GirlTrek Multi-City Walkability Assessments (2017)

Project Description

GirlTrek (GT), co-founded by T. Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison in 2012, is a civil-rights inspired health movement inspiring African-American women to adopt a daily habit of walking as a way both to practice self-care and to reclaim their neighborhoods. In the spring of 2017, GirlTrek adopted the Our Voice approach in 8 different U.S. cities. Check out this blogpost referencing the GirlTrek-Our Voice project in Houston, Texas. 


To assess walkability and advance healthy community-level change by engaging residents as citizen scientists.


  • National Environmental Education Foundation
  • Safe Routes to School National Partnership


Process Outcomes

  • 9 leaders from 8 cities trained in the Our Voice Discovery Tool app (Pilot Cities: Baltimore, Detroit, Denver, New Orleans, Houston, Philadelphia, St.Paul, Ferguson)
  • 9 leaders rallied and trained 57 community representatives on Our Voice Discovery Tool app (including council representatives, county commissioners, walk/bike community leaders, transportation managers, pastor/church members, neighborhood associate members, teachers/administrators, police commanders, and of course GirlTrek team members!)
  • 11 walkability audits completed during the 2017 walking season using the Our Voice Discovery Tool App
  • 230 photos were analyzed to assess neighborhood features that increase walkability such as sidewalk connectivity, access to healthy foods and drinking water, and crosswalk signal

Community Changes

  • Increased the time from 20 seconds to 40 seconds in a crosswalk in Ferguson, MO
  • Sidewalks repaved around an elementary school in Houston, TX
  • Hosted safety fairs with insurance companies and local fire departments in New Orleans, LA
  • Planned walkability demonstration projects in St. Paul, MN
  • In Philadelphia, increased awareness of both positive aspects of local pedestrian infrastructure (e.g., signage at street crossings) and infrastructure features that merited further attention (e.g., uneven or damaged sidewalks) to support walkability
  • Replanted and seeded community gardens in New Orleans and Baltimore  

Ripple Effects

Learn more about the ripple effects from this project through Montbello Walks and Q&A with Pam Jiner.

Our Voice Impact

"This experience has changed my life.  I see inadequacies everywhere I go as it relates to pedestrian access and safety.  I even stop [at] construction sites to remind them to be considerate of the handicapped in our community.  Thank you all so much for this awareness and empowerment to require change."

~ Pam Jiner, GirlTrek Advocacy Leader, Denver CO