Big Data | Emerging Trends | Smart Cities
August 1, 2018

How London aims to use tech to be ‘world’s most walkable city’

By Jonathan Andrews, Cities Today

London is targeting an extra million walking trips a day by 2024 as part of the UK capital’s first walking action plan, of which technology will play a major role.

The city will invest £2.2 billion to redesign streets, install better signposting and maps, and add more pedestrian crossings.

‘“We are committed to creating people friendly, safe streets for all to enjoy.’ – Lilli Matson, Director of Transport Strategy, City Planning, Transport for London

Along with walking, the mayor Sadiq Khan, wants this investment to increase the proportion of people cycling and taking public transport to 80 percent of journeys by 2041, from 63 percent now.

“We are committed to creating people friendly, safe streets for all to enjoy,” Lilli Matson, Director of Transport Strategy, City Planning, Transport for London (TfL), told Cities Today. “To do this, pedestrians, and particularly those who are vulnerable, need to be able to confidently use pavements which are free from unnecessary obstructions.”

TfL will use the lastest technology to implement the plan including pedestrian countdown technology–which lets people know how long they have to cross the road–and SCOOT (Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique). Detectors are used to count the number of people waiting to cross to provide longer and more frequent ‘green’ pedestrian signal times when it is busier.

Matson said that technology and innovations present new opportunities for big data to inform analysis, and that TfL will be engaging with technology developers and app designers to explore partnerships.

“Video analytics could be used to assess how people behave at a new crossing, or data on walking trips could be combined with data on the weather,” she said. “Using technology to track progress and develop the plan over time will play a crucial role in delivering the mayor’s aim for 80 percent of all journeys in London to made by walking, cycling or public transport by 2041.”

Matson revealed that TfL is pursuing a pan-London approach to managing dockless bike operators with London Councils, which could include a new bye-law to ensure that pavements and roads are kept clear. Electric scooter use on pavements and roads is currently illegal in England and Wales.

“It is vital that dockless operators work closely with us and the boroughs to ensure their schemes are safely and responsibly managed, so we can avoid the disruptive and dangerous clutter of abandoned bikes that we have seen in some cities around the world,” she added.

Other aspects of the plan include:

  • Identifying opportunities for new walking trips.
  • Improving walking access to town centres and transport interchanges, including rail and Underground.
  • Reducing the impact of traffic and making local streets better places to walk and spend time.
  • Targeting trips to school, with a focus on reducing car use and increasing walking.

The original version of this article first appeared on Cities Today. Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ITU.

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How London aims to use tech to be 'world’s most walkable city'

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