• New walking map highlights a network of quiet and interesting streets in central London – to be given away for free
  • Attractive printed maps distributed to central London locations, with route information available online at www.footways.london
  • Further walking improvements delivered to an additional 20 pedestrian crossings in London through TfL’s Green Man Authority project

Transport for London (TfL) and London Living Streets have today unveiled the new beautifully illustrated Central London Footways map, which will be distributed free to Londoners. The printed map and design concept – developed by Urban Good – provides a wealth of new information about walking in the capital and will support Londoners and visitors to walk longer distances on everyday trips. The physical, free map is available at several central London locations, which can be found online at www.footways.london alongside more information about the network.

As London continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, TfL is expanding opportunities for those keen to incorporate more walking into their daily routines. The Streetspace for London Plan has introduced more than 22,500 square metres of temporary extra pavement space, making it easy to maintain safe social distancing while walking through the capital. Central London Footways will make sure Londoners and visitors make the most of these transformations by prompting people to choose walking as the most enjoyable way to get from A to B, with walking journeys often quicker than expected. Walking is also the cheapest way to travel and is great for physical and mental wellbeing, as well as London’s environment.

Central London Footways is a network of routes connecting London’s mainline railway stations, popular destinations and green spaces with the capital’s most welcome, appealing and accessible streets. The printed map is the culmination of an 18-month project led by David Harrison, Emma Griffin and other volunteers at London Living Streets, who have walked extensively across London with residents, businesses, cultural organisations, councillors and local campaigners to find opportunities for safe and attractive walking routes. The project is universally supported by central London boroughs and Business Improvement Districts.

Central London Footways, previously known as the Central London Walking Network, highlights an extensive number of routes across the city, serving as a reminder that many 20- or 30-minute walks across central London take just a few minutes longer than a journey on public transport.

Any time spent walking is enormously beneficial to public health and wellbeing. Walking has been shown to have many physical benefits, including reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes, Coronary Heart Disease and cancer. Walking for just 20 minutes a day can reduce stress and anxiety and has also been proven to reduce the risk of depression by 20-30 per cent. A 20-minute walk burns 80 calories, adds 2,400 steps to a pedometer and lowers blood pressure.

More people walking also means busier streets, which supports the economy and creates commercial opportunities for London’s businesses. People walking spend 40 per cent more in town centres over the course of a month than car drivers*.

Will Norman, Mayor’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner said: “Walking is a fantastic way to explore our city as well as being good for your mental and physical health, so I am delighted that TfL has linked up with London Living Streets to deliver this new Footways map. We are determined to avoid a damaging car-led recovery from the pandemic in the capital, so it is great to see new initiatives being developed that promote the benefits of walking and complement our world-leading Streetspace Plan.”

Christina Calderato, Head of Transport Strategy and Planning at TfL, said: “We’re proud to join London Living Streets in introducing the new Footways map, which is a beautifully illustrated guide to all that London has to offer. These quiet and accessible routes highlight just how easy and surprisingly quick it is to explore our city on foot. 

“Throughout this pandemic, we’ve been reminded of the value of our health, and walking is ideal for giving both our mental and physical health a welcome boost. Encouraging more people to introduce more walking into their daily routine will also be vital for improving air quality and reducing congestion, making London a nicer place to live for all.”

Emma Griffin, London Living Streets, said: “In 1854, nine years before the arrival of the Underground, 400,000 people walked into and out of the City of London every day. These walks weren’t the final leg of a journey from a mainline station, or within the centre: they were the entire commute. Londoners still love to walk, of course, but we walk much shorter distances than our predecessors. The Footways routes, that are both convenient and enjoyable, will ensure longer walks become an everyday habit again.”

Charlie Peel, Founder of Urban Good said: “Footways is something genuinely new: a functional network of routes that showcase walking as transport, not simply recreation. They are quieter, safer and healthier – of course – but bringing interest, intrigue and curiosity into the mix is the genius stroke of London Living Streets. Our Urban Nature maps have changed the perception of millions, we hope our Footways map will do the same.”

Sam Mullins OBE, Managing Director of London Transport Museum said: “Walking is a great way to experience the heart of the capital and all it has to offer, taking in the sights that can so easily pass us by when driving. Since re-opening London Transport Museum’s Covent Garden doors, we’ve been encouraging people living locally to visit us on foot and the new Footways map is a brilliant way to help you reach your favourite London locations using walking routes you may never have discovered before.”

Kay Buxton, Chief Executive of The Paddington Partnership, said: “TfL, Living Streets and Urban Good have brought to life a wonderful product in Footways. We’ve seen these on a smaller scale before, but never covering what is essentially the whole of Zone 1. We were delighted to be involved and thrilled that Paddington and its towpath now form one of the capital’s recognised walking routes, not just north along the canal to London Zoo and Camden Town, but right into the heart of the West End. The canalside lends itself so well to active travel and we are looking forward to more Londoners discovering these beautiful walking routes.”

Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum, said: “Central London Footways is a great initiative, providing a guide to exploring the city in more detail. Since reopening the British Museum we have been keen to find ways to encourage people to visit. We welcome this map as a way of encouraging people to come to us on foot while exploring interesting streets and sights on their way.”

TfL Image - Footways 1

The launch of the Footways map is supported by further initiatives from TfL to support walking. Over the last eight months, TfL has trialled the use of pioneering ‘Green Man Authority’ technology at a number of sites across the city. The Green Man Authority algorithm adjusts traffic lights at pedestrian crossings so that they automatically prioritise people walking instead of motor traffic, which is a first in the UK. With the new technology, traffic lights continuously display the green man signal until a vehicle approaches. A red man signal is only shown to people walking if the signals detect that a vehicle is in the vicinity.

Following a trial at locations including Millennium Bridge and two sites near St Thomas Street (by Guy’s Hospital and at The Shard), TfL has now begun the installation of the new technology at an additional 20 pedestrian crossings across London. The trial found that the technology is effective as people walking were given greater and longer opportunities to cross and the time they needed to wait was minimised. Traffic flow was maintained and there was no significant congestion as a result.

Research shows that 80 per cent of people cross within 30 seconds of arriving at a pedestrian crossing, irrespective of whether there is a green man shown to them. More than half of people cross within five seconds of arriving, so effectively do not wait for a green man at all. In 2018, half of the people killed or seriously injured in collisions in London were walking, which is why improvements to crossings are so vital. TfL data also shows that 1.5m trips are made each day by car, bus or taxi that could be walked and that almost three-quarters of walkable trips are made by car.

The Green Man Authority programme forms part of TfL’s first Walking Action Plan, launched in 2018, which sets out how London will become a city where walking, for those that can, is the most obvious, enjoyable and attractive means of travel for all short trips.

TfL continues to work closely with local boroughs to rapidly create space for walking across the city through the Streetspace for London plan, as London recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. This programme also includes new School Streets, where vehicle access is restricted outside a school during drop off and pick up times, creating low traffic neighbourhoods and a landmark scheme at Bishopsgate where new temporary traffic restrictions have transformed the area for people walking, cycling or using the bus. 

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