Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by Derek Turner Esq Director, Street Management, Transport for London (WTC 85)


  1.1  I was appointed to the position of Director of Street Management, Transport for London in October 2000. From 1991 until then I was Traffic Director for London.

  1.2  Transport for London is responsible for developing and managing the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN), 550 km of London's strategic road network including all existing red routes and 38 km of other roads, including some of motorway standard. I am charged with implementing the Mayor's Transport Strategy (1), with specific responsibilities for improving streets for all users—particularly pedestrians, bus users, cyclists and people with disabilities.

  1.3  This evidence is written from a London perspective. It covers the experience gained from implementing the Red Route schemes from 1991 until 2000 (two, attached), the proposals for further developments on the TLRN and for pedestrianising other roads, and it deals with the implications for walking of the Mayor's Transport Strategy.


  2.1  London-wide, people make seven million journeys on foot every day. Walking is vital in four different roles:-

  Complete journeys—In Inner London about 45 per cent of all journeys are made entirely on foot, and walking accounts for about a quarter of all London's journeys.

  Access to other modes—Walking is necessary for the use of other modes including public transport and access to car parks.

  Circulation/Exchange—Includes window shopping, meeting people, children's play, interfaces between shops, cafes and the street and a wide range of public space activities that cannot be described as travel.

  Recreation/Leisure/Exercise—Where the purpose is simply to go for a walk.


  3.1  Better walking environments make a contribution to better towns and cities. The main benefits are:-

    —  Walking is sustainable. It uses less space per person than any other mode, burns no fossil fuel, and produces no harmful emissions. It can accommodate peaks in use more easily and at less cost than any other mode.

    —  Walking is healthy. The White Paper "Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation" 1999 showed how important it is for people to keep physically active, especially as more people have sedentary occupations. The health benefits of walking are a reduced risk of heart diseases, osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer of the colon and depression and anxiety (3). Walking enables exercise to be taken as part of the normal daily routine.

    —  Walking contributes to the development of communities. What takes place on the pavements is an important part of civic, social, commercial and political life.

    —  Walking can help reduce car use by attracting more journeys to walk/public transport with the benefits of reduced car use—air pollution, traffic noise, road crashes and the deaths and injuries that accompany them.

    —  Walking promotes social inclusion. Walking is available to nearly everybody, regardless of gender, ethnicity, education or income. Providing good conditions for walking is important in order to reduce social division and on grounds of equity.


  4.1  Nationally there has been a 24 per cent reduction in the distance people walk in the 21 years from 1975-76 to 1996-97 (4). This decline has prompted a number of initiatives including "Encouraging Walking" (5) and this Inquiry. The picture nationally is not uniform. For example census returns show that trips on foot to work grew in York by 6 per cent between 1981 and 1991 and by lesser amounts in Norwich and Brighton (3).

  4.2  Data on walking in London is inadequate but what there is suggests that the decline in London is less marked than nationally. A study commissioned by the London Planning Advisory Committee and published in 1996 (6) examined a number of data sources. The National Travel Survey data for London showed that between 1975-76 and 1992-93 (the most recent for which data was available) walking fell from 36 per cent to 34 per cent of all trips in Greater London. In contrast walking by residents in Inner London appears to have increased by about 15 per cent between 1985-86 and 1991-93.


  5.1  The decline in walking is associated with the increase in car ownership and use. Nationally from 1975-76 to 1996-97 the distance travelled by walk fell by 24.3 per cent to 193 miles per year per person while the distance travelled by car increased by 65.4 per cent to 5,292 miles per year per person (4).

  5.2.  Planning laws have facilitated the geographical dispersal that has accompanied a period of relatively cheap fuel and growing car ownership and use. Many people have responded to this by relocating their homes and jobs so that they require a car for many or all of their household's travel needs.

  5.3  The increase in walking in York, Norwich and Brighton referred to above are in cities that have high-density cores, inner residential neighbourhoods with significant lengths of traffic-free pedestrian routes and authorities with strong pro-pedestrian policies (3).

  5.4  The analysis of walking in London (6) showed that residents in Outer London with higher incomes, higher car ownership, less congested roads and easier parking undertake about twice the number of car journeys as residents in Inner London. Inner London residents on the other hand undertake 73 per cent more walk trips. The walking share for the journey to work between 1971 and 1991 declined slowly in Inner London from 19 per cent to 13 per cent. In Outer London the decline was sharper from 15 per cent to 9 per cent.

  5.5  People appear to choose the car for journeys that could easily be made on foot. In London in the morning peak 15 per cent of car trips are less than a kilometre (6). In the same period 18 per cent of car trips are people taking children to school, of which 49 per cent are less than 1.0 km. Over the whole day 38 per cent of car trips are less than 2.5 km. These figures demonstrate the considerable potential for a transfer of relatively short trips from car to foot.

