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What Do Mobility Options Say About Your Community?

As a country, how we design our mobility systems clearly demonstrates who we are prioritizing in our communities.

Heidi Simon
October 13, 2022

Mobility safety is about more than just getting from one place to another without losing your life. It is at the core of a community, informing how it and its members not only move but also grow, change and adapt. As stakeholders in mobility safety, we need to consider how our efforts inform not just safe mobility as a form of movement but also safe mobility as a way of community design. In the first session of Countersteer, Jessie Singer challenged the attendees to consider how our mobility systems, founded on decades of decision making, force our hand in the ways Americans are able to move. Now I will dive into how these systems not only inform how people move, but who makes up these communities.

There are obvious ways in which mobility informs community design. Bike lanes, colorful crosswalks and wayfinding all lend themselves to how we engage with a place. But less obvious ways are just as powerful. Are kids able to walk and bike to school? Are families gathered in public parks? Can needs be met by readily available community services? As a country, how we design our mobility systems clearly demonstrates who we are prioritizing in our communities. In addressing traffic safety, it is critical to prioritize everyone, not only in the traditional sense of safety improvements, but in the ways contributing to the identity of a place and how that makes people feel.

Join NSC in December as the Council hosts Peter Norton and Shin-pei Tsay to explore how traffic safety has informed community design in the past and how to leverage the relationship between place and mobility to create the future we want to see. As stakeholders in mobility safety, we will challenge ourselves to think of the role we have to play not only in creating safer streets but also in creating vibrant communities where all people are active, healthy and engaged. To make the most of this session, NSC encourages you to:

● Register for this session in December; come ready with an open mind to be part of a respectful and productive dialogue
● Help shape the conversation; submit your ideas or questions you’d like to see addressed in the session
● New to Countersteer? Check out the first session with author Jessie Singer

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Heidi Simon

Heidi Simon is senior program manager III, mobility safety strategy, at the National Safety Council.

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