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Transport planning and advocacy in a pandemic


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Talk by Sally Watson at #ideaswithbeers on 26th May 2020

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Transport planning and advocacy in a pandemic

  1. 1. Sally Watson#ideaswithbeers 26th May 2020 Transport planning and advocacy in a pandemic
  2. 2. Seeing the world with old glasses on… This is an opportunity We need mode shift to walking and cycling Arguments Barriers • Are old ways of doing things too slow? • Modelling, planning, building support for change – Many things that can go wrong! Congestion Health Economy Climate change Politics Expertise Money Regulations Acceptability Are we too close to the subject? Or do we need to put new glasses on?
  3. 3. Taking a top-down approach which seeks to educate or persuade people that they need to change overlooks the role that new infrastructure can play in changing hearts and minds Waltham Forest study • Money, political will & clear plan = changes to engineering practices • Not just about cycling – about improving public realm, strengthening communities, walking, landscaping • Cross-disciplinary design team which included public engagement Findings: • Change happens through doing - don’t need to persuade everyone in advance • Be patient and persist in building new meanings around infrastructure • There is a complex interaction between barriers – don’t deal with them in silos • By doing and experiencing, we learn and change our minds
  4. 4. Be bold and inspire confidence! Don’t let the more powerful voices protesting drown out everyone else The new normal? This is a transport emergency! This is an emergency! Arguments HealthSafety Economic opportunities Social and ecological environment Needs action now – this is necessary Things have already changed – people are walking and cycling, playing and socializing in the street If we don’t act to keep the traffic at bay, we will be taking this away from people Transport planners - building the case the speedy way Communicate your plan clearly and explain it in terms of safety not just travel Trials are important - take a stance, don’t just drop them in and stand back waiting for the fireworks Campaigners – are we amplifying people’s voices? Are we collaborating with other groups?
  5. 5. Are we advocating and planning for inclusive planning and design? • Can everyone use this proposed infrastructure? • Understanding people’s point of view – many disabled people have good reason to fear change • Don’t tell people they could cycle but instead promote local inclusive cycling initiatives Are politicians sick of hearing from the usual suspects? • Mobilise your new army! • Move with the times – you may find you have some new supporters What resonates with people? • Road danger • Social distancing • Talking to neighbours and friends and playing in the street • Enabling people to continue new mobility practices • Hearing bird song and breathing clean air Are we winning hearts and minds through data? • No! Well, not necessarily - choose your audience carefully • How inclusive is our data? Whose journeys are we not quantifying? How do local authorities build trust? • Clear and consistent messaging • Clear and consistent updates • Trials and using feedback to alter What does your messaging look like to someone who lives on the street you want to change (looking at you local authorities)? • Do people care about walking and cycling on their street? • Or do they care about quieter streets, children playing, greater sociability? • What do you know about previous problems on this street - have people complained about speeding? What are our aims? • Nicer neighbourhoods and prosperous city centres What does this look like? • Low traffic neighbourhoods • Cycle lanes on main roads • Pedestrianised city centres with cycle permeability • And don’t forget trees! Are we leaving some people out? • Cycling isn’t just middle class, middle- aged men - but are we counting these other journeys? Can we start counting them now? Website: Twitter: @NewCycling & @salawatson