Transport for London (TfL) has announced a new borough-level programme to help reduce road danger, encourage safe travel by public transport and increase the number of people walking and cycling across the capital. A new team of 16 Healthy Streets Officers will work across London's boroughs to reduce school-run traffic, discourage engine idling and enable people to walk, cycle and use public transport more often.
They will tackle road danger by responding to local road safety concerns and will support boroughs with local initiatives to raise awareness of new Cycleways.
In addition, they will promote training to improve cycle safety, as well as encouraging people to use public transport. The programme, managed by the charity Sustrans, will also support boroughs with London-wide events including World Car Free Day, Walk to Work Week and Road Safety Week.
It is part of TfL's wider programme, working with boroughs to reduce road danger and improve air quality by creating greener, cleaner and healthier places.
The programme is being funded through TfL's Healthy Streets budget and is on top of the Liveable Neighbourhoods grants of between £1m and £10m for boroughs to transform local neighbourhoods. Alex Williams, Director of City Planning at TfL, said: "Partnering with the boroughs is absolutely vital if we are to reduce road danger and improve air quality, and transform London into an active, healthy and green city.
"Our new team of Healthy Streets Officers will closely collaborate with the London borough teams to engage with schools, businesses and communities across the capital and encourage safe and sustainable ways to travel." Matt Winfield, Sustrans' London Director, said: "We are very excited to have been chosen by Transport for London to deliver this change programme and to be setting up a team of Healthy Streets Officers to work across all London boroughs.
"It is a wide-ranging programme that will make our capital a great place to walk and cycle. "We look forward to working with partners old and new to make this project a success. Our work is based on evidence that we gather from robust academic research in behaviour change, community engagement and listening to residents.
"We have an extremely strong alliance with Lucy Saunders and Tiffany Lam and are ready to help put Healthy Streets front and centre of communities right across the capital." The programme will begin in Redbridge in the coming weeks, before being expanded out to the remaining boroughs and the City of London in the autumn. The initiative will help boroughs achieve the Mayor's ambitious Transport Strategy goals, including the aim to have 80 per cent of London's journeys made by walking, cycling or public transport by 2041.
This will improve Londoners' health, help tackle congestion and will play a vital role in tackling our air quality crisis. For this programme, Sustrans has teamed up with Lucy Saunders, the public health specialist who worked with TfL and the GLA to implement Healthy Streets in London.
The Healthy Streets Approach puts people and their health at the centre of decisions about design, management and use of public spaces.
Lucy will support TfL's officers and Sustrans to apply the Healthy Streets Approach so they can enable more Londoners to walk and cycle for their everyday journeys. The charity is also working in partnership with inclusive cycling expert Tiffany Lam to address disparities in cycling (for example, based on gender, race or socioeconomic class) and to ensure that the delivery of Healthy Streets is inclusive by design, and therefore appropriate for London's diverse population.
Her research and expertise, paired with TfL's network of Healthy Streets Officers, will help create a step change in how people travel in London. Lucy Saunders, Transport and Public Health Specialist, said: "I am delighted to partner with Sustrans on this venture.
"They are well-placed to deliver this work for TfL because they were early champions of Healthy Streets and have a huge amount of experience in working with communities to transform London's streets into places people want to spend time and are proud to call home." Tiffany Lam, Inclusive Cycling Expert, said: "I am looking forward to working with Sustrans to help make cycling and walking feel like an easy, everyday thing for all Londoners.
"Walking and cycling are the best ways to experience cities, and enable you to connect with where you live, work or go to school in a social and enjoyable way.
"Sustrans has expertise in collaborative design, managing complex infrastructure projects across borough boundaries, and delivering a range of behaviour change programmes, which strongly positions it to take the lead in making London's streets healthier and more liveable." This new programme comes at a time when London is seeing the highest cycling numbers on record. Last year saw the biggest increase in the amount of cycling in London since records began, with a daily average of 4 million kilometres cycled in 2018. This is five per cent higher than in 2017.
Image(cropped): Source; Flickr
Image: Author; Sludge G