Following Walk21's participation in two International Transport Forum activities this year, we are pleased to share with you their resultant publications.
Our brief essay on how it is women who walk more and yet are not well provided for in public space and public transport, Women and Walking, is included in this compendium of essays. Download here: Women's Safety and Security
And as the only carbon neutral mode - walking is often overlooked and rarely included in calculations for decarbonisation. But for other modes to realise their decarbonisation ambitions and mode share targets, better walkability and better measures for walking will be critical. Download here: Policy Priorities for Decarbonising Urban Passenger Transport.
The paper on walking and women's safety is also shared below:
Women and walking: Safety and security
by Bronwen Thornton, Development Director, Walk21 Jim Walker, Strategic Director, Walk21
Walking is our fundamental “mode of movement”. For centuries it has been the foundation mode for our transport systems, underpinning our individual health and connection to community. Everyone walks and nearly every journey includes walking. In most communities, walking is how people access their local services, including public transport for longer journeys. Walking is typically between 20-65% of all trips yet it rarely receives the recognition, funding, infrastructure or space required. Facilities are substandard but people walk because they have to or out of sheer personal determination and it is women who suffer disproportionately in these situations.
Women walk more than men and tend to make more off-peak and non-work related trips. Women are more vulnerable to violence and harassment in public spaces. Often, women modify their behaviour to feel safe walking, e.g. don’t walk at night or alone or talk on the phone while walking.
Women are more likely to influence the travel choices of their entire family and are more inclined to adopt sustainable modes: women cite that they would like to walk more but do not feel able.
Women tend to have daily patterns of activity that are more complex and multi-purpose than men, including trip-chains for childcare, paid work, household chores and elderly care. In many communities (across all socio-economic groups) these distances are often short and easily accessible by walking. But the data shows that when women have a choice, they choose not to walk due to poor street design or complete lack of sidewalks, personal time constraints and lack of personal safety. Where women have no choice but to walk, they are vulnerable to a lack of personal security and road safety while using the transport network and local streets. Women have a right to a safe place to walk, for both themselves and their children.
Walkable neighbourhoods with connected, good public transport services are the foundations of a cost and time efficient, green, clean, equitable and vibrant city. When pedestrians and the gender differences in travel patterns are considered and made visible in the planning and delivery of projects and infrastructure, streets and public spaces can be made safe, attractive, equitable and even enjoyable for everyone. Designing neighbourhoods that are inviting for women not only enables women to walk but supports those who already do.
This is particularly true for journeys to access public transport. Women report feeling unsafe, both on public transport and during the journey to and from stations. Increasingly, public transport operators are recognising walking as essential for an effective public transport system and are investing in walkable catchments around their stops and stations, taking responsibility for their riders' safety, security, comfort and ease of access to their services as well as the punctuality and frequency of the service itself. High quality walkability is one of the most affordable solutions and gives some of the best returns when wishing to increase ridership, service satisfaction and enhance mobility equity for women and the poor, young, elderly and less-able too.
The lack of walkability in our cities, increasing motorisation and subsequent decline in the amount of time people are choosing to walk in middle- to high-income countries, has negative consequences for public health too. The World Health Organization recognises everyday walking as a critical component for realising better physical activity outcomes for everyone and especially women (e.g. bone density or balance). A walkable city increases physical activity for everyone but especially women. Gender based activity inequality is highest in non-walkable communities.
Investment in walkability is a very practical way to reduce the gender gap in physical activity inequalities and enable more women (and their children) to move more.
Walking and walkable neighbourhoods are fundamental to delivering not only the New Urban Agenda, but many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well. Walking is primarily captured in SDG 11 - Sustainable cities and communities: safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons. But it can also offer tangible outcomes for: SDG 1 - access to basic resources; SDG 3 - health: road traffic crashes, non-communicable diseases and mental health; SDG 5 - gender equality: especially violence against women in the public sphere; SDG 9 - infrastructure: quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all; and SDG13 - climate action: a low-carbon mode. Walking has always been about more than transport.
Walk21 is the international organisation championing the needs of people walking and promoting walkability. In collaboration with partners around the world, Walk21 provides the International Charter for Walking as a common framework for inspiring political commitment; has measurement tools to help make walking more visible; policy guidelines, resources and training, and the annual international conference series as a place for experts to share their experiences and promote best practices. Through a global network of experts, Walk21 celebrates walking and actively encourages a more walkable future for everyone.
