Is walking the miracle cure for our public health crisis?

Come and join experts from Greater Manchester and beyond as we discuss the link between making our streets fitter for walking and improved public health.

Could our transport choices save lives? Is walking the answer to all our health problems? How can we get more people walking and make them happier and healthier?

Greater Manchester's Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Chris Boardman, will outline his priorities to create a healthier, more active region.

Professor Shane O’Mara will present the new science of how we walk and why it is good for us.

The day will also feature a stellar line-up of city leaders, transport planners, academics and public health experts.

The day will culminate with Living Streets' Annual General Meeting.

Living Streets members are entitled to one free ticket. Any questions about booking, please email

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Standard ticket price: £50. Living Streets Members can attend for free.

If you would prefer to pay by invoice, please change the payment method during checkout on Eventbrite, and we will be in touch to complete the process.


Our very own Joe Irvin and trustee Susan Claris are joined by our Summit guest Professor Shane O'Mara on Ed Miliband's Reasons To Be Cheerful podcast to talk about the magic powers of walking. A great appetiser for what we can expect in Manchester.

Listen now

Our supporters

The 2020 National Walking Summit is supported by ARUP, Greater Manchester Walking Voice and Transport for Greater Manchester.

Join us in Manchester

Greater Manchester's Cycling & Walking Commissioner's welcome message.

Our draft agenda

9.15: Guided walking tour from station (optional)

9.45: Arrival and registration

10.15: Welcome and opening remarks

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester

10.30: Keynote address: Getting Manchester Moving

Chris Boardman MBE, Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Greater Manchester

11.00: Living Streets report launch – Joe Irvin, Living Streets

11.15: How getting more people walking can improve public health. A panel discussion with active travel commissioners from across the UK. Speakers confirmed to date:

Chris Boardman MBE
Will Norman, Walking and Cycling commissioner, London
Lee Craigie, Active Nation Commissioner, Scotland
Dame Sarah Storey, Active Travel Commissioner, Sheffield City Region
Simon O’Brien, Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Liverpool City Region

12.15pm: Lunch and networking

1.15: Keynote: Walking as a superpower.

Prof Shane O’Mara, Neuroscientist, Professor of Experimental Brain Research at Trinity College Dublin and a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator

1.45: Panel discussion on: Is walking the miracle cure?
Public health experts from across the UK discuss the role walking has to play in tackling our public health crisis.

Prof Shane O’Mara
Dr Adrian Davis, Senior Fellow in Behaviour Change & Translational Research, University of the West of England
Carl Petrokofsky, FFPH, Specialist in Public Health, Health Equity and Mental Health Division, Public Health England
Sarah Price, Executive Lead, Population Health and Commissioning, Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership

2.45: Healthy streets in action - examples from across the UK

Cabinet Lead for Transport and planning Healthy Streets in Cardiff
Jeremy Leach, Vision Zero – how by working in partnership we can create a new approach to transport policy
David Foster, Croydon Living Streets Group – the role of community in developing healthier neighbourhoods
Morag Rose, Loiterer's Resistance Movement, Manchester – looking at city streets differently to get more people walking

3.15: Living Streets Walking Champion – Charles Maher Award 2020

3.45: AGM

4.15: Close

Our speakers

Chris Boardman, MBE

Chris Boardman, MBE, Greater Manchester Cycling and Walking Commissioner

Chris is an Olympic gold medallist, world-record holder and three-time Tour de France stage winner. He became Head of Research and Development for the Great Britain Cycling Team, tasked with creating world-leading equipment and coaching methods.

In July 2017 he was appointed by Mayor Andy Burnham as Greater Manchester’s first ever Cycling and Walking Commissioner, while continuing in his role as British Cycling’s policy advisor.

In December 2017 he published his ‘Made to Move’ report, setting out a 10-year, £1.5 billion plan to revolutionise the way we get around in Greater Manchester and make cycling and walking genuine alternatives to the car.


Shane O'Mara

Shane O'Mara, Professor of Experimental Brain Research at Trinity College Dublin

He is also a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator and a Science Foundation Ireland Principal Investigator, and a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.

Shane's research interests explore the brain systems supporting learning, memory, and cognition, and also the brain systems affected by stress and depression. He has published approximately 140 academic papers and has edited three academic books.

His latest book is 'In Praise of Walking: The new science of how we walk and why it’s good for us', an Irish Times Top Ten best-seller. He is an ardent proponent of the need to integrate walking into every aspect of our everyday lives.

Who should come to the National Walking Summit?

Public Health officials


Living Streets supporters, Local Groups and members

Local Authority transport and health officials

Anyone with an interest in transport planning and/or public health

Charles Maher Award - Walking Champion 2020

Presentation of the 2018 Charles Maher award

Nominations now closed


Charles Maher Award

Highlights from 2019 in Birmingham

Christophe Najdovski

Deputy Mayor of Paris for Transport, Travel and Public Space

View Christophe's presentation

Andy Street

Mayor of the West Midlands

View Andy's presentation

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Our blueprint for change

Our Blueprint for Change

Our new Blueprint For Change provides campaigners and city leaders with a step-by-step guide to creating walking cities.