  5.6  It is difficult to draw absolute conclusions from the data. My view, based on the available evidence and over 20 years experience working in transport in London is that the following factors contribute to undermining walking:-

    —  Availability of private transport—the vehicle, road space and parking space.

    —  Declining public transport—with walking playing a key role as an access mode.

    —  Low density developments that increase travel distance beyond walking length.

    —  Barriers to walking—which I discuss below.


  6.1  Walking is extremely sensitive to distance so that a dominant factor is the design and location of activities. The planning process needs to minimise the distance people need to travel and promote walking by raising densities in urban areas, locating activities at public transport centres and promoting mixed uses. Other factors that have been identified as barriers to walking include:

    —  A poor quality pedestrian environment covering inadequate footway widths and maintenance standards, excessive gradients, absent or inadequate pedestrian crossings, litter, dog fouling, ugly street scenes, lack of seating, public toilets, signing and information, standing water leading to splashing.

    —  Inadequate pedestrian safety including too many accidents and fear of accidents, obstructions on the footway, inadequate or poorly maintained lighting, illegal cycling on footways, absent or inadequate pedestrian crossings (3, MORI 1995 and National Consumer Council 1998).

    —  Inadequate personal security including fear of assault, people hanging about, poor lighting, places for strangers to hide, lonely places, drunks, subways and alleyways, uneven pavements, pavement parking by cars and cycling on the footway, busy roads and faster traffic (9).

  6.2  There has been a negative spiral of journeys transferring from walking to car, leading to more car traffic which worsens conditions for the pedestrian. Additional traffic has led to road widening with longer crossing distances by foot. In some areas subways have been introduced to segregate traffic and these are unattractive for pedestrians for security and other reasons. High volumes of traffic have prevented the provision of full pedestrian phases (green man) at some traffic light controlled intersections. The higher traffic flows have also led to worsening air pollution which has made walking less pleasant down busy streets—this creates a vicious circle as more people drive rather than walk.

  6.3  The fear of road danger prevents many people from making local journeys, and encourages parents to prevent their children from going about on foot, instead substituting car escort trips for their children's walking trips.


  7.1  In London for 1999 (the latest year for which data is available) pedestrians made up 19.7 per cent of the total casualties from road accidents but accounted for 30.4 per cent of the seriously injured casualties and 51.1 per cent of the fatalities (7).

  7.2  In 1987 the Secretary of State for Transport set a single national target of a one third reduction in casualties by the year 2000 from the 1981-1985 base level. The total pedestrian casualties in 1999 were 31.3 per cent fewer than in 1981-1985 base level. The equivalent change for all casualties was only 15.3 per cent.

  7.3  The high number of pedestrian casualties and the severity of their injuries reflect their vulnerability to injury from motorised vehicles. Accidents involving pedestrians are a matter of great concern for the Mayor and for Transport for London. London's Draft Inner Road Safety Plan (8) has recently been released for consultation. In this document specific targets have been identified for a reduction of 40 per cent in the number of killed and seriously injured pedestrians by the year 2010. The Plan sets out a framework for joint work to achieve this including more and better pedestrian crossing facilities on the TLRN and a range of measures to reduce excessive and inappropriate speeds and to introduce Home Zones that will assist pedestrians.


  8.1  My job from 1991 to 2000 was to oversee the design and implementation of traffic management measures on London's Red Route Network, as well as to monitor the operation of the network and to maintain the Red Route signs and lines. The objectives I was set to do this work by the Government included the following that are relevant for walking, amongst others:-

    —  Facilitate the movement of people and goods in London—reliably and safely and with the minimum overall environmental impact.

    —  Encourage walking.

    —  Provide better conditions for people with disabilities.

    —  Improve the local environment and reduce the impact of congestion.

    —  Contribute to London's targets for reduced traffic accidents and road vehicle emissions.

    —  Support reduced car commuting, especially into or across Inner London.

  8.2  Typical examples of Red Route benefits include new and improved bus lanes, extra and improved pedestrian crossings, new cycle lanes, free parking spaces for orange Badge Holders and new trees.

  8.3  For many years those planning London's roads neglected the needs of the pedestrian. As Traffic Director for London I worked towards redressing the balance to make sure London's roads cater for all road users.

  8.4  Many physical measures are standard features on Red Routes—for example:-

    —  Decent pavements without steep kerbs or slopes.

    —  Removal of obstructions and unnecessary street furniture, such as by using cranked poles for traffic signal heads to give more space to pedestrians.

    —  Safe crossings.

    —  Good lighting.

    —  Pleasant rest areas.

    —  Reflective bands on street furniture.

