Two people walking

Ahead of our Walking Summit, Ben Still, Managing Director of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority explains why we need cities designed around people not vehicles.

Ben Still
Walking

Walking is such a fundamental part of everyday travel and yet with the rise of car-dependent lifestyles in the UK in the last 50 years, not only are we walking less but we have shaped many of our cities and metropolitan areas around motor traffic and squeezed out space and provision to walk conveniently, safely and healthily.

With car-dependency now built into our social and economic fabrics, we face an ongoing struggle to reclaim the urban environment to allow us to rediscover the habit of walking as a way of making the trips we need to in our everyday lives.

Our cities need us to do this, as successful cities are increasingly needing spaces for people to meet, collaborate and innovate. Digitisation is leading to more, not less, value being placed on face to face communication, chance encounter and networks of contacts.

 

Walking as a means of travel is actually a revolutionary urban transport solution and essential for the future of cities as places that put people first.

Ben Still, Managing Director of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority

On the flip side we now know more than ever that the health risks of inactivity, poor air quality and being hurt in collisions on the road require us to make a concerted and single minded effort to confront the difficulties and conflicting interests head on.

The degree of congestion experienced in towns and cities across the UK further heighten the need to build for new ways of meeting urban mobility requirements.

Walking as a means of travel – an activity so widespread and common to us all that we forget that it even is a means of travel - is actually a revolutionary urban transport solution and essential for the future of cities as places that put people first.

We practitioners across UK cities now must treat it as such, with the ongoing support of Government to empower us through devolved funding and powers, and to help us continue to make the case locally for championing the mighty - not humble! - pedestrian in everything that we deliver.

Our Walking Summit

On 18 March, we will bring together thought leaders and supporters to discuss how we create world-class #WalkingCities.

Walking Summit