26th May 2020
Transport planning and advocacy in a pandemic
Seeing the world with old glasses on…
This is an opportunity
We need mode shift
to walking and cycling
• Are old ways of doing things too slow?
• Modelling, planning, building support for change –
Many things that can go wrong!
Economy Climate change
Are we too close to the subject? Or do we need to put new glasses on?
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
• 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
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!
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?
Are we advocating and planning for
inclusive planning and design?
• Can everyone use this proposed
• 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
What resonates with people?
• Road danger
• Social distancing
• Talking to neighbours and
friends and playing in the
• Enabling people to continue
new mobility practices
• Hearing bird song and
breathing clean air
Are we winning hearts and minds
• No! Well, not necessarily -
choose your audience carefully
• How inclusive is our data?
Whose journeys are we not
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
What does this look like?
• Low traffic neighbourhoods
• Cycle lanes on main roads
• Pedestrianised city centres with cycle
• 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
Twitter: @NewCycling & @salawatson