How pedestrian-friendly is London


The London pedestrian map: “Making London a walkable city”

The City of London in the UK has adopted a major plan to encourage pedestrian traffic. The following six questions were also of interest in Germany for a guideline for municipal walking strategies:

At the end you will find the source.

What were the main reasons and are the goals for the initiative?

The core of the “Vision 2015” plan is: By 2015, London is to become one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities in the world. Walking should then be a preferred choice for people who care about their health and who want to relax. By 2015, London should be pedestrian-friendly, i.e. that the footpaths are safe and that walking is perceived as a pleasant activity.

Is there an implementation decision?

The plan "Making London a walkable city - The Walking Plan for London" was published in 2004.

What are the main goals?

The main objective is to strengthen "functional walking", i.e. walking for a specific purpose (to school, work, shopping or visiting friends). To achieve this overarching goal, the following sub-goals are proposed for all of London:

1. Short term: to stop the decline in daily walks
2. long-term (until 2015):

  • to increase the share of foot traffic in the modal split for distances less than 3.6 km to 10%,
  • - to increase the average number of footpaths per person per year to 10% and
  • To increase London's position as a pedestrian-friendly city in comparison to other world cities, both in terms of the subjective perception of the people, as well as in terms of actually measured conditions.

What are the specific instructions for action?

The action plan is divided into 6 objectives. Each objective has a number of action points. The task of coordinating the work and supporting the successful implementation of every action has been assigned to a "lead agency" (a coordination and management office - this means TfL: Transport for London). In addition, we cooperate with other bodies in order to meet the objectives.

1. Improving coordination and cooperation in developing the walking plan


  • Cooperation with the partners and the population is to be developed and facilitated in every phase of the implementation of the plan, TfL will take over the management for London.
  • Development and establishment of a "London Walking Conference" and awarding of an annual award for the most effective walking initiative / project.


  • Initiative with the government that the needs of pedestrians are taken into account in all relevant legislation.

Training / education:

  • Ensure that pedestrians' needs are adequately addressed in employee training.

2. Promotion of walking

Traffic education:

  • Review of pedestrian teaching materials available in all educational establishments, updating materials if necessary and integrating them into curricula.


  • Developed a website for the TfL with walking information, including a database of London walkway routes and an annual calendar of London walking events and activities.
  • Development and establishment of a quarterly walk / pedestrian newsletter with information on initiatives and activities.
  • - Working with partners to create location-specific information and a route overview.


  • Development of campaigns to support the enforcement and education about the rights of pedestrians and to advertise the positive effects of walking for the individual as well as the general public. People should be encouraged to walk short distances and parts of longer distances.

3. Improving the situation on the roads


  • Completion of the six strategic walking routes, Capital Ring, Jubilee Walkway, Lee Valley Walk, London Outer Orbital Path, Southeast Green Chain and Thames Path.

Street scene:

  • Development of a control and verification method to check public spaces for their suitability for pedestrian systems. This enables an objective assessment of proposals for pedestrian traffic planning as well as a comparative assessment of the pedestrian-friendliness of an area.
  • Development of guidelines for street and urban planning for the TLRN (Transport for London Road Network) by the TfL. In addition, local guidelines should be developed by each district / suburb to document any deviations in terms of styles and materials in order to reflect the local character and local specifics.


  • Developing maintenance and management plans to implement local standards for the disposal of litter, rubbish and graffiti from London's streets.
  • Developing improved coordination and monitoring of road works and ensuring that suitable mitigation measures are applied to keep disruption to pedestrian traffic as low as possible,
  • Ensure adequate maintenance of footpaths. Construction sites should be prioritized according to the intensity of pedestrian use and the degree of deficiencies in the sidewalks; on main roads this will be done by AIMS monitoring.

Measures for specific areas:

  • Implementation of improvements for whole areas, including "streets for people", improvement of local city centers and intersections according to "best practice" guidelines.

Improvement of the accessibility / accessibility of pedestrian facilities:

  • Removal of unnecessary barriers and obstacles in the street to make public spaces accessible. Measures outside the area should include lowered curbs and pavements suitable for the blind in order to provide better access to popular and frequented destinations, especially public transport.
  • Working with the road authorities to enforce sidewalk parking regulations and actively defend against projects that exacerbate this problem.

4. Improvement of development proposals and crossings

  • Assessment of public and private endeavors to ensure planning minimizes crime and security risks and there is adequate pedestrian access.
  • Advising local authorities on the planning system's consideration of pedestrians, monitoring / controlling the implementation of pedestrian improvement measures, the effectiveness of the terms and conventions under Section 106 and making recommendations on how to apply them more efficiently.
  • Development of an improvement program for pedestrian accessibility at intersections with public transport stops in accordance with the “best practice” guidelines, including measures to increase personal safety and improve information and signage.

5. Improving road safety and personal safety

  • Introduction of traffic calming and Tempo 32 zones, where these are the most suitable means to increase pedestrian safety and priority
  • Ongoing support of the “Safe way to school” program in accordance with the requirements of the “best practice” guidelines.
  • Ensuring suitable lighting of the footpaths when planning and maintaining these lighting systems.

6. Implementation of the plan and review


  • Specific advice on the measures created by each Borough Spending Plan. The advice should also provide information on how the pedestrian traffic plans are categorized and assessed.
  • TfL will set up a group to monitor the progress of the plan and provide technical advice on specific areas of responsibility.
  • Development of a qualitative and quantitative business case and monitoring / control framework to ensure the efficient and on-schedule implementation of the walking plan, its objectives and goals.

Is public participation planned?

Before the Walking Plan was published, an extensive public survey was carried out in the course of which many Londoners complained about the difficulties that pedestrians have in London. In particular, these citizens supported measures to reduce traffic congestion and local transport initiatives that encourage people to walk more. In addition, walking was promoted through traffic education and with the help of publications and campaigns.

How are the projects financed?

The implementation of the pedestrian plan requires significant capital requirements at both regional and local levels. Financing is not primarily provided by TfL, but from the “Borough Spending Plan process”. This is the budget available to the boroughs. So that the “Vision 2015” can also be implemented holistically, the available budgetary resources must be secured. Funding can come from a number of pots that the boroughs can access:

  • Travel awareness (for example: conscious choice of means of transport)
  • Safe Routes to School
  • Treatments (measures)
  • Interchange programs
  • Road Safety
  • Accessibility
  • Walking (pedestrian traffic)
  • Highway Maintenance

What has been implemented / achieved so far?

The project was not yet completed at the time of writing.

Sources and Notes:

Transport for London: "Making London a walkable city - The Walking Plan for London" (2004)

The description of the activities for the strategic promotion of pedestrian traffic in the City of London and the associated translation of the document took place at the end of 2017.