Impacts of walking in the open

Walking has a special role in the transport system. It is an inexpensive mode of transport available to most. Even if the main mode of travel is another mode, almost every trip includes walking at the beginning of the trip to, for example, a car park or a transit stop and at the end to the final destination. The city of Helsinki has several projects related to the promotion of walking as a mode of transport. For example, the Helsinki Mobility Development Program (2015) pays attention to walking as a mode of transport, and exploring the expansion of the pedestrian zone is part of Helsinki’s strategy for 2017–2021. The growing importance of walking has also created a need for a better understanding of walking as a mode of transport, the impact of transport projects and the urban environment on the prevalence of walking, and the multifaceted economic and transport implications of walking.

The recently published study “Assessment of the effects of walking in transport systems planning” commissioned by the city of Helsinki examined what and to what extent the effects of walking are based on the literature and which factors influence the choice of walking as a mode of transport. In addition, it has been explored how the evaluation of walking projects could be developed and more strongly integrated into project evaluation. The main shortcomings in the evaluation of walking projects are the lack of modeling methods with appropriate accuracy and unit values ​​for cost-benefit analysis. The report provides recommendations for piloting assessment methods, developing assessment tools, and experimental design and research.

If the impact of projects and measures on walking are not assessed, assessments that support decision-making and planning may exclude significant impacts.

The report is out now (in Finnish):