National Center for Bicycling and Walking


About the Organization:

The NCBW (BFA) is a national, not-for-profit organization working with people in communities to make America more bicycle friendly and walkable. Their resource center provides updates, information and resources for bicycle and pedestrian practitioners, related professionals, and citizen advocates.

In September, 1999, the Bicycle Federation of America, Inc. was awarded a grant by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to support a clearinghouse and resource center on increasing physical activity. The project — part of the BFA’s National Center for Bicycling and Walking program — is intended to help public health agencies, organizations, and practitioners promote actions that create more physically active (i.e., bicycle-friendly and walkable!) communities. Physical inactivity and obesity are recognized as major health risk factors.

Beginning in 1996, the BFA has been meeting with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health advocates to better define the relationship between physical activity/public health and transportation/land-use planning. According to BFA executive director Bill Wilkinson, “It became clear that there was a great opportunity for cooperative efforts among transportation reform, smart growth, open-space, environment, and public health agencies and advocates. What the public health folks need is background on the issues, easy access to ‘tools’ and technical assistance, and introductions to the other players. We realized that we had all of these resources as well as a good working knowledge of public health agencies and programs, so we submitted a proposal to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and they agreed to fund the project.”

The stated objectives for the project include:

§ To increase the public health community’s awareness of and support for policy and environmental interventions to promote physical activity, specifically, to improve conditions for bicycling and walking.

§ To promote a broad-based strategic approach to making communities more bicycle-friendly and walkable.

§ To foster cooperative activities among public health practitioners, livable community advocates, and transportation and planning agencies and professionals.

§ To provide public health agencies and professionals with access to information, “tools,” technical assistance, training, and networking related to creating physically-active communities.

§ To support the development of coalitions and networking at the national, state, and local levels to promote the changes needed to create more physically active communities.

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