Here’s how to increase the number of pedestrians

Pedestrians in London earlier this year.

Pedestrians in London earlier this year.

London is experiencing a walking boom, according to The Economist. Over the last 10 years, the number of daily walking trips has increased by 12 percent and many people are using longer walks as a mode of transportation.

This is fantastic and something I witnessed first hand earlier this summer. It’s great for everyone for the obvious health, environmental and transportation-related reasons. So how can other cities, particularly those in Utah, replicate this success?

The article mentions a population increase, health campaigns, and pedestrian infrastructure improvements as contributing factors. It goes on,

These include a scheme to create clearly-marked maps for use across the city. Of 33 boroughs in London 22 now have the distinctive yellow-branded signs on their streets. All TfL-owned property (such as Tube stations and bicycle-hire points) is covered by the scheme. This deters tourists from popping on the Tube to travel one stop from Covent Garden to Leicester Square, a distance of 0.3m (0.5km) says Tony Armstrong of Living Streets, a charity for pedestrians.

So in other words, wayfinding is helping. Here’s what that looks like:

IMG_1208

None of these things should be impossible for cities along the Wasatch Front, especially cities anchoring metro areas like Provo, Salt Lake, and Ogden. On the other hand, if our coming population boom moves out to the suburbs, we’ll have lost one of those key ingredients for increasing walking trips.

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