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Analysis reveals majority of UK pavements are too narrow for social distancing

To help public sector and other organisations respond to government guidelines, Esri UK has made new map data available for free as part of its Covid-19 response programme.

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The map colour codes the width of London's pavements
The map colour codes the width of London's pavements

Spatial analysis by geographic information system (GIS) software and location intelligence specialist Esri UK has revealed that most pavements around the UK (70 per cent) are less than three metres wide, making it difficult for pedestrians to social distance at the specified two metres apart.

 

As councils adapt their infrastructure to make walking safer for the public, Esri has released the new map data for free to help the public sector and other organisations respond to government guidelines. It claims more than 30 local authorities are using the new pavement map to date and these include Glasgow City Council, Stirling Council and East Dunbartonshire Council.

 

Disaster response

 

Esri used measurements from Ordnance Survey to create the map of all pavement widths, which shows that only 30 per cent of Great Britain’s pavements are at least three metres wide, 36 per cent are between two to three metres and 34 per cent are less than two metres wide.

 

The map is part of Esri UK’s Covid-19 Disaster Response Programme, created to provide organisations with new mapping and analytical capabilities for free, to help manage their response to the pandemic.

 

Local authorities are using Esri’s mapping and analysis tools to help adjust their service provision, map vulnerable communities, deploy volunteers and communicate with citizens.

“Easy access to current pavement width data will help all councils make faster decisions with greater certainty and ensure walking is as safe as possible”

“The pavement map is designed to help local authorities and related organisations prioritise their efforts, to ensure the safety of the public, as lockdown restrictions are being gradually eased,” said Paul Clarke, head of Esri UK’s government practice. “By giving them an instant view of the situation they’re faced with, the map reduces the time needed to manually measure pavements and not rely on records which may be out of date.

 

“Easy access to current pavement width data will help all councils make faster decisions with greater certainty and ensure walking is as safe as possible.”

 

Esri UK has made its ArcGIS software free to use along with a free data repository, the Covid-19 Data Hub, with over 80 different types of selected, authoritative location data, including coronavirus cases, health, infrastructure and population.

 

New data is continually being added to equip local authorities with valuable insights as the situation evolves over time.

 

Topography layer

 

Esri UK created the new interactive map using its ArcGIS mapping software, using the latest MasterMap Topography Layer from Ordnance Survey (OS).

 

OS MasterMap Topography Layer is the most detailed and accurate view of Great Britain’s landscape – from roads to fields, buildings, trees, fences, paths and more. Using its GIS software, ArcGIS Pro, Esri UK extracted all the pavements and applied different colours to identify different widths.

 

Blue represents pavements of more than three metres; orange shows widths between two to three metres; and red denotes pavements of less than two metres wide.

 

The map is free to use from Esri UK as part of its Disaster Response Programme. Esri UK are able to provide the OS MasterMap free to local authorities as the data is covered by the PSGA agreement (Public Sector Geospatial Agreement). The data can also be made available free to the private sector, via the Ordnance Survey Mapping for Emergencies programme.

 

Local authorities and related organisations can access the map here:

 

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