Healthy Streets – that sounds like something we would all like to see, right?!
28 Jul 21
It is clear that being more active and healthy is only going to improve our lives and living conditions, and what better opportunity to help achieve this than our own transport system. Get this right, design streets accordingly, and the benefits will come. It just needs everyone to be on the same page – simple right?
That’s what TfL think, hence their launch of the Healthy Streets in Transport Assessments (TA) guidance a little over two years ago. Iceni Transport recently spoke with Gavin McLaughlin from TfL all about the topic and the role that it plays in TAs. We have provided an overview below, but you can watch the full conversation in our vlog this Friday (30th).
TfL’s concept of Healthy Streets, alongside Vision Zero (which has a bold target of eradicating all deaths or serious injuries from London’s transport network by 2041), places a focus on how people travel within the local walking & cycling neighbourhood (the Active Travel Zone), and provides the framework for transport policy within the new London Plan. They see it is as critical to the future of London’s built environment, making it a key consideration for those wanting to develop or regenerate sites in the capital.
The pandemic has no doubt interrupted the progress of Healthy Street’s, however, this has also resulted in other factors which improve the health of our streets coming to the forefront; the establishment of numerous low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs), school-streets and a huge increase in the number of 20mph roads in London compared to pre-Covid, to name a few. The majority of these were emergency measures, so how do we make sure the improvements are permanently implemented and the ability to make healthy lifestyle choices through the way we travel remain?
From talking with Gavin, it is clear that digitalisation is key. Mapping will help to establish what improvements should be implemented and where, as well as help with consultation on these changes (highly important as we have seen with the implementation of LTNs). But perhaps most importantly, digitalisation will also help with funding. From our experience with Healthy Streets and ATZs so far it is pretty clear that sourcing funding / responsibility for the suggested improvements is the main restriction, so if mapping can help joint-funding, and allow easier allocation of TfL budgets, local borough CIL, pooled local developer contributions etc then they are much more likely to go ahead, and all stakeholders will be able to see the benefits in contributing. Signs of this digitalisation are already coming; the Planning London Datahub (https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/planning/digital-planning/planning-london-datahub) is building a single open data set of development proposals in the planning process, and the Healthy Streets Scorecard (https://www.healthystreetsscorecard.london/) provides a league table to show how different Boroughs are taking the Healthy Streets concept on-board.
It is clear that being more active and healthier is only going to improve our lives and living conditions, and what better opportunity to help achieve this than our own transport system. Get this right, design streets accordingly, and the benefits will come. It just needs everyone to be on the same page – simple right?