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Walkability Action Institute

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Walkability Action Institute 


NACDD believes all states and communities should be designed to support physical activity and non-motorized forms of transportation so that people can have the policy, system, and environmental (PSE) supports needed to engage in active lifestyles, whether recreationally or through essential daily functions like commuting to and from work, to community destinations, and/or places of interest (community events, schools, shopping, etc.). 

This vision would yield access and opportunity for active living through multiple community sectors, and could reduce the behavior of physical inactivity over the long-term, which is a main risk factor for chronic diseases and leading causes of death and debilitation like heart disease, stroke, hypertension, obesity, and type II diabetes. 


NACDD realizes that making states and communities more walkable is not just a public health problem; it involves public health counterparts including transportation, planning, education, elected officials, economic development, housing, transit, parks and recreation, and a variety of advocacy groups. 


To this end, NACDD collaborates and receives financial support from the CDC Division of Nutrition Physical Activity and Obesity (DNPAO) to plan, implement, and evaluate a Walkability Action Institute (WAI) as a multi-day “course” for interdisciplinary teams. Each year, interdisciplinary four-to-six-member teams, comprised of public health, transportation, planning, elected officials, and other disciplines apply to receive travel assistance to attend the course, develop team action plans, and implement PSE outcomes to make their communities, regions, and states more walkable over the long term. The course combines traditional learning methods with robust  activities and outdoor learning. NACDD tracks the outcomes achieved by alumni teams semi-annually and convenes ongoing Walkability Community of Practice groups bi-monthly.


Project Partners and Course Steering Committee Members

NACDD is proud to collaborate with the following project partners, organizations and/or Course Steering Committee members:

  1. Active Living By Design (Phil Bors)
  2. America Walks (Ian Thomas)
  3. CDC Division of Nutrition Physical Activity and Obesity (Chris Kochtitzky, Margo Younger)
  4. Mark Fenton
  5. National Physical Activity Society (Pam Eidson) 


Project Participants


To date, NACDD implemented the WAI to a total of 41 interdisciplinary teams across four cohort years. Different from the inaugural year’s focus on interdisciplinary state level teams, the focus for Years 2, 3, and 4 was interdisciplinary regional teams through the metropolitan planning organization (MPO), or regional equivalent. Below is the full list of NACDD WAI teams:


Year 5 (2019):

NACDD, with support and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity is now seeking team applications from cross-disciplinary Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) regions (or other similar regional entities) for competitive funding assistance to support attendance at the Fifth Annual Walkability Action Institute, formally titled as "Step It Up!: Action Institute to Increase Walking and Walkability."

The RFA application period will take place for the time period of Monday, October 29, 2018 - Friday, December 14, 2018. The RFA, RFA Application Form, corresponding RFA Appendices, and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) List can be accessed below:

Walkability Action Institute RFA
RFA Application Form
RFA Appendix A
RFA Appendix B
RFA Appendix C
RFA Appendix D
RFA Appendix E
RFA Appendix F
FAQ List

For questions about this RFA application process, please first check the FAQ questions on the FAQ List for your answer. If you do not see your question and answer in the appropriate category of the FAQ List, then you may email Karma Harris, NACDD's Walkability and Healthy Communities Project Lead at All submitted questions will be compiled and answered within two business days to the FAQ List, and then updated to the webpage.

In one email message, please scan and attach one PDF document consisting of the RFA Application Form and the required letters of commitment to Karma Harris by 11:59 pm ET on Friday, December 14th. Applications not submitted in the required format will not be reviewed and will be considered incomplete. Applications submitted after 11:59 pm ET on December 14th will not be reviewed. 


Year 4 (2018):

  1. Albuquerque, New Mexico (Mid-Region Council of Government)
  2. Allegheny County, Pennsylvania (Allegheny County Health Department)
  3. Anchorage, Alaska (Anchorage Metropolitan Area Transportation Solutions)
  4. Eau Claire, Wisconsin (Eau Claire City-County Health Department)
  5. Hidalgo County, Texas (Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council)
  6. Las Vegas, Nevada (Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada)
  7. Lawrence-Douglas County, Kansas (City of Lawrence)
  8. Richmond, Virginia (Richmond City Health District)
  9. Springfield, Missouri (Ozark Greenways)

The Year 4 WAI will take place April 9 - 12, 2018 in Decatur, Georgia. Stay tuned for course pictures and outcomes!


