University of Iowa

Active Transportation Plan - Blue Zones Project™

Graduate students in the School of Urban and Regional Planning conducted a project that aided Sioux City in fulfilling its recently-designated Blue Zones ProjectTM requirement of developing an active transportation plan. Sioux City was a recently-designated Blue Zones ProjectTM demonstration site, and had the goal of becoming a designated Blue Zones Community within the two years following the initial designation. The Blue Zones ProjectTM is a community well-being improvement initiative that works to make it easier for members of the public to lead healthy lifestyles through encouraging permanent changes to community environments, policies, and social networks. One of the requirements of being designated a Blue Zones Community is to develop an active transportation plan. An active transportation plan is multi-faceted, and includes elements such as a bicycle and pedestrian master plan, a Complete Streets program, a Rails-to-Trails program, and a Safe Routes to Schools program, among others. Students in the School of Urban and Regional Planning were tasked with creating two parts of the active transportation plan: a bicycle master plan and pedestrian master plan. Their recommendations are structured around five E's: engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation. The recommendations address reducing and overcoming existing barriers to bicycle and pedestrian transportation, providing safe and accessible connections between existing bike and pedestrian networks, and encouraging community participation.