If David Letterman had a top ten list for the benefits of investing in pedestrian projects, it might look like this.
The list comes from UK Living Streets, a “national charity that stands up for pedestrians. With our supporters we work to create safe, attractive streets where people want to walk.” Earlier this year the group issued a report, “Making the Case for Investment in the Walking Environment.”
1. Improved user experience (often referred to as ‘journey ambience’)
2. Reduced road collisions
3. Reduced congestion, fuel and other costs
4. Reduced noise and air pollution
5. Reduced carbon dioxide emissions
6. Health benefits from a more physically active population
7. Greater accessibility to facilities and services
8. Increased social capital
9. Increased economic activity
10. Reduced public costs of providing transport infrastructure and services
On second thought, I think Letterman’s writers would have to tweak the language a little bit.
“Researched by a multi-disciplinary team of experts from the University of the West of England and Cavill Associates, the report brings together and evaluates the multiple health, economic, social and environmental benefits of investment in walking friendly public spaces.
It draws on inspiring case studies of schemes which have resulted in safer and more attractive public places in neighbourhoods and city centres in the UK and elsewhere.”
“Key findings include:
- Investing in walking environments can support local economies by increasing footfall, improving accessibility and attracting new business and events
- Investment in the walking environment is likely to be of equal or better value for money than other transport projects
- Retailers and residents express a willingness to pay for improvements to the walking environment, while good quality public realm increases the value of both residential and commercial property
- Residents of walking friendly neighbourhoods are less likely to be depressed or to have poor mental or physical health
- People walk more when they feel their neighbourhood is safe, well maintained and lively, while increased walking in a neighbourhood is associated with better perceptions of safety and greater social interaction.”
Larry Ehl is the founder and publisher of Transportation Issues Daily. In the public sector, Larry was Federal Relations Manager for Washington State DOT; Chief of Staff to US Senator Slade Gorton; and was twice elected to the Edmonds School Board.