Walking

As well as supporting movement at the local level, walking contributes to the Mayor of London's vision to enhance the access to and quality of London's Great Outdoors, deliver Better Streets, and regenerate town centres, because of the natural links between public realm and walking.

Why plan?

It is important to recognise that walking as a transport mode is not just about numbers of pedestrians, but the experience of being part of London and the activities that occur when walking in the Capital, such as socialising, shopping and relaxing. Walking is the transport mode used at the start and end of every journey, to get to the Tube or Bus, or reach the office or shops.

Walking has many benefits. Pedestrians can often move quicker from A to B in central London on foot than by using the car or public transport. Pedestrians visit town centres more frequently than other transport users and spend more on a weekly and monthly basis, so walking is good for local economies. 

Requirements for your planning application

There are three aspects to walking provision in London:

  • Infrastructure including improved walking environments and public realm
  • Information including the Legible London wayfinding system
  • Promotion including the Walk London Network of seven walking routes

Pedestrian infrastructure around the site, walking environments and routes to and within the site as well as existing levels of permeability should be identified.

The assessment of footway condition and level of quality, location of street furniture, street lighting, visibility and sightlines, crossings, dropped kerbs, tactile paving and street accessibility for all users including the elderly and mobility impaired should be included through the use of a walking level of service tool. The two tools are Pedestrian Environment Review System - PERS - and Pedestrian Comfort Level (PCL). TfL will request an audit where appropriate. These should be undertaken by the applicant and any improvements identified should be secured by a planning agreement.

To understand how pedestrian flows are affected by the space available to them (eg pavement width) and the crowding that can result for varying space provision, a PCL audit should be undertaken. . 

Improvements to pedestrian footways which are part of the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN) (PDF 1.3MB) or the Strategic Road Network (SRN) will need to be agreed with TfL and subject to a Section 278 agreement. TfL may request a financial contribution from schemes which are located in an area where there is a wider pedestrian accessibility improvement programme for the area, as a result of developments coming forward in the vicinity. This would be secured through a planning agreement.

Pedestrian wayfinding provision including existing signs should also be identified and walking times, including distances to public transport, should be provided.

Expansion of Legible London is a priority and all developments should consider the introduction of this system. Find out more about Legible London.

Where sites overlap with the Walk London Network of seven walking routes, developments should preserve and where possible enhance the quality of route provision including directness, signs and surface quality.

Construction advice

It is essential for safe and convenient walking routes to be maintained during construction periods. Commitment to this and how it will be achieved should be set out within the application material. Temporary wayfinding may be necessary during the construction stage and should be addressed through the CLP.

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