Walking people

Living Streets wants Cardiff to be healthier, cleaner and less congested - by making walking safer, more pleasant and the easiest option for short journeys we can make change happen.

Parent, child and pram

The future of transport in Cardiff

In summer 2018, Living Streets responded to Cardiff Council's green paper on the future of transport in our city. Our response is below.

1. South Wales Metro and buses

Cardiff Council Goal: The Metro forms the heart of a fully integrated public transport network that is modern, clean, efficient and affordable.

Living Streets response

Ideas: Living Streets believes walking and active travel must be promoted and integrated within the metro plans. Almost all public transport journeys involve one or more walking stages. It is important therefore to plan for ‘door-to-door’ journeys that make the Metro both accessible and attractive to people on foot.

Walking should be the easiest and best option to connect people from these transport services to where they want to go within the city. Good signage of walking routes must be part of a fully integrated public transport network.

2: Active Healthy City

Cardiff Council Goal: Cardiff becomes one of the best places in Europe for active travel i.e. travelling on foot or by bike/scooter/skates etc.

Living Streets response

Scores: we scored 5 (highest support) for Active Travel Zones and Total City 20mph zone.

Ideas: Living Streets strongly agrees that Active Travel Zones are a good idea for the city and that all neighbourhoods should be able to become an active travel zone, where walking routes are excellent and pedestrians have priority over vehicles. For example crossings should be tailored to people walking more, by shortening the waiting time and increasing the crossing time to allow people to cross safely and with assurance the traffic will wait for them.

Active Travel Zones can include exclusion zones around schools so that all schools in Cardiff become active travel schools, so children can enjoy the extra space to walk, play, scoot and ride in safety and in clean air.

Park and Strides can be put in place around schools to support busy parents/carers who cannot walk all the way to school every day. Low traffic neighbourhoods, where rat running is discouraged by no through roads for cars, while allowing bike and pedestrians through, is a particularly effective way to reduce road danger and encourage more walking and cycling (see Living Streets London's Low Traffic Neighbourhood report).

Living Streets has long campaigned for a default 20mph limit across the city. A consistent 20mph speed limit in Cardiff will make it easier for people driving to understand their speed needs to be kept down. Enforcement of speed limits must also be part of these plans so people can rely on a safe walking environment. Fast traffic is a concern of many pedestrians and a barrier to some who do not feel safe walking near busy roads. A total city 20mph zone would enable more people to travel actively around the city and improve air quality too.

3. Clean Air City

Cardiff Council Goal: All parts of Cardiff will have clean air. No citizen will have to suffer ill health as a consequence of high levels of pollution.

Living Streets response

Scores: we scored 5 (highest support) for Clean Air Zones, Active Travel Targets and Parking Levies.

Ideas: Walking is a big part of the solution to reducing levels of air pollution, especially for short journeys. Switching the journey to school, work or to the shops from the motor car to walking will reduce levels of air pollution. Walking further away from the kerb and using alternative routes (such as a block away from the most polluted roads) will reduce exposure to air pollution, this information could be used to promote ‘clean walking routes’ away from traffic.

We fully support the introduction of Clean Air Zones and a Parking Levy that work to disincentivise unnecessary motor traffic from Cardiff’s streets. Congestion and air pollution are growing problems for the city so bold decisions are needed.

Studies show that levels or air pollution are broadly similar inside and outside of cars and may be higher for vehicles stuck in traffic. We need to bust the myth that cars offer protection from air pollution – they simply do not. Plus if you are on foot you get the added health benefits from walking, which can outweigh the negative effects of air pollution.
Living Streets wants to see Active Travel Targets that involve Welsh Government, business, schools and reach all ages so we all feel the benefits of walking more in our daily lives.

Cardiff can lead the way on setting ambitious targets and funding schemes that support people to walk more and cut out unnecessary car journeys.

4. Business, work and culture

Cardiff Council Goal: A vibrant ‘destination city centre’ with a thriving business economy, supporting major events and a rich, diverse culture

Living Streets response

Scores: we scored 4 (high support) for High-quality capital city centre environment, Developing the South East Corridor and Regional Park & Rides.

