Are you looking for some expert knowledge on how to make your city pedestrian-friendly and encourage residents to walk more? Then you’re in the right place! From guides to handbooks and courses, you’ll get the best, freely accessible information here!
You want to get more people walking, however, it can be tough to start. One thing that always helps is to know what has already been done, and what reference materials are out there. Here’s a collection of useful guides, fact sheets, and papers to help you with your first steps!
- Pedestrians First by ITDP
- Pedestrians First equips you with a set of four tools providing insights into walkability if many of the world’s cities. Check it out if you also want to measure inclusive transport, examine a neighbourhood, or evaluate the walkability of a street. It also provides you with an overview of why walkability is important, plus recommendations for policy, design, and implementation.
- HEAT Tool by WHO
- HEAT (Health Economic Assessment Tool) is designed to enable users without expertise in impact assessment to conduct economic assessments of the health impacts of walking or cycling. Users can calculate the mortality benefits only, or choose to take into account the effects of air pollution and crashes or to estimate the carbon emission effects from replacing motorised trips by walking or cycling.
- Walk Score
- Walk Score measures the walkability of any address, awarding it with a number between 0 and 100 on criteria ranging from car dependency to suitability for walkers. Points are awarded based on the distance to amenities (analysing hundreds of walking routes to nearby amenities of various categories), and pedestrian friendliness (population density in relation to road metrics such as block length and intersection density). While aiming to help people find places to live in walkable neighbourhoods in the US and Canada, the tool also shows scores for any other address you type in (we tried with streets in Vienna, Marseille, and Braga). For each address, you get its Walk Score, a map with nearby amenities, a list of local parks, and a time travel map.
- Walk Score Professional
- Walk Score Data Services offer a range of data by analysts and researchers in a variety of fields, including urban planning. Besides Walk Score, they also offer a Transit Score, Bike Score, Public Transit Data, Pedestrian Friendliness, Opportunity Score and more.
- C40 Walking and Cycling Benefits Tool
- This C40 Tool enables cities to estimate the wider benefits of walking and cycling. With a focus on health and economic benefits, this tool aims to increase the mode share of active travel by providing evidence to make a case for walking and to get political and financial support, and by helping cities identify the best walking and cycling options.
- The Walkable City by Jeff Speck & George Proakis
- A 2-day course that takes place in Harvard (currently still planned for 2021) with one of the best-known advocates for walkable cities: Jeff Speck, author of “Walkable City” and “Walkable City Rules”. Sadly, there’s no online version of the course available yet.
Expert Organisations & Networks
- Urbact Thriving Streets Network
- Walk Friendly Communities
- Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center
- Funda Peatón
- America Walks
- POLIS – Active Travel & Health Working Group
Check out the partners and members of these experts to find even more organisations!
Handbooks, Reports, and Guides
General Guides and Documents
- Charter for Walking
- The International Charter for Walking was created by Walk21. Everyone signing this charter recognises the benefits of walking and acknowledges the universal right of everyone to walk safely. The charter’s strategic principles entail inclusive mobility, well-designed places for people, reduced road danger, and more.
- International Walking Data Standard
- In 2015, at the Walk21 conference in Vienna, this International Walking Data Standard was adopted. It aims to demonstrate the importance of good mobility data, to enable comparisons between countries and cities, and to improve the consistency and accuracy of data collection.
- Steps to a Walkable Community
- America Walks has created this guide for citizens, planners and engineers on how to create a walkable community. The guide, among other things, addresses advocacy, land use, design and education in regard to walking. It also provides fact sheets on the benefits of walking.
- Fact Sheets and Infographics by Walk21
- As Walk21 is one of the most prominent experts in the field, they have a lot of experience and can provide you with crucial knowledge about everything walking-related.
- Cost 358: Pedestrians’ Quality Needs
- The Pedestrians’ Quality Needs Project (PQN) established what people need to choose to walk. This summary provides an understanding of those needs and how they can be met and supported by policy.
- Topic Guide: Planning for More Resilient and Robust Urban Mobility
- Published in February 2021, this topic guide builds upon lessons learned during the Covid pandemic. It contains recommendations for cities and stakeholders for accelerating a transition to more sustainable modes of transport, increasing the preparedness for any future crisis that may arise.
- Streets for Walking and Cycling: Designing for Safety, Accessibility and Comfort in African Cities
- Created by UN Habitat and ITDP together, this handbook provides information on how to best design, specifically African, cities in order to make the streets and city networks safe and accessible for everyone.
