Windshield Survey Guidelines for the Community The Windshield Survey is a data collection method used in assessing a community.

Windshield Survey Guidelines for the Community

The Windshield Survey is a data collection method used in assessing a community. Complete the Windshield Survey by driving through the neighborhood of the community. This is your observation. You are to observe as you drive around the area.

SAFETY FIRST: Your safety is your most important priority. Students are advised to have a driver who is to attend to driving and not the data collection.

Name of Community:  

The following categories of information may assist you in your gathering of data and getting to know your selected community: 






Boundaries (be specific): 

Name & Nickname of area; size of community; what defines the boundary (roads, water, railroad)? 

General condition of the area:

Is the area well-kept? Is there trash, abandoned cars or houses?

What kind of signs are in the area?

Housing and zoning: 

Age of houses, materials used in construction of buildings; space between homes/open space, is open space safe/attractive?

Signs of decay?


Where do people congregate? What hours of the day? Are there many people outside in the neighborhood? Homeless people? 


How do people get from one place to another? Is public transportation available, reliable? What kind is available? Personal autos? Bikes? Others?

Social Service Centers:

Evidence of recreation centers, parks. Law enforcement agencies?

Animals: Do you see animals? Are they loose or on leashes/contained? Are there Veterinarians or animal shelters available?


Where do residents shop? Where are sources of fresh produce? How do they get to the stores?

Food desert?

Race and Ethnicity: 

What language is used on the signs?

What race of people live there? Do multi-racial/ethnic groups live there? Describe the ethnic food stores or restaurants.


What indications to you see about the types of religion residents practice?

Health Indicators:

Clinics? Hospitals, mental health agencies? Pharmacies? Dentists? Others?

Politics: What indicators do you see about politics? Posters, signs?


Do you see indicators of what people read? If they watch television? Listen to radio? Social Media?

Business and Industry:

Do you see manufacturing, industry, large employers? Small business owners? Retail? Military installation? Do people have to see employment elsewhere?

Adapted from Mizrahi TM: School of Social Work, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, September 1992; Stanhope MS, Knollmueller RN: Public and community health nurse’s consultant: a health promotion guide. St. Louis, 1997, Mosby. In Stanhope, M, and Lancaster, J. Foundations of Nursing in the Community, Community-Oriented Practice, 2014, Elsevier.