What's Driving London's Walking Boom?

London has always been a pedestrian-friendly city. But over the last decade the number of daily trips taken on foot in the city jumped by 12 percent, while walking declined nationwide. What explains the capital's pedestrian popularity?

August 5, 2013, 7:00 AM PDT

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


London Crowded Street

Gary J. Wood / flickr

"One of the largest changes in the city over the past decade is the number of pedestrians, says Michèle Dix of Transport for London (TfL), which runs the city’s transport networks." 

"Several reasons account for the walking boom," explains The Economist. These include population growth, overcrowded subways, improved wayfinding, pedestrian-friendly street designs, and health campaigns.   

"But the capital is bucking the national trend," The Economist adds. "Although in 2011 walking was up across the country, it has seen an overall decline of 27% in Britain since 1995. This is partly caused by fewer children walking to school. And while rural rambles are still popular, fewer people are walking to their weekly grocery shop. Many more are shopping online. Local authorities want to change this. Pedestrians spend an average of £373 ($571) a month, compared with £226 for drivers, according to data from TfL. Ailing high streets and town centres need to win back walkers. Learning from London’s incentives would be a start."


Saturday, August 3, 2013 in The Economist

A group of people gather in front of a row of small homes.

Georgia's First Tiny Home Village Now Open, and Sold Out

Eight single-family houses on a half-acre of land.

July 25, 2021 - Urbanize Atlanta

Adams Morgan pedestrian zone during COVID-19 pandemic

The Most Complete Map of U.S. Pedestrian Risk Yet

New research published by the Journal of Transport and Land Use analyzes tens of thousands of pedestrian fatalities over 16 years in the United States.

July 20, 2021 - Streetsblog USA

Tall buildings in Downtown Phoenix.

Arizona's Tallest Building Will Soon Be Vacant

The tallest building in the Grand Canyon State will enter a new era.

July 21, 2021 - KJZZ

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.