Communities across Massachusetts are looking for ways to make walking and biking a safer, healthier, and more convenient way to get around. There is a growing movement toward the creation of “Complete Streets” designed to accommodate travelers of all ages, incomes, and abilities, whether they are walking, biking, riding transit, or in a car. Given the urgent need and limited funds, it is critical for municipalities to focus and prioritize their investments where they will have the biggest impacts on safety, convenience, and congestion relief.

While it is clear that investments should be made where they can benefit the greatest number of users, there are few measures of active transportation utility for any given stretch of road. As in, if this were a good place to walk or bike, would many people find it a useful route between point A and point B?

Local Access is a tool developed to help answer this question. This measure provides a robust, quantitative estimate of current or potential roadway utility for walkers and bikers. The active transportation network utility score for each segment of roadway indicates how useful that street segment is for connecting residents with schools, shops, restaurants, parks, and transit stations.