small steps

Active travel and streets built around it are hitting the news headlines more and more, but our Head of Policy and Communications Tanya Braun wonders why walking isn’t always given as much prominence as cycling.

Tanya Braun
Pledge event

Let’s just clarify the term ‘active travel’.

It can seem a bit clunky and ambiguous, but it's not complicated. It just means getting about using physical activity – walking, cycling or scooting.

Active travel has generally been under-funded, under-appreciated and under-used for getting from A to B. But the tide is turning, or at least, so it seems.

Walking and cycling are being given more airtime.

Our current problems with air quality, congestion, lack of physical activity and poor mental wellbeing have been linked to the private car and the way our streets have been built around it.

We are all starting to wake up to the reality that if our streets are made with active travel in mind, they will produce happier communities, better neighbourhoods and healthier cities.

So what's the problem?

Walking and cycling organisations have, together, helped bring about this change in thinking.

Yet walking can often seem like the poor cousin to cycling. It often gets forgotten or left out of the conversation entirely.

Why is that? One theory is that we all walk. It’s so simple, so pedestrian, that we take it for granted. Why should it get any special attention (let alone funding)?



Take this recent example picked up on Twitter by our very own Jenny Wiles.

From the Guardian's headline, you would not know Manchester had any walking plans at all...


Walking is amazing! Here are some reasons why...

+ It’s completely free

+ It’s accessible. No matter your age, gender, sex, race or ability, walking is generally available for all

+ It doesn’t endanger others directly

+ It’s green – we use no emissions to walk

+ It frees up the road from cars

+ It’s proven to be good for our physical health

+ For our mental wellbeing too

+ It’s sociable – we can talk while we walk if we want to

+ It helps create cohesive communities

Meandering, strolling, striding or pacing – any which way walking can benefit our society in ways that no other form of travel can.

Whenever anyone is talking about active travel, but really only thinking about cycling, we should always make sure we say walking stays in the discussion.

Join us in celebrating the unpedestrianess of walking and remember to say...



What you can do