PACTS ‘Streets Safe for Walking’ conference – as it happened

06.52 | 8 November 2018 | | | 8 comments

Soundbites from the ‘Streets Safe for Walking – the way to healthy and prosperous places’ conference, organised by PACTS, which took place on 8 November.

  • Session one: Setting the context
  • Session two: Strategy and reality
  • Session three: Thinking big
  • Session four: Back to street level (panel)

15.30 – Panel – views from the streets  

  • Jeremy Leach (JL), London Campaigns Co-ordinator, 20’s Plenty for Us  
    Since 2013, Jeremy Leach has worked with campaigners across London – along with councillors, boroughs, TfL and the GLA – on the introduction of 20mph limits throughout the Capital.
  • John Dales (JD), Director, Urban Movement  
    John Dales is director of Urban Movement, a consultancy specialising in transport planning and the design of urban streets and spaces.
  • Dr Nazan Kocak (NK), Senior Research Fellow, Transport Research Institute, Edinburgh Napier University
    Having worked in academia, consultancy and local government, Nazan Kocak has in-depth knowledge of and experience in the development and delivery of transport policies and strategies.
  • Jennifer Wiles (JW), Regional Director (North), Living Streets
    Jenny currently leads a team delivering projects in schools, workplaces and communities across the north of England, develops strategic partnerships and influences policy and investment in the walking agenda.

Reflections on the day (from the panellists)

‘We must change people’s behaviour and the quality of the pedestrian environment if we are to reduce pedestrian casualties’
Andreas Markides, Chair of afternoon session

‘We have come on such a journey with regard to speed and it’s all coming to fruition now’
‘Lots of cities and towns are waiting in the wings for the Atkins report’
Jeremy Leach, 20s Plenty for Us

‘We routinely undervalue walking – this is a real challenge for us’
John Dales, Urban Movement

‘We’ve got a lot of money (in Manchester) and now we need to start building stuff…we also need to engage politicians and the wider community’
Jennifer Wiles, Living Streets

14.35 – Felicity Clayton, Team Leader, Integration & Sustainable Transport Team, Highways England

Presentation: The Road Investment Strategy – what’s in it for pedestrians?

Highways England working hard on integrating the SRN with pedestrians, cyclists etc

HE’s accessibility strategy recognises the barriers roads can create

Corporate changes – introduced a KPI to help cyclists (crossings etc), walkers & other vulnerable road users, introduced performance related pay and made policy changes

Introduced a walking, cycling and horse-riding assessment & review process

Of the 23,805 ped casualties, 153 occurred on the SRN

Why do more male ped casualties occur on the SRN than the wider road network?

We are informationally poor in terms of who is using our network

14.15 – Jolyon Carroll, Vehicle Safety and Technology Consultant, Transport Research Laboratory

With 15 years’ experience at TRL, Jolyon Carroll has contributed towards scientific projects covering a broad range of vehicle safety topics – including a study on the feasibility of measures relating to the protection of pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.

Presentation: The changing face of vehicle safety and pedestrian protection measures

1997 – Important milestone for pedestrian safety – the introduction of Euro NCAP

2003 – First European incentive for vehicle manufacturers to consider pedestrian safety

2009 – Technical regulation on ped safety & new NCAP rating system

2013 – UN regulations aligned with EU

Does it work – there has been a downward trend but this has plateaued

Vehicle design has changed the front of cars
Pedestrian safety legislation has had some influence on this
Extent is only keeping pace with exposure

We are only addressing one part of the puzzle and not very well – so what is next?

No single vehicle intervention will address the casualty population in entirety

More should be done

13.55 – Isabel Dedring, Global Transport Leader at Arup and former London Deputy Mayor for Transport

Isabel joined Arup in March 2016 from London’s City Hall, where she was deputy mayor for transport and deputy chair of Transport for London. In this capacity she was responsible for setting policy and ensuring delivery across the mayor’s transport portfolio.In her current role she is responsible for driving the development of Arup’s business across the transport sector.

