Monday, June 3, 2013

Safe Routes to Health, Part 3: Small Nag, Positive Change

If you're looking for a way to change the world that doesn't take a whole lot of effort and is reasonably likely to get results, check out the "directions" or "how to get here" page on the website of your favorite organization. Chances are, even if the organization is a bike shop or a non-profit devoted to combating climate change, the website will give detailed directions for people who drive cars, but will not offer any useful information for people who ride bicycles, use public transit, walk or use wheelchairs.

The webmaster for your favorite organization - most likely a young person who may not even have a driver's license - will respond quickly and positively to your suggestion to post more inclusive, less car-centric directions.

I've done this kind of nagging for years, but I never thought to save examples of how the websites looked before the update.  Thanks to my friend and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways organizer Cathy Tuttle, I can now show "before" and "after" screenshots illustrating her successful nag.

Cathy checked the website of the UW School of Public Health, an institution that has been a leader in promoting active transportation as an essential contributor to individual and collective health.  Here's the screenshot she saved of the "before" directions page:

Note many paragraphs of turn-by-turn directions and detailed parking instructions for drivers coming from every imaginable location - and not a word about buses or bikes.

Now here's the "after" directions page (this is a screen shot; visit the actual page here):

Here's a detail shot of the walking and cycling information.  In the live page, the underlined links lead to further specifics about walking and biking around the UW.

And here's a detail shot of the transit information.  Again, the links lead to further specifics about bus routes and schedules.

What happened to all those paragraphs of driving directions?  Gone - now there's just an invitation for people to figure out their own driving directions following a link; and you have to scroll through all the walking, biking and transit information to find this:


Very positive change from a small nag!