A new report out from the Safe Routes Partnership and the YMCA of the USA, Making Strides: 2020 State Report Cards on Support for Walking, Bicycling, and Active Kids and Communities, analyzes state policy in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia to provide a snapshot of each state’s support for walking, biking, and physical activity. The report cards were generated by evaluating each state across a total of 28 indicator areas spanning four core topic areas: Complete Streets and Active Transportation Policy and Planning; Federal and State Active Transportation Funding; Safe Routes to School Funding and Supportive Practices; and Active Neighborhoods and Schools. In each of these topic areas, states have the opportunity to play a significant role—through policies, funding, and other support—in increasing the number of youth and adults walking, bicycling, and being physically active.
Used in conjunction with the state report cards developed in 2016 and 2018, they allow us to see where progress has been made, where each state is doing well, and where there continue to be opportunities for improvement. The 2020 report cards add some additional areas of coverage to the 2018 edition, including a new subtopic focused on state funding of active transportation, and additional considerations for Safe Routes to School supportive practices.
The findings show that while states are continuing to take important steps, more needs to be done. In comparison to 2016 and 2018, there has been a slight downward shift in overall scores with 13 states falling into the lowest category, Lacing Up; the vast majority of states falling into the next category, Warming Up; 11 states in the Making Strides category; and only two states in the highest category, Building Speed. The overall average score across the 50 states and DC also shifted downward from 2018 to 2020. Part of this downward trend may be attributed to assessing new and different indicators.
States can play a significant role in each of these areas to help increase the number of youth and adults walking, bicycling, and being physically active. Advocates and practitioners can use these report cards to help make the case for increased funding and support for programs that improve health and well-being for our communities.
For a deeper dive into the state report cards and more information about how to use your state’s report card to inspire change, access the full report here.