Transport and Covid-19: responses and resources

Improving the Quality of Walking and Cycling in Cities

This report examines the current conditions of walking and cycling in cities. It reviews the literature on the potential benefits of active mobility, highlighting the importance of moving away from car-centric development. It also explores how cities developed into car-centric environments, with a particular focus on moto-normative assumptions. The report offers recommendations for re-centring mobility spaces on people to improve the quality, enjoyment, utility and safety of active mobility. 

This report draws on the deliberations of an ITF Roundtable, Increasing Cycling and Walking in Urban Mobility

Policy Insights

  • Overcome car-centric thinking. Decades of car-centric development have made its assumptions the unquestioned norm. As a result of this “moto-normativity”, risks and harms from motor vehicles may be accepted when they are unacceptable in other contexts. Many cities have begun to question this approach.
  • Think beyond infrastructure. Focusing on infrastructure is not enough to ensure pedestrians and cyclists will feel safe and secure and enjoy walking and cycling. Policies must also target street violence, social disadvantage and other factors.
  • Redesign planning processes. Processes for transport investments have traditionally prioritised car-centric options. A vision-led approach can provide the basis for redesigning these processes, and help ensure active travel contributes to more inclusive, sustainable cities. Work in progress across a number of cities worldwide suggests such a shift is possible.

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