Press Release: BikeWalkKC announces new project to address structural racism in traffic infrastructure

CONTACT: Amy Scrivner
Director of Development and Communications

BikeWalkKC is pleased to announce our selection as a grantee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Using Local Data to Address Structural Racism grant program. RWJF, in partnership with the Urban Institute (Urban), awarded 38 grants nationally to help communities use data to improve community conditions that have been shaped by structural racism through projects focused on housing, transportation, environmental conditions, community safety and policing, and other areas.

For more than 80 years, local leaders in Kansas City, Missouri, made purposeful policy decisions to shift resources, development, and investments from communities of color. This historical disinvestment has created disparities in individual and community health and public safety. In Kansas City, there is a demonstrated relationship between traffic infrastructure, demographic characteristics, and rate of serious injury or death from traffic violence. Since 2010, BikeWalkKC has led community engagement, advocacy, and public policy reforms that center the voices and lived experiences of the region’s residents who are most vulnerable to traffic violence.

This project seeks to understand (1) the relationship of traffic-related injuries and death to the built environment and infrastructure in historically marginalized neighborhoods, (2) if infrastructure investments are equitably distributed, and (3) how existing conditions reflect the outcomes of previous policy decisions. BikeWalkKC will collect data on infrastructure conditions, traffic crashes, injuries and mortalities, neighborhood demographics, and social determinants of health to understand the intersection between infrastructure investments, road safety, and equity in the city. Staff will also use in-person engagement and interviews to understand how dangerous traffic infrastructure impacts Kansas City communities. This data will be used to build out a community safety dashboard, create a set of policy and investment recommendations, and publish a city-wide traffic-injury risk profile. These will be shared at community meetings and through other presentations.

BikeWalkKC will use these data and resources to advocate for prioritizing community infrastructure investments with Kansas City councilmembers. They will also assist residents with requests to the Kansas City Public Improvements Advisory Committee, which makes annual funding recommendations for community-identified capital and infrastructure projects.

RWJF is committed to building a Culture of Health where everyone in America has a fair and just opportunity to live the healthiest life possible. Urban will provide the grantees with technical assistance and peer learning opportunities, as well as document insights for the broader field. What BikeWalkKC accomplishes with this grant will demonstrate techniques and strategies that people across the United States can learn from and adapt to address inequities in their own communities.

About BikeWalkKC

BikeWalkKC's mission is to redefine our streets as places for people to build a culture of active living. We envision an abundant future for Kansas Citians, and we advocate for public policy, provide community planning services, and deliver walking and biking education to make walking and biking the easy choices. 

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is the nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated solely to health. Since 1972, RWJF has supported research and programs to uncover the many factors that impact health and enable people and communities to be as healthy as possible. Working alongside public health leaders, entrepreneurs, research scientists, policymakers, and community leaders, the Foundation is committed to ensuring that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to achieve better health where we live, learn, work, and play. 

About the Urban Institute

The Urban Institute is a nonprofit research organization that provides data and evidence to help advance upward mobility and equity. It is a trusted source for changemakers who seek to strengthen decisionmaking, create inclusive economic growth, and improve the well-being of families and communities. For more than 50 years, Urban has delivered facts that inspire solutions.

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