Those on two feet or two wheels should be given priority when new roads are built or old ones upgraded, says the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
According to NICE the aim of planners should be to create an environment in which “to get people to be more active in their day-to-day lives by encouraging safe, convenient active travel”.
The organisation also wants priority given to public transport.
NICE says encouraging people to be more active is essential to help tackle looming health problems such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
It is estimated that one in six UK deaths is related to physical inactivity (the same proportion as smoking).
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:
“New road building is rare and where it does take place it is usually associated with housing estates.
“It’s all very well making provision for walking and cycling in these developments but if the shops, schools and doctors’ surgeries that people need to get to are still miles away then for many the car will remain the most practical method of travel.”
Last October Transport for New Homes made similar warnings after analysing twenty new housing developments and noting a general lack of facilities.