Introduction

About Walk [Your City]

We help communities make street signs for people: campaigns of pedestrian and bike signage that show the distance, in minutes, to everyday amenities. These campaigns encourage more active transportation choices, making communities healthier, safer, and more vibrant.

Walk [Your City] grew out of a simple question: why don’t people walk more? Given that half of all trips taken in the US are less than three miles, there’s plenty of opportunity for folks to walk or bike (rather than drive) to reach useful destinations nearby. When we began to ask this question in our community, we learned that the perception of distance was often greater than the physical distance itself. Clear, simple signage, reminding our neighbors that “it’s not too far” to places they visit every day, is one way to break down that misperception and get more feet on the street.

We help communities make street signs for people: campaigns of pedestrian and bike signage that show the distance, in minutes, to everyday amenities. These campaigns encourage more active transportation choices, making communities healthier, safer, and more vibrant.

WYC campaigns can:

  • encourage trip-swapping to decrease vehicle use;
  • support local businesses and commercial districts;
  • boost social connection and “eyes on the street”;
  • act as a behavioral nudge to make healthier transportation choices;
  • show a community’s commitment to walking and biking;
  • kickstart bigger conversations around walkability.

WYC’s impact doesn’t stop at street signs: we encourage you to treat your campaign as a gateway to deeper civic engagement and future experimentation with innovative tactical urbanist projects.

History

27 signs started a movement.

Walk [Your City] started as WalkRaleigh: 27 plastic directional signs installed on downtown Raleigh, NC, street corners in January 2012. The city had rapidly grown and densified over the last decade, but we had observed that people still weren’t walking. When we asked why not, we heard a common answer: “It’s too far!” Inspired by other participatory, community-based design projects worldwide, we used WalkRaleigh to start a conversation and shift public perception by providing additional human-scale signage, streetside. Posted informally, these signs were professionally made, quick-to-install, and lightweight. After a successful community petition and formal pilot project, WalkRaleigh was ultimately written into the city’s Comprehensive Pedestrian Plan. After seeing our international press coverage (from outlets including BBC News, Huffington Post, NPR, and the Washington Post), other communities reached out from around the globe, wanting to replicate the project. With some support from Kickstarter backers, Walk [Your City] was born.

Process

WYC helps communities increase their walkability by combining educational pedestrian signage with web-based campaign management and data collection, accessible to both citizens and city staff.

Our toolkit includes all of the tips and tools needed for a successful campaign, based on what we’ve learned from working with communities of all sizes. With the included Campaign Builder, users plan, design, manage, and order pedestrian signage, which builds street-level guidance into the signs via QR codes; they can also check back in post-install for mapping, feedback, and analytics.

The WYC Process: what to expect

Campaign prep:Develop a vision for your campaign and determine the steps (and team members!) you’ll need to achieve your goals.

Campaign planning:Gather and organize the information underlying your campaign: origins, destinations, and the connections between the two.

Campaign Builder:Turn the information you’ve collected into a physical campaign, using our tech tools.

Campaign implementation:Get ready for your campaign kick-off! Learn how to plan for and promote your installation event.

WYC signage has been carefully designed for legibility and ease of use. Each coroplast sign includes conversational large font text, an arrow, QR code, URL address, and a background color identifying which type of destination it highlights.

Anatomy of a sign

1. What type of place is it?We use color-coding to visually distinguish different types of destinations and organize campaigns: purple signs for commercial locations, green for parks and open spaces, blue for civic and institutional destinations, yellow for leisure activities, and pink for transit. You can also create a custom color for your signs, or make a group of signs the same color for a specific event or trail.

2. How long will it take?WYC signs use minutes, a human-scaled measurement, as opposed to miles. We advise against using distances over 20 minutes on a sign: if a must-see destination is more than 20 minutes away, you can switch to our “bike mode”!

3. Where am I going?We recommend keeping text clear, but conversational; consider referencing a feature or activity at that location, as opposed to providing its proper name. Avoid subjective language (such as “great” or “beautiful”), and don’t use the proper names for commer- cial destinations.

4. How do I get there?Scan the QR code with a smartphone for step-by-step directions, a route map, and an “info tab” that can be customized by the sign creator with text, photos, and links.

5. Which way is it?Pay close attention to arrow direction! It will vary based on where exactly you install the sign, and which direction the sign is facing.

6. Who supports this campaign?Got a sponsor or project partner you’d like to call out? For $5 extra per sign, their logo can be printed right here! It will also appear when the sign is scanned and on the cam- paign’s public page.