Photo by jchessma/Flickr. Cropped.




The Global Sidewalk Challenge raises the voice and profile for walking internationally and sets a challenge to governments, private businesses and NGO’s to collaborate and invest in walking infrastructure, especially dedicated, safe and barrier free sidewalks at transport hubs, to benefit the people who walk most by focusing on the places most walked in order to reduce GHG emissions, improve the efficiency of public transport and deliver better public health.


The Challenge seeks to catalyse action around the globe by consolidating the efforts of partner cities and organisations into a high profile campaign that brings momentum and ambition to construct, or rehabilitate, 100,000km of additional dedicated, safe, barrier free, sidewalks in the proximity of public transport hubs, the majority of which will be in low and middle income countries by 2030.  

Relevance to advance the Paris Agreement goals

The carbon reduction potential of walking is not extensively researched (part of the problem), but one study estimates that increases in the mode share of walking in Bogota, Colombia from 20% to 25% of travel could reduce transport emissions by 6.9% at a cost of USD $ 17/tCO2.  In addition, a package of walkways, cycle-ways and bus rapid transit could reduce emissions by 25% at a cost of USD $ 30/ tonneCO2. 






















Walking in its own right or packaged with public transport systems can enhance the carbon reduction potential of both modes and of the transport system as a whole.

Activities of the Initiative

During our first twelve months growing engagement and investment in walking initiatives as outlined below. 


Outreach and coalition building:

  • Represented walking and engaged with both funders, partners and implementing cities at a range of international forums, including:  Launch of the WHO Global Action Plan for Physical Activity, ITF, Women Mobilise Women, Transforming Transportation and COP.

  • Working with UN Environment to deliver their Share the Road campaign and identify opportunities for practical implementation of walking policies in African cities. 

  • Coordinated the 2018 annual International Conference on Walking and Liveable Cities in Bogota, Colombia attended by 3,500 delegates, with streaming reaching 26,000 viewers.

  • Working with INTALinc on a range of ideas and projects to enhance walkability in low-income countries

Capacity building:

  • Working with Lagos, Nigeria funded by TUMI and Medellin Colombia, funded by Alstom, to undertake community led on-street analysis and implementation of improved sidewalk infrastructure.

  • Preparing expert training workshops and walkshops on walking and pedestrian infrastructure for professional practitioners, community advocates and political decision makers, with plans to deliver in the Philippines, Bangladesh and Kenya in 2019;

  • Developing an app with CEDEUS, Chile for local communities to assess their local streets and spaces forProvide technical assistance, including community engagement methods, to countries and cities to establish more investment in walking and better provision of infrastructure and facilities.

Knowledge development:

  • Contributor to the TCC-GSR led by SLOCAT and ongoing development of walking data resources

  • Working with University of Manchester to rebuild the online library of walking resources and best practices - to be launched in spring 2019. 

Policy-making and implementation:

  • Working with the government of Hong Kong to frame up a walking and walkability strategy, action plan and community engagement activities for long term investment and enhancement of walkability.

Partners and Signatories

The initiative currently receives support from seven NGOs, 12 business companies, and four universities.


International Association of Public Transport


International Network for Transport and Accessibility in Low Income Communities


International Federation of Pedestrians


Center for Sustainable Urban Studies

Smarter Than Car

Smarter than Car Global Thinktank

America Walks

America Walks


Translink Metro Vancouver, Canada

UN Environment Programme

UN Environment Programme


Despacio Columbia

World Resources Institute

World Resources Institute




Partnership for Sustainable Low Carbon Transport



University of Calgary

University of Calgary

Breda University

Breda University



Liga Peatonal, Mexico

Liga Peatonal, Mexico

Funda Peaton, Colombia

Funda Peaton, Colombia