Presentation: Towards a walking world – international good practice in promoting walking and its benefits

Walking is a major mode in all cities – its benefits are well understood, but we are not getting it right yet

Walking doesn’t get the funding or attention that it should – based purely on its share of movement

How to bridge the gap?


  • Large capital programmes – London cycling experience shows value in defining a large capital programme
  • Assess the impact on property values/business revenues etc
  • A burning platform – walking isn’t top of the list for decision makers. Need for a charismatic and tenacious influencer, a mobilised community and leveraging political pressure from other agendas
  • Iconic interventions – even one intervention can change mindset
  • Iconic events can reboot public perception
  • Temporary infrastructure – less controversial and expensive to put in temporary interventions
  • Flexible infrastructure – make more of what we have. ‘Zipper lane’ in San Francisco an example; more or less space for road users depending on time of day.
  • Big data. Transport modelling massively underestimates walking – big data means we can truly understand pedestrian movement for this first time.
  • Think bigger; could be covering over a motorway – or designing areas based on pedestrians
  • Co-creation with the public – how do we tap into the emotive aspects of walking?



Grassroots: how can we actively use social media? A great opportunity to tap into.

12.00 – Iain Simmons, Assistant Director (City Transportation), City of London Corporation

Iain Simmons has worked at the City of London Corporation for over 30 years and has been responsible for the transformation of the City’s transportation and street environment.

Delivering what are now called Healthy Streets, Iain has led the award winning changes to Cheapside, Holborn Circus, Aldgate, the introduction of two-way cycling and has just overseen the dramatic changes at Bank Junction.

Presentation: Promoting danger reduction, active travel and pedestrian safety, in a city centre where pedestrians are the majority

The Square Mile – 500,000 people work there, but the number of motor vehicles has halved in the last 20 years (reduction in taxi use and introduction of cycle superhighway)

The streets are dominated by people on foot and there are lots of cyclists (at rush hour there are as many cyclists as there are vehicles)

95% of KSIs in City of London are vulnerable road users

Last 2 years – an explosion of collisions involving cyclists

At the moment Vision Zero is a theoretical/professional concept not known by the general public

Looking to introduce a 15mph speed limit

Bank on Safety scheme
• To make Bank a better and safer place – through a timed closure for vehicles and a ban on taxis
• Journey times, safety & air quality all improved
• There is huge support from people who live and work in the Square Mile
• When you engage with people they own the problem and solution

Aldgate Square
• Completed July 2018
• Grass, water features, shaded areas, public toilets etc
• Highway improvements
• Designed as a performance space
• It’s about people

11.40 – Stuart Reid, Vision Zero Director, TfL

Presentation: The London mayor’s vision zero, walking strategy and healthy streets 

We believe we (TfL) have no choice but to achieve much higher levels of walking & cycling in London

Population of London expected to increase to 10m by 2030 – it is imperative that more people walk

Walking is already popular in London (24% of all trips) – but there is also potential for many more walking trips

We’ve set ambitious targets to increase walking and clear actions to deliver this (covering streets, planning, integrating with public transport & culture change)

With more walking we need to adopt a new approach to tacking road danger – fear of traffic is the main reason why people are unwilling to allow their children to walk unaccompanied

TfL’s Vision Zero action plan sets out London’s commitment to Vision Zero (part of Healthy Streets approach to encourage walking, cycling & public transport use)

Vision Zero action plan focuses on intelligence-led action to reduce road risk, and follows the Safe System approach (and directly tackles the greatest risks to pedestrian safety – safe speeds, safe streets, safe vehicles & safe behaviours)

In partnership with Met Police we are actively going after high-risk traffic offenders & increasing visibility of roads policing

A culture of acceptance of road deaths exists in society and we need the help of stakeholders to change this and create a culture change.

