In October 2020 we launched our new five-year strategy: Walk with Us. This is a bold and ambitious new strategy set against the backdrop of COVID-19.
We have three key outcomes to be reached by 2025:
Our Head of Policy and Communications, Tanya Braun, looks in more detail at each of these outcomes, starting with CHOOSE WALKING.
As a charity, our vision is a nation where walking is the natural choice for local, everyday journeys. We want people to want to choose walking and to be able to choose to walk their local, everyday journeys. This sounds simple, but a lot needs to happen before most people walk all their local, everyday journeys.
This year we’ve done a lot of groundwork to set walking at the top of the travel hierarchy. A Government Highway Code consultation in September/October suggested a new hierarchy with walking top – a huge win for our organisation and one we were at the heart of. The consultation has just closed. Almost 5,000 of our supporters agreed that the changes were necessary - and we are now waiting for final government decisions on next steps.
This year we also witnessed a consultation on banning pavement parking in England. Scottish Government has already committed to banning it and the Welsh Government has a task force looking at the subject. Restricting motor vehicles from parking on the pavement would be a huge win for those who walk. Our research shows a quarter of those aged over 65 are prevented from leaving their home because of pavement parking. Over 7,000 people supported our action, responding to the consultation, showing just how much of a massive difference this ban will make.
Ensuring both these consultations pave the way for more people choosing walking is a priority for us over the coming years.
Investment in walking is a clear way to achieve better streets. This year has seen record government investment in walking and cycling – a really positive step but one that needs to be built on.
It’s vital that walking continues to be prioritised for investment – both in terms of infrastructure to ensure walking is safer and cleaner, and behaviour change projects such as our award-winning WOW walk to school challenge that can inspire people to walk more.
Better streets for walking will encourage more people to choose walking.
Walking local everyday journeys includes those to the shops, to school, to green spaces, to the bus stop or train station, and in some cases, to work. We see a better world when these journeys are walked.
Making these journeys more attractive can help encourage more of us to walk. Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and School Streets are two key ways to encourage more walking behaviour.
We've worked with schools and their communities for over 20 years and work with over 2,000 primary and 50 secondary schools today. Our approach to School Streets involves community engagement and practical solutions to make School Streets a reality. Implemented with our behaviour -change walk to school challenge, WOW it has had great results from increased walking rates, through to reduced all-the-way car journeys.