Age-Friendly Walking

Age-Friendly Walking

“We believe that if everything we do in our cities is great for an 8 year old and an 80 year old, then it will be great for all people.” – 8 80 Movement


If you are interested in bringing Age-Friendly Walking to your community, contact age-friendly@walkboston.org

For ideas on how to get started on this work in your community, read more here:

One page summary handout:
Greatest Hits for Age-Friendly Walking Handout

Detailed handouts:
Age Friendly Infrastructure Improvements guidance document
Age Friendly Walking Municipal Policies guidance document


Age-Friendly Walking is an emerging framework to increase pedestrian safety for children and older adults. As elderly populations continue to grow across the state and country, the need for walkable communities increases. Many seniors living on fixed incomes cannot afford private cars and others stop driving as they continue to age. Walkability is thus key to ensuring that seniors can age in place, maintain good physical, cognitive and mental health, access important goods and services, remain socially and civically active, and maintain physical and economic mobility. Working with low-income seniors and seniors of color has helped us incorporate equity into this work. We have learned that Age-Friendly Walking is a powerful frame to bring diverse stakeholders and new partners to the table.

Current Work

With financial support from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation (THPF) and the Massachusetts Councils on Aging (MCOA), we are working from 2019-2021 to implement local policy and built environment changes that advance safe, comfortable and accessible walking for seniors (and by extension everyone) in at least five Massachusetts communities, with a focus on high-need Gateway Cities and rural areas. We are also collaborating with the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative (where we serve on the Executive Committee) and other leaders across the state to promote walking and walkability as core elements of the Age- and Dementia-Friendly Communities movement. We have already embedded a recommendation to improve access to bus stops in the Governor’s Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts Blueprint and we look forward to continued progress on statewide policy issues.

Our current statewide work builds off a successful 2016-2018 Age-Friendly Walking partnership with the City of Boston’s Age-Strong Commission (formerly the Elderly Commission), as well as other City agencies and community partners. This work, which was also supported by THPF and MCOA, resulted in the implementation of pedestrian safety improvements in several Boston neighborhoods in partnership with local seniors. We also embedded an action item about pedestrian safety and Vision Zero in the 2017 Age-Friendly Boston Action Plan, which named WalkBoston as a key implementation partner. Finally, we secured $90,000 in the City budget for a citywide bench program in fiscal year 2018-2019. We look forward to our continued partnership with the Age-Strong Commission, the Public Works Department, and other partners to install up to 45 benches, providing seniors and Bostonians of all ages with places to rest and to enjoy our public spaces.

Our more recent work further builds on previous collaborations with Brookline, Fall River, Weymouth, Belchertown, Williamsburg and Gloucester, where we worked with seniors and municipal staff to improve walking safety and accessibility, and to secure built environment changes on the ground. The senior-focused walking conditions that we work to improve include smoother sidewalks, safe access to bus stops, longer WALK times on traffic signals, and better access to shade, benches and public restrooms. These are often determining factors for seniors to feel safe and secure walking in their communities. When these issues are addressed, streets and sidewalks become more welcoming and accessible places for people of all ages.

See recent Age-Friendly posts