Authorities in London aim to ensure that walking is prioritised in every new infrastructure scheme, as part of Capital’s first Walking Action Plan.
The plan, which is supported by Public Health England (PHE), has an ambitious vision to make London ‘the most walkable city in the world’, with a million extra walking trips taking place each day by 2024.
Launched by Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner, the plan sets out how London will become a ‘city where walking, for those that can, is the most obvious, enjoyable and attractive means of travel for all short trips’.
The plan aims to encourage Londoners walk more often by designing, building and managing streets for pedestrians – and by delivering better public spaces, more walking routes and more numerous and wider pedestrian crossings.
It also sets out how walking will be prioritised in every new infrastructure scheme, through London’s first pedestrian design guidance and a range of other tools and analysis to help boroughs deliver local schemes.
Children also feature, with proposals to double the number of ‘Gold accredited’ STARS schools – which champion healthy routes to school – and support timed road closures, car free days and 20mph speed limits around schools.
The plan also features proposals to roll out ‘innovative’ new traffic signal technology that makes it safer and easier for pedestrians to cross roads, and the creation of new ‘Active Travel Hubs’ at London Underground stations, making it easier to walk as part of an onward journey.
Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner, said: “Walking is a fantastic way to get around and explore London, and getting more Londoners to walk regularly is essential for the health and future prosperity of our city.
“Whether you’re popping to the shops or heading for the local train station, we’re investing record amounts to make walking the safest, easiest and most enjoyable way of getting around.
“By making it easier for Londoners to leave their cars at home and walk instead, it will tackle the air pollution crisis and reduce congestion as London’s population continues to grow. It will have a truly transformational impact on our city.”
Lilli Matson, director of transport strategy at TfL, said: “Walking is good for us and a great way to discover all that London has to offer.
“London’s first Walking Action Plan, along with our commitment to deliver Healthy Streets, will encourage even more Londoners of all ages and backgrounds to make walking their first choice for short trips.
“This will help improve Londoners’ health, as well as air quality and traffic congestion, local businesses and the economy.”