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London bids to become most ‘walkable’ city

Streets will be designed, built and managed to support people walking with new infrastructure, better signposting and maps, and more pedestrian crossings

The plan aims to improve health, reduce air pollution and improve pedestrian safety
The plan aims to improve health, reduce air pollution and improve pedestrian safety

London is aiming to become the world’s most walkable city. The UK capital’s first ever walking and cycling commissioner, Will Norman, has unveiled the city’s Walking Action Plan.


Supported by Public Health England (PHE), it 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 Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, wants to increase the proportion of people walking, cycling and taking public transport to 80 per cent of journeys by 2041, from 63 per cent now. The vision is that one million extra walking trips will take place each day by 2024.


The Mayor is investing a record £2.2bn in streets across London to make them better for walking and cycling, and improve air quality.


Research shows that too many people are put off walking because of concerns about road danger or worries about their levels of physical fitness.


The Walking Action Plan aims to help Londoners overcome these barriers by:

  • designing, building and managing streets for people walking, by delivering better public spaces, more walking routes and more numerous and wider pedestrian crossings
  • ensuring that walking is prioritised in every new infrastructure scheme, through London’s first ever pedestrian design guidance and a range of other tools and analysis to support boroughs to deliver local schemes
  • enabling thousands more children to walk to school by doubling the number of Gold accredited STARS schools which champion healthy routes to school, and by supporting timed road closures, car free days and 20mph speed limits around schools
  • rolling out innovative new traffic signal technology that makes it safer and easier for pedestrians to cross roads, while minimising congestion
  • creating new ‘Active Travel Hubs’ at London Underground stations, making it easier to walk as part of an onward journey.

Major projects are already underway to enable more walking across London, such as Highbury Corner, where a new public space and new pedestrian crossings are being installed, and at Old Street where work will begin to transform the roundabout in 2019.


The experience of pedestrians will also be improved around Swiss Cottage with new crossings and the removal of the dangerous gyratory. And in Kingston, Transport for London (TfL) funding is helping to deliver improved pedestrian and cycling routes between the town centre and the riverside.


Close partnership working is crucial in delivering a better walking experience across the capital, which is why TfL is supporting London’s boroughs to deliver attractive, healthy and safe streets, including the £115 million Liveable Neighbourhoods programme, with the first seven projects starting in 2018.


London’s first ever Walking Action Plan comes alongside the Mayor introducing bold and widespread measures to clean up London’s air. This includes the Mayor launching the world’s first ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) which puts in place minimum emission standards for vehicles, spending more than £300 million transforming London’s bus fleet, and making sure TfL no longer licences new diesel taxis from this year.


The Mayor has already introduced an emissions surcharge – or ‘T-charge’ – meaning vehicles must meet minimum exhaust emission standards, or drivers have to pay a daily £10 charge in addition to the congestion charge.


“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,” said Norman. “It will have a truly transformational impact on our city.”


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