- Footpath Design: Guide to Creating Footpaths that are Safe, Comfortable, and Easy to Use (India)
- Another guide, created by ITDP, focuses solely on the design of footpaths and how they can be made safe and comfortable. As pedestrian trips account for a quarter to one-third of all trips in many Indian cities, this guide was created specifically for the Indian context. However, we’re sure that this is a helpful guide for cities elsewhere, too.
- Global Streets Design Guide (Chapter 6)
- The Global Street Design Guide, created by Global Designing Cities Initiative, NACTO and IslandPress, gives an overview on how to plan and design streets in urban areas. One chapter is specifically dedicated to pedestrians and to how streets can be designed for people.
Walking Strategy Guides
- Developing a Walking Strategy by Victoria Walks
- Designed for councils, this guide created by Victoria Walks will give you an overview on how to develop a walking strategy in your city. It outlines how walking strategies can be built and puts an emphasis on collecting the necessary information and getting support outside the council as well.
- Creating Walkable and Bikeable Communities
- As walking is the most fundamental form of transportation, this user guide, created jointly by the Initiative for Bicycle & Pedestrian Innovation and alta, gives step-by-step tips on how to plan for pedestrians and cyclists.
- Walk this way! A Guide for Developing Community and Individual Walking Programs
- The American Council for Exercise is a leading non-profit and health organisation. They created this guide to put a focus on how walking can benefit individuals and communities. The publication specifically gives advice on how to create safe and effective walking programs, and how walking can become a sustainable habit.
Guides on Pedestrian Safety
- Pedestrian Safety: A Road Safety Manual for Decision-makers and Practitioners
- A handbook, created by World Health Organization, describes how to prepare an action plan, and how to design and implement effective safety protocols for pedestrians. It also describes the risks of pedestrians, the number of accidents, etc.
- European Road Safety Observatory Report on Pedestrians
- This report by the European Commission on road safety gives an overview of important research questions and focuses specifically on safety issues for pedestrians. The report also consists of a chapter about countermeasures, including topics like land use planning and road design.
Creating a walking or pedestrian strategy is a complex issue but can really help with advancing the topic in your city. While a strategy is not a guarantee for implementation, and some leading cities have excelled without them, these examples can definitely inspire.
To give you an idea of what those strategies can look like, and what different cities did to improve walking, we’ve gathered some English-language examples for you.
- Copenhagen’s vision is to become the world’s most liveable city and a metropolis built for people. For this, they plan on designing the city in a way that residents choose to work and move around more actively in their daily lives.
- The overall transport strategy for London aims for 80% of all journeys to be made on foot, by cycle or using public transport by 2041, as well as all Londoners to achieve at least two ten-minute periods of active travel per day. To hit these targets, the Walking Action plan was launched (following the 2004 version), envisioning London to be the world’s most walkable city.
- New York
- New York’s Vision Zero of 2015 is a pedestrian safety action plan. As traffic casualties are high in New York, especially affecting pedestrians, the city’s administration developed this plan with the aim to eliminate these fatalities.
- The Australian city released this pedestrian strategy in 2017. At this point, only 15% of all trips within the local government area were by foot. Hence, the pedestrian strategy aims to improve infrastructure and change the pedestrians’ behaviour.
- Portland’s first Pedestrian Strategy goes back to 1998 – and was recently adapted in 2019. The focus lies on prioritising development in areas with the greatest historic underinvestment, connecting walking with people’s daily needs, vision zero, public safety, and personal security. Get a taste of the 300-page document in our article on learnings from Portland.
- Rotterdam hosted the International Conference on Walking and Liveable Communities together with Walk21 in 2019. After this event, Rotterdam was inspired to keep on working towards becoming a pedestrian-friendly city and consequently developed their Walking Strategy Rotterdam Walks 2025. Check it out to read more about their objectives and planned measures to create an attractively walkable city. Learn more about Rotterdam’s experience in turning momentum into policy here.
- San Francisco
- As of the creation of this strategy in 2013, San Francisco was the most walkable city in North America. Still, San Francisco is aiming to make walking more attractive, reducing pedestrian injuries and the number of short trips taken by car.
- This document is no walking strategy, but rather an overall transport vision of the South Korean capital. The city is aiming for a full paradigm shift where pedestrians will be prioritised over cars and efficiency, sustainability, equity, and economic needs will be the focus.
- Vienna has a rather high pedestrian share (27% as of 2014, when the paper was published) but is still aiming to get more people to walk. They are pursuing a long-term vision zero like New York and focusing on the community aspect of walking as well.
Looking for more examples? Here’s a more extensive list of walking strategies worldwide (the website is german, but you can find different strategies in other languages).