Working with ITF, Walk21 will continue to focus on daylighting the importance of walking, and the need for safe, comfortable and attractive walkable communities that are inviting to women. Better data to understand women’s travel patterns, needs and expectations is essential - especially in low- and middle income cities. Countries and cities are seeking clear policy guidance and asking for support to both establish a vision, to recognise the economic value of walkability, ensure delivery of the best infrastructure where people walk the most and to evaluate outcomes. Together we can increase the visibility of walking and realise the value it has for society and especially women.
The paper on Measures to encourage the share of walking in urban mobility is also shared below:
Measures to encourage the share of walking in urban mobility Walking represents the most accessible and least emissions-intensive form of mobility, and arguably entails the most health benefits, as well. As cities have adapted to accommodate greater car use, however, walking has been marginalised as a convenient and enjoyable mode of transportation, exposing pedestrians to environmental risks in the form of accidents and poor air quality. A high level of walkability is defined as involving good public transit connectivity, high residential density, and the presence of many local destinations within walking distance. A critical factor for maintaining walkability in larger cities is accessibility to public transit for longer journeys. Pedestrian friendly infrastructure design also increases ridership, makes the service more equitable, and encourages more sustainable travel via mass public transit.
Of all urban trips taken, 63% are short-distance trips of under 5km in length. The distribution of resources allocated for transportation, however, is much more heavily weighted towards supporting middle- and long-range trips, which make up 30% and 7% of all trips, respectively (Sauter, 2016). This disproportionate allocation is reflective of a disconnect between actual mode shares of various mobility types and the relative importance that public authorities place on each of these modes. The motor-centric way in which cities are designed has discouraged walking by making travel by foot unsafe and unattractive, which further encourages people to adopt motorised transport as soon as they are able to do so. This type of failure in urban design and transport management can be illustrated in the case of Sydney, Australia: although 92% of trips within the city centre are made on foot, 52% of pedestrians’ travel time is spent waiting to cross the road.
Although having accurate measurements of walking is important for transport planning, walking activity is currently poorly monitored. Most mode choice surveys ask respondents about their main mode of transport, even though walking (i.e. to and from this main mode) may take more travel time than the main mode itself. This implies that the amount of walking that takes place in cities is often underestimated. Furthermore, the mode share of walking depends on the type of measure in question (e.g. distance travelled, number of trips made, time spent, number of stages). In the interest of effective transport planning, it is important to measure the theoretical walkability of an environment based on geographic indicators, the amount of walking activity that is actually undertaken, as well as the perceptions that people have regarding the feasibility and enjoyment of walking, as these factors strongly influence decisions to undertake trips on foot. Another challenge for transport planners is improving walking infrastructure and encouraging greater walking at the expense of individual motorised transport specifically, while maintaining or increasing the ridership and mode share of public transit options. This means making walking spaces more enjoyable and improving the connectivity of and ease of transfers between modes.
Safety, inclusivity, and enjoyableness are essential elements of walkability. It is important to recognise that greater walkability in cities will not be achieved one street at a time, but through comprehensive strategic planning in urban transport design regarding the location of places of employment, transport hubs, education sites, sports and leisure sites, health care sites, and retail locations. Urban planning activities should also prioritise density, connectivity and destinations when seeking to increase pedestrian opportunities. For public transit authorities, improving walkability also presents an opportunity to increase ridership and revenues. Walk21’s International Charter for Walking outlines eight key principles and essential measures for walking communities, which include inclusive mobility, well-designed and managed spaces for pedestrians, improved network integration, pedestrian-friendly land-use and spatial planning, reduced road danger, less crime and fear of crime, more supportive authorities, and a culture of walking.
Although historically under-appreciated, there are indications that walking is gaining increasing attention among policymakers as a priority in transport planning and urban design. The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) has contributed to this movement with Pedestrians First, a comprehensive tool for walkability in cities. Walk21 has also created the International Walking Data Standard, which has been developed through a series of workshops with experts from around the globe. The project tracks the share of people who have completed at least one stage by a specific mode on the given survey day, the average number of daily trips per person by mode, the average daily travel time per person by mode, the average daily distance travelled per person by mode, and the mode share of all modes based on trip segments, main mode, time and distance. They have also launched the Making Walking Count project, a tool for the collection, analysis and dissemination of quantitative and qualitative information to help define, benchmark and analyse walking in cities.