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Walking is transport

Walking is fundamental to transport in most parts of the world. It satisfies a high proportion of all journeys, and facilitates almost all journeys by motorised modes as well. Despite this, walking is marginalised in transport planning and neglected in transport investment.

The brutal fact is that politicians and decision-takers like big projects. They like infrastructure, in front of which they can be photographed cutting the ceremonial ribbon. Walking rarely involves or requires elaborate infrastructure, and so it has no political appeal. It is a sad reality that people responsible for numerous small improvements are never applauded as loudly as those who achieve large, expensive high profile projects.

The need to promote walking as a contribution to sustainaility goals is often offered in  planning documents, and even party manifestos. But this is rarely matched with action.

There is a fear sometimes of being ridiculed: "people don't need to be told how to put one foot in front of the other" or "I don't want to be stuck with being called the minister of silly walks". John Cleese unwittingly did no service to the cause of walking.

"Walking is Transport" is also the title of a book by Mayer Hillman and Anne Whalley, publoished by the Policy Studies Institute in 1979. This was one of the first attempts to quantify walking, and to take a strategic view of the place of walking in the transport mix.


walking, transport, planning for pedestrians, pedestrians

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