The general principles of the 1956 proposal Design of First Pedestrian-Oriented New Town in the UK clearly influenced London County Council’s plans by Graeme Shankland for urban renewal in the London suburb of Boston Manor in 1958 and Hook New Town in 1961, by Rolf Rosner for Neu-Winsen in West Germany in 1960, and by Hugh Wilson for Cumbernauld New Town in 1961.
Norman Fowler, Transport Secretary, acknowledged the importance of the study The potential of non-motorised transport for promoting health and instructed his Department in 1980 “to produce the first-ever discussion paper on pedestrian policy”.
Peter Bottomley, Minister of Transport, 27 April 1986 – “Road planners must reduce their preoccupation with motor traffic and give pedestrians a fairer deal. Pedestrians have become the Cinderellas of road use”.
National Consumer Council published a report, What’s Wrong with Walking?, in 1988 on the role of walking in policy and practice and the need for change in that regard. In subsequent years, Transport 2000 developed its Feet First campaign, and the Pedestrians Association its Walk 21 project (supported by the DoE) “to get people back on their feet”.
The links between policy on transport and health were the subject of several research studies. Evidence based on these was given to a House of Commons Select Committee Inquiry on Preventive Medicine in 1976, and conference papers on the links in 1988 and more recently. Inter alia, the papers highlighted the positive role that walking and cycling can play in health promotion. Its scope is so considerable as to strongly indicate that it should be given pride of place in the mechanised transport hierarchy going well beyond simply treating them as modes of transport deserving more consideration in the allocation of public resources.
The Public Health Alliance published the Transport and Health Study Group’s report Health on the Move in 1990, drawing heavily on the paper The potential of non-motorised transport for promoting health.
DoE/DoT PPG 13 in 1994 refers to the Government 1992 Health of the Nation white paper targets concerned with the health benefits of physical activity and states: “The creation of safer areas for pedestrians and cyclists can help to ensure the promotion of physical activity … and make a contribution to meeting the government’s objectives.”
Kenneth Calman, Chief Medical Officer, June 1994 – sets out a 20-point plan towards a healthier lifestyle, including more cycling and walking.
Robert Key, Minister of Transport, June 1994 – sets out a blueprint for the promotion of cycling as a form of transport.
Virginia Bottomley, Secretary of State for Health, 13 June 1994, introducing the Health of the Nation report – “Cycling is not only an effective means of transport but an excellent prescription for better health”, and in the Targets in the Health of the Nation White Paper: “Cycling has a major part to play in reducing the incidence of coronary heart disease and stroke.”
Government New Cycling Policy, Summer 1994 – “There is no doubt that cycling is an important form of transport. It is economical and efficient for local journeys, environmentally friendly and healthy.”
Steven Norris, Minister of Transport, Press Notice on 7 June 1995 – “The intention is to create a National Cycling Strategy to promote cycle use … to ensure that cycling is placed more centrally in planning local transport strategies.”
Further afield, the Cycling Advocates’ Network of NZ (CAN) has endorsed the “groundbreaking work of Mayer Hillman”.
John Gummer, Secretary of State for the Environment, June 1995 launches project on “cities for pedestrians”.
Steven Norris, Transport Minister, sets up the National Walking Strategy Forum in January 1996.
John Bowis, Minister of Traffic (PN 280) in 1996 urges Britain “to take walking seriously and reverse its decline as an alternative to the car for short local journeys”.
Glenda Jackson, Transport Minister in 1997, urges local authorities to give priority to walking.
The concept of a continuous pedestrian network has been adopted in such places as Camden in London and in York.
Since Mayer Hillman and Anne Whalley wrote ‘Walking is Transport’ for the Policy Studies Institute back in 1979, British transport planning has continued to ignore or at best pay lip service to the role of feet in getting people around. Even in the Green Party, campaigning for improvements in public transport can lead us to forget to emphasise human-powered transport as Councillor Rupert Read, Transport Spokesperson for the Norwich Green Party has described.
The primary means of reducing serious head injury among cyclists is to create an environment in which accidents are less likely to occur. In spite of strong pressure from the British Medical Association and the road safety lobby, the Government has not legislated to do so.
Some of the themes contained in the 1956 proposal Design of First Pedestrian-Oriented New Town in the UK form part of the DEFRA brief in 2007 for submissions for the development of the government’s eco-towns.
Since the publication of the report on the efficacy of helmet wearing by cyclists, numerous attempts have been made to introduce legislation making it mandatory, by bodies such as the British Medical Association, Headway (the brain injury association), and by MPs at Westminster, but without success.