11.20 – Pauline Reeves, Deputy Director, Road User Licensing, Insurance and Safety (RULIS), DfT

Pauline Reeves is currently deputy director in charge of Road User Licensing Insurance and Safety at the DfT – having previously been in charge of sustainable accessible travel and delivering the prime minister’s ambition for cycling working with a wide range of stakeholders and other government departments.

Presentation: Government plans to encourage walking and improve safety for pedestrians  

DfT forms policy on the basis of evidence base and consultation

Since 2010 casualty reduction has been flatlining – and the DfT is trying to understand why – pedestrians are part of the reason behind this

In Scotland, casualties are still reducing – they are doing things differently, and DfT is looking at this – but even in Scotland there is an issue with pedestrian casualties

In 2017, 51% of primary school pupils walked to school (Gov’t target is 55% by 2025)

Jesse Norman is totally committed to the cycling and walking agenda (and is a pleasure to work with on this)

DfT running workshops looking at how to reverse the plateauing of road casualties – massive three year project, but interim report expected early in 2019

There are lots of things coming out in the coming months that will affect people who walk and cycle, and road safety as a whole.

10.20 – Caroline Wallbank, Principal Statistician, TRL

Caroline Wallbank is a chartered statistician and scientist. The work she is involved in at TRL spans a wide range of topics including road accident statistics, vehicle safety, casualty prediction modelling, the evaluation of safety interventions, autonomous vehicles and road worker safety.

Presentation: UK pedestrian safety and casualty reduction measures – overview

The number of pedestrian casualties is increasing…but so is the amount of walking that people are doing

A quarter of all pedestrian casualties are children

Alcohol impairment (by pedestrians) plays a significant role in adult pedestrian fatalities

Pedestrian injuries are most common to head and lower limbs

Britain has a good road safety record, but more could be done to reduce pedestrian casualties (compared to other European countries)

Britain has 6.8 pedestrian deaths per million of population (higher than Denmark, Sweden, Norway & Netherlands)

The number of child & older pedestrian deaths is higher than the EU average (and most individual EU countries)

Walking & cycling have a higher risk of injury compared to travelling by car (but deliver other health benefits)

Many local authorities have targets for active travel and targets for casualty reduction, but you can’t really have both – you need to balance these out

In-depth accident data analysis can help reduce casualties, as can street audits to assess the quality of pedestrian environments

We need to utilise our knowledge of what drives pedestrian behaviour (to reduce casualties) – and evaluate the success or otherwise of interventions

Older pedestrians will become a bigger challenge going forward

How will autonomous vehicles affect pedestrian behaviour in the future?

10.00 – Peter Jones, Professor of Transport and Sustainable Development, UCL

Peter Jones is professor of transport and sustainable development in the Centre for Transport Studies at University College London. He is also a member of the Independent Transport Commission, the DfT’s Science Advisory Council and co-chair of the Joint Analysis Development Group.

Presentation: Cities, land use and transport – moving to active and sustainable travel

Policy perspectives shape cites (cars, sustainable travel, cities as places)

In the 50’s and 60’s people tried to adapt cities to accommodate cars

This then levelled off – and now there is a decline in car use in cities

Quite large shifts can result from changes in policy

Busy main roads lead to pedestrian severance

Street design influences on pedestrian casualties

  • KSIs hotspots are located close to junctions, bus stops, major attractions (shopping malls, parks etc) – but not underground stations

Street crime has been largely neglected in street design – this is not on the radar of highways authorities

There is a risk of increased street crime if society becomes more polarised, and huge potential for an increase in cyber security (as a result of the introduction of autonomous vehicles)

09.40 – Matt Rodda MP, Shadow Minister for Local Transport

Matt Rodda is a former journalist and civil servant, and a current Labour party politician. He is the sitting MP for Reading East, and is shadow minister for local transport.