Year 3 (2017):

  1.  Cleveland, Tennessee (Cleveland Urban Area MPO)
  2.  Cook County, Illinois (Cook County Department of Public Health)
  3.  Corridor, Iowa (Linn County Public Health/Corridor MPO)
  4.  Duluth, Minnesota (St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services)
  5.  Flint, Michigan (Genesee County Metropolitan Planning Commission)
  6.  Mansfield, Ohio (Richland County Regional Planning Commission)
  7.  Oahu, Hawaii (Oahu MPO)
  8.  Puget Sound Region, Washington (Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department)
  9.  Rochester, New York (Genesee Transportation Council MPO)
  10.  Tulsa, Oklahoma (Indian Nations Council of Government/Tulsa Health Department)


Click here to view Outcomes from Year 3 teams!


Click here to read a blog about the 2017 WAI!


Here's what Year 3 participants said about the course:

  • "Faculty challenged us to think big and choose something hard – not necessarily the easy stuff. Do this more!!!" (Year 3 Participant)

  • "Faculty presentations and having faculty as resource ongoing was AMAZING!" (Year 3 Participant)

  • "The interactive sessions (i.e. walk audit and scavenger hunt), and the panel of projects around Atlanta were super helpful and inspiring." (Year 3 Participant)

  • "Loved the scavenger hunt and walk audit – practical application that helps me see what we are learning …" (Year 3 Participant)

  • "This was the first time (after attending these types of gatherings for 12 years) I felt the issues faced by non-choice users, LMI communities, black/brown people, and PWD were give a degree of space, time, and attention they deserve.(Year 3 Participant)

  • "The initial points of linking walking to our health, economic development, and social outcome. Very powerful. The strong challenge to use to act!" (Year 3 Participant)

  • "I would say this experience exceeded my expectations by a long way. Good work." (Year 3 Participant)

  • "It was so fun to get to know my group. Even though that happened outside the 8-5, this course definitely facilitated that." (Year 3 Participant)

  • "Thank you, thank you, thank you! Our team loved this!" (Year 3 Participant)


Year 2 (2016):

  1.  Austin, Texas (Capital Area MPO)
  2. Chattanooga, Tennessee (Chattanooga-Hamilton County/North Georgia Transportation Planning Organization)
  3.  Des Moines, Iowa (Des Moines Area MPO)
  4. Grand Island, Nebraska (Grand Island MPO)
  5.  Grand Rapids, Michigan (West Michigan MPO)
  6.  Greenville, North Carolina (Greenville Urban Area MPO)
  7.  Hartford, Connecticut (Capitol Region Council of Governments)
  8.  Holland, Michigan (Macatawa Area Coordinating Council)
  9.  Knoxville, Tennessee (Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization)
  10.  Portland, Maine (Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System)


Click here to view Outcomes from Year 2 teams!


Here's what Year 2 participants said about the course:

  • "The interactive components of the course kept you engaged in the discussed topics." (Year 2 Participant)
  • "The real life examples from local communities were very exciting (especially from Decatur)." (Year 2 Participant)
  • "Very organized process, application, and institute!" (Year 2 Participant)
  • "The hands-on experiences were amazing and the presentations fit into that perfectly." (Year 2 Participant)
  • "This was an excellent conference -- networking and real-world audits were great!" (Year 2 Participant)


Year 1 (2015):

  1.  Arkansas (State Level Team)
  2.  Colorado (State Level Team)
  3.  Indiana (State Level Team)
  4.  Michigan (State Level Team)
  5.  Minnesota (Intra-State Regional Team; Southwest Minnesota)
  6.  Montana (State Level Team)
  7.  New Hampshire (State Level Team)
  8.  Ohio (State Level Team)
  9.  Oregon (State Level Team)
  10.  Tennessee (State Level Team)
  11.  Virginia (State Level Team)
  12.  Wisconsin (Intra-State Regional Team; Fox Valley Region)


Click here to view Outcomes from Year 1 teams!


Here's what Year 1 participants said about the course:

  • "Good to hear from others and local leaders on real steps to implementation." (Year 1 Participant)
  • "Mark Fenton is a very knowledgeable and tremendous trainer." (Year 1 Participant)
  • "As a team, we are excited to bring what we learned home." (Year 1 Participant)

  • "The balance of team time with intermixing with other state teams was good." (Year 1 Participant)

  • "Great start on a new way of thinking!" (Year 1 Participant)


MAP of NACDD WAI Communities

Map of NACDD WAI Communities coming soon ...



More Resources


For more information about the CDC Division of Nutrition Physical Activity and Disability, please visit:

For more information about the CDC National Center for Environmental Health, please visit:


Contact Us

For more information about the WAI project, or for any walkability-related resources, please contact:

Karma Harris, MSPH 

National Association of Chronic Disease Directors
325 Swanton Way
Decatur, GA 30030
Hours of Operation: Mon. - Fri., 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.