Encouraging Walking - Assessing the Effects of Change



Encouraging Walking - Assessing the Effects of Change

Authors

HUNT J and EVANS T, Cardiff School of Engineering, UK

Description

Walking has many benefits for an individual and for society. For an individual, walking helps provide a reasonable level of fitness through exercise and is an inexpensive form of travel. For society, pedestrian traffic is environmentally friendly and the

Abstract

Walking has many benefits for an individual and for society. For an individual, walking helps provide a reasonable level of fitness through exercise and is an inexpensive form of travel. For society, pedestrian traffic is environmentally friendly and the presence of pedestrians helps vitalise urban streets. In these circumstances walking could be expected to at least maintain its share of modal split for short journeys. However, infrastructure in most UK cities is primarily designed to meet the requirements of motor vehicles and walking in some urban areas has become uncomfortable, inconvenient, and in some instances unsafe.

In the 1970s and 1980s traffic engineers, responding to policies which were promoted at the time, implemented traffic management and control designed to optimise vehicle movement along city streets. Inadequate provision for pedestrians to cross roads at signal controlled junctions and at midblock is one example of situations in which an overriding priority to provide capacity and mlnimise delay for vehicles took precedence over pedestrian needs. At many signal controlled junctions pedestrians were left without assistance from the signals. Many Zebra crossings were replaced with Pelicans with long periods of vehicle precedence.

The legacy of actions taken in this period remains with us and continues to send out a message that walking is a second class mode of transport. There are now indications that this situation is recognised as undesirable and that actions are being taken with the aim of actively encouraging walking. To meet this aim it will be necessary to become more focused on pedestrian requirements by pro active consideration of pedestrian requirements backed up by defining criteria and associated audit systems.

These will encourage pedestrian issues to be considered in their own right rather than simply as an aside to the requirements for vehicle movements. There is currently no meaningful numerical standard for judging the quality of the walking environment.

This paper considers a basis for a measure of Pedestrian Level of Service (PLoS) which could provide an objective measure of pedestrian provision and a stimulus for implementing measures which encourage walking.

Publisher

Association for European Transport