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Transport for London Backs Increased Pedestrianisation for COVID Economic Recovery

30 October 2020

Research from Transport for London shows that people who walk to the high street spend 40 per cent more over a month than people who drive.

Walking and cycling can also increase retail sales by up to 30 per cent, suggesting that the temporary pedestrianisation of key city-centre locations due to COVID-19 may actually aid the country's economic recovery.


Research has consistently shown the benefits walking and cycling has on the local high streets and the wider economy."

–Transport for London Spokesperson




Increasing Outdoor Seating Capacity to Allow for Social Distancing


The UK’s city centres have been undoubtedly affected by our new COVID-secure social behaviours, from the rule of six to social distancing. In an effort to encourage footfall on our struggling high streets, there has been an increase in temporary pedestrianisation in key locations.  

Increasing outdoor seating capacity for struggling bars and restaurants and tailoring walking space to allow social distancing are just two planning strategies.  

A spokesperson from Transport for London told us that as London continues to tackle coronavirus, new travelling habits will need to be established:  

“Our Streetspace for London plan is creating more space on the streets so people can safely walk or cycle while social distancing. Because of the need to adapt at speed the emphasis has been on temporary and experimental schemes.

“However, if the number of trips taken by private vehicles increases, London will grind to a halt, with essential deliveries and emergency services stuck in gridlock, and air pollution levels will increase.   

“An initial 1,500 extra cycle parking spaces have been installed across London, focused around busy areas like high streets and transport hubs. Since May, we’ve delivered more than 60km of new and improved cycle lanes and reallocated 22,500m2 of road space to people walking.

“In the short term, our active travel planning will enable Londoners to maintain the social distancing that is required to prevent an increase in coronavirus infections. It will also enable Londoners to get the daily physical activity that is recommended for good health.

Research has consistently shown the benefits walking and cycling has on the local high streets and the wider economy. People who walk to the high street have been shown to spend 40 per cent more over a month than people who drive.”


How Does Transport for London Take Security into Account When Planning Pedestrianised Areas?


We recently reported on the security implications of widespread pedestrianisation, particularly as large numbers of pedestrians gathered in a confined area can increase the threat of vehicle-as-a-weapon attacks.

The TfL spoksperson told us:

“All the London Streetspace temporary projects and plans are considered by a Security Review Panel, which brings together TfL security experts and Police Counter-Terrorism Security Advisers. The panel reviews proposals and makes recommendations on how security measures (if required) are blended into the streetscape.

“Permanent TfL schemes all go through a multi-agency threat and vulnerability risk assessment process to determine recommended proportionate protective measures. Our team of specialists work with scheme designers to ensure that the resultant schemes are attractive, welcoming and in keeping with the heritage and local design. As far as is feasible we incorporate protection in ways that are not obvious, thus creating safe spaces that do not look like fortresses.”

Picture: an area of road with Streetspace for London signage

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 30 October 2020


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