Ideas: Designing the city centre around people makes it more attractive to visitors, but also as a liveable city to attract more people to live and work here. Improving public transport options and park and rides as a real alternative to car use is essential to reduce car dominance in the city. If people travel to Cardiff by foot they are also more likely to spend more time (and therefore money) in the city than if they came by car – see our pedestrian pound report.

5. The future of cars

Cardiff Council Goal: More Cardiff citizens feel able to either share or not own a car. Many will choose zero carbon cars.

Living Streets response

Scores: We scored 2 (low support) for Zero carbon vehicles, Network of Charging Points, and scored 3 (medium support) for Car Clubs and Mobility as a Service.

Ideas: Low carbon vehicles are part of the solution to clean air, but still contribute to road safety issues, congestion and some pollution. They are not the panacea to the future transport of Cardiff. Charging points for electric vehicles must not take up space on pavements from pedestrians. Car clubs and mobility vehicles are a good way or reducing vehicle dependence in the city for individuals who have occasional necessary car trips.

6. Smart City

Cardiff Council Goal: Cardiff will use the latest technology to support an integrated transport system.

Living Streets response

Scores: We scored 1 (lowest support) for Digital Network / User Information, Intelligent Street Management, Assess Autonomous Vehicles

Ideas: Using technology to share information is helpful to many people, especially if it can encourage people to use active travel alternatives to the car, however live parking information may work to encourage people into the city by car.

Autonomous vehicles are presented as being safer and requiring less road space. However, to achieve many of the potential benefits, all vehicles on the road need to be autonomous and coordinated, which is unlikely any time soon.

Autonomous vehicles could make our towns and cities even more congested and less people-friendly than they already are. So the answer to our congestion, road safety and air pollution problems isn’t different types of vehicles; it’s fewer vehicles.






Living Streets now wants to see leadership and an action plan to turn the commitments into reality.

Our research has found that almost a third of parents (30%) think their city is unsafe for children walking to school.

After a generation of decline in the number of children walking to primary school (from 70% to 47%), Living Streets is now urging the new Labour Council Leader to support making their pledge to “invest in safer routes to our schools and ensure every school has an active travel plan for cycling and walking.”

Other commitments by the Labour Party in its manifesto for the city include; making Cardiff a "great active travel city", encouraging more cycling and walking, rolling out more 20mph zones across the city and to work towards making Cardiff a United Nations ‘Child Friendly City’. Living Streets now wants to see action to turn these commitments into reality.

Download our Blueprint for Change

These are our campaign aims in Cardiff



  1. Appoint a walking and cycling champion
  2. Reduce vehicle dependency
  3. Create walking-friendly communities
  4. Get Cardiff walking
  5. Create a Safer Cardiff
  • Develop a long-term strategy as part of the Local Development Plan on walking and public realm improvements that sets out an ambitious target to increase walking for short journeys. Appoint someone at a senior level to champion walking across Cardiff.

  • Mandate Cardiff Council Transport Team to assess the feasibility of a smart road-pricing scheme for  Cardiff city centre that tackles air pollution, vehicle dominance and congestion and raises revenue for walking, cycling and public transport.

  • Lead an initiative that creates walking friendly centres to encourage people to make local journeys on foot or bike, helps regenerate communities and brings more customers to local businesses. Small changes can make a big difference to the walking experience in Cardiff, such as making crossing waits shorter and crossing times longer.

  • Deliver a transformative behaviour change programme to reward people of all ages who walk to school or work and reduce delays on the city’s congested road network.

  • Adopt a ‘Vision Zero’ approach to road safety, which puts the elimination of road danger at the heart of the transport system and commit to a 20mph speed limit across the whole of Cardiff where people live, work and shop.

Our Walking Cities Campaign

Living Streets is calling on the new leaders in our major UK cities to make their cities healthier, cleaner and less congested.



Walking Cities

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