Presentation: Promoting walking and safety – the role of Government

Labour wants to deliver a complete cultural shift with regards to walking

Government is set to miss its walking target…because of lack of investment

Labour has pledged to increase investment in cycling & walking to £10 per head

Change starts with a clear vision of what we want to achieve

Streets must become welcome places for people to walk – places that are pleasant, safe and attractive

In places where there has been investment in walking, there are fewer empty shops

Everybody must be able to cross the road safely and without delay

Fears about road safety deter people from walking – measures to address this can lead to a 20% increase in children walking to school

Labour would adopt a vision zero approach to road safety

We pledge to reset the country’s road safety vision and aspire to zero deaths

We believe in the use of road safety targets – the number of KSIs fell by a third under the last Labour government, partly as a result of targets

We would reintroduce targets at the earliest possible opportunity

The fall in number of police officers has led to an increase in the number of road traffic offences that are not detected.

Speed reduction to 20mph has an important role to play in reducing casualties (especially among children & older people)

All the areas where 20mph limits have been introduced have seen a reduction in casualties

Labour will ensure that all our streets are safe for walking

08.00 – Introduction 

Authorities worldwide are promoting walking for health, environment, transport, sustainability, prosperity and other important objectives.

This conference will provide evidence from UK and internationally on ways to encourage walking and to deliver safe streets and places for pedestrians – to make them feel safe and to reduce casualties. It will explore transport strategies, land use patterns, urban and street design.

Pedestrian safety is a key objective in its own right and integral to delivering wider objectives, but achieving it needs understanding and specific actions.



Comment on this story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Report a reader comment

Order by Latest first | Oldest first | Highest rated | Lowest rated

    It was a disappointment for us also that Jane Robinson was not able to present the Atkins report as planned at the 20’s Plenty Oct 2nd conference.

    With now over half of the largest 40 urban authorities having implemented authority-wide default 20mph limits the report could provide a great overview of how to get the greatest benefits from 20mph limits. An analysis of how different approaches to social marketing, engagement, enforcement, signage, level of exceptions, phasing of implementations, cross-party support can all drive up effectiveness would be very beneficial.

    Rod King, Warrington
    Agree (3) | Disagree (2)

    Our one disappointment with the conference was that the Govt had not published the study of 20mph limits so Atkins were unable to give their presentation. PACTS has submitted an FoI request to expedite publication.

    David Davies, LONDON
    Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

    We were very pleased with this conference. Walking and pedestrian safety just don’t get the attention they warrant. DfT’s Pauline Reeves OBE said it the first time in over 5 years of work on this issue that she had been asked to speak specifically about pedestrian safety. Many thanks to Nick and Ed and RSGB for summarising the day.

    David Davies, LONDON
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    ‘All the areas where 20 mph have been introduced have seen a reduction in casualties’.

    Well that supports the very old saying that ‘there are lies, dammed lies and statistics’.

    Anyway who is to say that the reductions, if any, were not as a result of something else at all?

    That’s politics for you. Where is the Atkins report by the way?

    Agree (5) | Disagree (4)

    No mention so far of getting the car manufacturers to make their cars less accident prone by not making them capable of unnecessary and ridiculous acceleration times and top speeds – it’s just asking for trouble. In the wrong hands – which they usually are – it can be fatal.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (4) | Disagree (6)

    Sounds like a party political broadcast to me. The Labour party was mentioned five times in Mr Rodda’s speech.

    “Labour will ensure that all our streets are safe for walking”. I presume he means the footways and footpaths on our streets and not the middle of the road, in which case footpaths and footways are generally already safe for walking on, I’ve found.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (7) | Disagree (0)

    Perhaps I should clarify that my comment related specifically to Matt Rodda’s Presentation: Promoting walking and safety – the role of Government…
    and not to subsequent presenters content added to the article later on.

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (2) | Disagree (2)

    Aaaahhh wonderful sound bites to give me a warm and comfortable feeling of unreality for the most part.

    A road map to Utopia? It’s straight on and can be found adjacent to CCL (cloud cuckoo land).

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (7) | Disagree (1)

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.