gaps left by traditional sources such as police reports or insurance claims. Building upon their experience with BikeMaps.org, the team led by Dr. Trisalyn Nelson has created WalkRollMap.org to gather reports of barriers to safe, comfortable walking or rolling on sidewalks and pathways. Website users can map three different types of reports: 1) Hazards or Concerns; 2) Missing Amenity; or 3) an Incident (collision, fall, or near miss). It’s easy! Just drop a location pin and respond to a short series of questions.
Participation is anonymous, but demographic details such as year of birth, gender, and ethnicity are collected to better understand who the project has reached. Data collected by WalkRollMap.org will be shared with municipalities and advocacy groups to help improve the pedestrian environment. Have something to report from your walk? Simply go to WalkRollMap.org through your browser on any device. (Any issues experienced while bicycling should continue to be reported on BikeMaps.org.)
For More information, please contact WalkRollMap.org Project Manager, Karen Laberee: firstname.lastname@example.org