Making the case for investment in the walking environment

Project details

Full project title: Making the case for investment in the walking environment

Duration: March 2011 - May 2011

Sponsor: Living Streets

Project leader for SPE: Dr Danielle Sinnett

Other UWE researchers: Professor Katie Williams (Centre for Sustainable Planning and Environments, UWE), Dr Kiron Chatterjee (Centre for Transport and Society, UWE), Professor Hugh Barton (World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Healthy Urban Environments)

Research partner/collaborators: Dr Nick Cavill (Cavill Associates)

Project summary

This project involved a comprehensive literature review to provide the evidence based for investment in the walking environment. The team primarily reviewed three types of evidence:

  • Cross-sectional studies in the academic literature examining the relationship between neighbourhood characteristics (eg density, connectivity, mix of use, public realm) and walking levels, health and well-being
  • Evaluation studies of specific interventions aimed at improving the walking environment (eg home zones, shared use paths, 20 mph limits, Sustainable Travel Towns)
  • Cost-benefit analyses and assessments of the cost effectiveness of investment in the walking environment.

The review also included a summary of the health, social, environmental and economic benefits of increased levels of walking.

The evidence from the cross-sectional studies shows utility walking levels are greater in places with mixed land uses, greater population density and street connectivity and provision of facilities for pedestrians. Recreational walking is influenced most by aesthetical quality of the walking environment.

Evaluations of walking interventions generally demonstrate positive road safety outcomes and positive user perceptions and high values for money have been estimated for these interventions compared to other transport interventions.

Key outputs

  • Sinnett, D., Williams, K., Chatterjee, K., Cavill, N. 2011. Making the case for investment in the walking environment: A review of the evidence. Living Streets, London. (ID 15502)
  • Project report
  • Chatterjee, K., Sinnett, D., Williams, K., Cavill, N. 2011. Creating built environments that promote walking and health: Assessing the current state of knowledge. UK-Ireland Planning Research Conference, 12 – 14th September 2011, Birmingham. (ID 15746)

For more information about the project, please e-mail Dr Danielle Sinnett.

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