  8.5  One key feature of the Red Routes is the side road entry treatment. This involves raising the level of the road to that of the footway, to make crossing easier, and widen the footways to reduce the crossing distance. Such measures given greater priority to pedestrians in addition to reducing the speed of vehicles entering and existing side roads. A summary of some of the individual schemes is given in an appendix to this report.

  8.6  Key achievements of the programme for pedestrians along the 512 km of the Red Routes (2) include:

    —  607 New signalled pedestrian crossings on the Red Route.

    —  1,040 Side road entry treatments.

    —  924 Dropped kerbs provided.

    —  260 Pedestrian islands/refuges provided.

  8.7  The impact of these measures on pedestrian satisfaction and use is difficult to measure but there have been two indicators that are significant:

    —  A 9 per cent drop in pedestrian accidents where Red Route measures have been in place for more than two years compared with less than 2 per cent reduction in total pedestrian casualties in London in the last two years. (2, 10)

    —  A 12.5 per cent increase in pedestrian flows at shopping centres where Red Route measures had been introduced compared with an 8 per cent reduction at centres where Red Route measures had not been introduced (11).


  9.1  The Mayor of London has recently published his Draft Transport Strategy. In it he recognises that transport is London's most serious problem. The first priority will be to create a world-class transport system which enhances business efficiency, ensures a wider spread of the fruits of economic prosperity and improves the quality of life of every Londoner.

  9.2  The Chapter on promoting walking includes a number of policies and proposals including:-

    —  The Mayor, through Transport for London and the boroughs, will aim to create a connected, safe, convenient and attractive environment which encourages people to walk and enriches their experience of being out and about, making London one of the most walking friendly cities for pedestrians by 2015.

    —  Transport for London, Street Management (TfL, SM) will work with the boroughs and other relevant organisations to ensure the effective promotion and delivery of better conditions for pedestrians.

    —  TfL, SM will progress the World Squares project (described more fully below) with the partial pedestrianisation of Trafalgar Square as the first stage.

    —  TfL, SM and the boroughs will develop north to south and east to west pedestrian routes across the city as an initial step towards a network of routes where pedestrians are given priority.

    —  TfL, SM will adopt five green walking routes; the London Outer Orbital Path, the Capital Ring, the Thames Path National Trail, the Jubilee Walkway and the South-East Green Chain.

    —  TfL, SM, in partnership with the boroughs, will establish streetscape guidelines and set minimum standards for the maintenance and management of London's streets, including repair of footways, signing, avoiding clutter, removing graffiti and rubbish, keeping streets adequately illuminated and the provision of CCTV.

    —  TfL, SM, in conjunction with the boroughs, will develop best practice guidance on audits of pedestrian facilities and accessibility, including issues related to safety and the needs of disabled people.

    —  TfL, SM will introduce a road safety plan that will include a target of a 40 per cent reduction in the number of pedestrians killed or seriously injured by the year 2010.

    —  TfL, SM will consult on the introduction of a congestion charge scheme for Central London to reduce traffic levels by between 10-15 per cent with consequential improvements for pedestrians, cyclists and bus users.


  10.1  Implementing the Mayor's Transport Strategy, after it is finalised and approved, will make a significant improvement for pedestrians in London. The strategy includes the following specific proposals.

  10.2  The Congestion Charging Scheme for Central London. This scheme is proposed in the Draft Strategy, it is subject to extensive consultations before decisions are taken. The scheme involves charging £5 per day for vehicles to enter an area bounded by the Inner Ring Road—roughly the alignment of the Circle Underground Line. The scheme is expected to reduce vehicle flows by between 10 to 15 per cent with an increase in public transport usage, walking and cycling. Benefits for pedestrians include a reduction in traffic flows, with much less incidence of queues of stationary or slow moving traffic with noxious emissions. The reduction in traffic flows will allow for some widening footways and improved road crossings.

  10.3  Initial consultations have shown substantial support from key stakeholders for taking the scheme forward.

  10.4  World Squares for All—Partial pedestrianisation of Trafalgar Square. The Masterplan for World Squares (an area of central London including Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square) was developed in 1998 and adopted after extensive consultation. The first stage of the project is for the partial pedestrianisation of Trafalgar Square, with all vehicular traffic taken away from the northern side of the Square.

  10.5  Trafalgar Square is the hub of London with most of London's defining activities close by. The Square is now a busy traffic gyratory and conditions for pedestrians are poor. It can take up to nine minutes to cross from one side of the Square to the other, with most of the time spent waiting to cross roads. Crossing has to be done in several stages, and space is limited.

  10.6  The scheme will provide two new pedestrian crossings to the south and east of the Square and a new central staircase to link the Square with the new space in front of the National Gallery. The proposals would give pedestrians better access to some of central London's key areas, such as the South Bank, Strand, Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden, Leicester Square and Whitehall.

