Walk Audit Academy (Worcester)

Walk Audit Academy (Worcester)

We embarked on a new project that built on our virtual walk audit process and expanded our digital training opportunities: The goal of the “Walk Audit Academy” video series was to help people feel comfortable enough to perform their own walk audit, and to expand the number of people that we can reach. Karin Valentine Goins and the UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center (PRC) sees the video series as a way to create a sustainable training model based on the Capabilities for Public Health Agency Involvement in Land Use and Transportation Decision Making that PRC created through the CDC’s Physical Activity Policy Research Network (PAPRN) and the National Cancer Institute’s Speeding Research tested INTerventions (SPRINT) program.

In the “Walk Audit Academy” video series, we describe what goes into performing a walk audit and things to consider when planning a walk audit in a community. Modules in the series cover preparing for, conducting, and distilling results of a walk audit. The small, bite-sized videos are also less intimidating than one long video, and relevant segments can be shared on social media or for different audiences.

WalkBoston staff members lent their talents in front of the camera to share what goes into putting together a walk audit: including looking at crash data, creating a route, and what to remember to include on an invitation.

In November 2022, we piloted it with a cohort of volunteers in Worcester to train community leaders on how to lead walk audits and implement change, in a ‘flipped classroom’ style. People were able to learn at their own pace with the short videos and supporting materials. The five groups created their own routes, invited participants, and led their own walk audits. We offered sessions on Zoom for group feedback and discussion as well as drop in Zoom ‘office hours’ throughout the month of November to answer questions.

In January, we gathered again, and this time it was in person at the Worcester Senior Center! The participants gave an overview of each of their groups, where they led their walk audit in the city, and the findings and recommendations that came out of it. Some groups shared slides, others photos, and one group even put together a short video of their own with amateur drone footage from their walk audit.

There was a great energy in the room that night, and a real sense that something special is happening in Worcester right now. As we reflected on the evening, we realized that we were able to help teach 5x the amount of people compared to a traditional walk audit through this process. We look forward to rolling it out further in the coming months.

Comments are closed.