The growing demand for passenger and goods transport is creating congestion, safety and environmental problems in urban areas. A switch to walking and cycling offers the potential to reduce such impacts while improving health and city life.
The goal of the project has been to show how short car trips can be replaced by walking and cycling. This has addressed three stakeholder groups in particular:
- road users, who could replace their short car trips;
- employers, who could support/stimulate and benefit from a modal change by their employees;
- authorities and policy-makers, who can influence modal split by changing frame conditions.
The project has produced an evaluation tool available in the form of interactive software. This is intended for use by city authorities in assessing the preconditions for walking and cycling in a certain area, and as a support when developing measures. It provides:
- an inventory of solutions;
- a structured checklist of all relevant aspects to be considered;
- practical guidance on implementation, with examples of successful initiatives;
- advice on how to motivate change.
The project has provided practical support for stakeholders seeking change, such as:
- incentive and communication strategies;
- briefings and counter-arguments to assist proponents of walking and cycling in meeting the anticipated barriers/opposition;
- advice on lobbying - which is particularly important given that pedestrians currently lack an organised lobbying movement.
In a survey of European cities, the most common measures were found to be the extension and improvement of pedestrian areas and cycle lanes.
The promotion of walking and cycling primarily requires policy action. Parking restrictions in inner city areas and improvements in public transport are commonly seen as important. Infrastructure measures to improve facilities for walking and cycling are also emphasised by city planners, together with public relations measures such as providing maps of the cycle network and communicating the availability of new facilities.
Three incentive strategies are proposed by WALCYNG:
- incentives, such as tax reductions for employers to establish mobility management plans for their employees;
- incentives for the general public, such as Car Free Days and reduced entry fees;
- direct incentives to employees, such as taxation of parking spaces.
A particular policy concern would be the increase in accidents if walking and cycling were promoted without corresponding action to enhance safety levels for walkers and cyclists. One of the most important measures recommended is to ensure a maximum speed of 30 kph on streets where walkers and cyclists are present.
The project recommends public support for pilot and demonstration projects, particularly to assess integrated packages of measures. Co-operation with big companies and institutions would be important here.