  10.7  Extending the Red Route approach. The Red Route approach described above will be vigorously applied across the whole of the TLRN, with benefits for pedestrians.


  11.1  The shortages of suitable professional staff in the field of transport planning and traffic management have been clearly identified (12). Recently Street Management has found difficulties in recruiting a wide range of staff. The difficulty is not that professional staff do not have the experience or training necessary to develop and implement pedestrian policies and strategies, but that there are not enough suitable professional staff.

  11.2  The skills necessary to promote walking are not particularly difficult to acquire for a person already qualified at a general level in the field of engineering or planning. However there are too few people coming into these fields. The civil engineering departments of many universities are desperately short of new students to the point where their continued viability is in doubt. Engineering and planning are not popular subjects for young people with talent.

  11.3  The Engineering Council have worked for a number of years seeking to raise the status of engineers to levels that apply in many European countries. The Institution of Civil Engineers has recently set up a working party to address the problem of shortages in skilled staff in the planning and development of the built environment. The Committee could benefit from the findings of this working group when they emerge.


  12.1  The Government has published much useful material to support walking, including guidance and advice. This approach has not been successful in preventing the decline in walking.

  12.2  Land Use. Despite PPG 13 there still appears to be continued development that is not sympathetic to the needs of the pedestrian. Car based retail developments, employment sited away from public transport facilities and low density residential developments without adequate walking facilities and public transport services all undermine walking. Some London boroughs have promoted car-free residential developments but more needs to be done to promote mixed uses in town centres. A study into the effects of PPG 13 was initiated by the DETR but I do not believe that the results have yet been published. There is anecdotal evidence that government offices do not lead the way in restricting parking spaces for their staff and promoting green forms of travel.

  12.3  Funding and implementation. It appears that the allocation of funding does not always support walking. Maintenance standards for footways are not sufficient with far more people admitted to accident and emergency departments from footway falls as are injured in road traffic accidents (13). Maintenance funding needs to be directed more clearly towards footways rather than carriageways.

  12.4  Within Transport for London sufficient funding has been allocated to maintain the TLRN footways to satisfactory standards and priority is given to this type of work.

  All of the London boroughs are required to produce local plans that set out how the boroughs will carry out the Major's Transport Strategy. Guidance for preparing these plans from TfL refers to "Boroughs ... should encourage walking and priority should be attached to addressing pedestrian's needs." Specific guidelines are provided on how boroughs should tackle particularly bad severance points that break up pedestrians' preferred routes and how schemes should be based on audits of existing pedestrian routes that include safety and the needs of disabled people.


  13.1  I am aware that the Advisory Group to "Encouraging Walking" (5) recommended setting national targets including increasing to one third the proportion of journeys where walking is the main mode. Specific targets for walking are difficult. We do not understand enough about the factors affecting walking to be able to forecast the outcomes of actions to promote walking. It is easier to adopt an approach that seeks to halt and then reverse the decline. I believe that monitoring is essential and surveys and assessments of schemes need to cover the numbers of pedestrians.

  13.2  A national strategy could be beneficial. Many of the component parts have been identified in recent publications (1, 3, 5, 6, 9, 14). The strategy could identify the methods of encouragement and sanctions that could be used to ensure that good practice to encourage walking is adopted by all the relevant authorities.

January 2001


  1.  The Mayor's Draft Transport Strategy.

  2.  Pedestrians and People with Disabilities and Red Routes. Traffic Director for London April 2000.

  3.  Guidelines for Providing for Journeys on Foot. The Institution of Highways and Transportation 2000.

  4.  Transport Statistics Bulletin National Travel Survey: 1996-97 Update. DETR August 1999.

  5.  Putting London Back on its Feet, London Planning Advisory Committee and Metropolitan Transport Research Unit September 1996.

  6.  Accidents and Casualties on London's Roads 1999. London Accident Analysis Unit. November 2000.

  7.  London's Draft Interim Road Safety Plan. Street Management, Transport for London, January 2001.

  8.  Personal Safety Issues in Pedestrian Journeys. DETR May 1999.

  9.  Towards the Year 2000. Monitoring Casualties in Greater London. Tel Street Management October 2000.

  10.  Red Routes and Retailing. Results of the 1998 Surveys. Traffic Director for London February 2000.

  11.  What is a Transport Planner? Transport Skills for the New Millennium, the report of High Wenban-Smith and Bill Billington. Kennington Publishing ISBN 1899 62027X.

  12.  DTI 1990 Home and Leisure Accident Research.

  13.  Encouraging walking: advice to local authorities DETR March 2000.

  14.  Designing Streets for People. Consultation draft. The Institution of Civil Engineers. August 2000.

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