USER-FRIENDLY LAND-USE AND TRANSPORT PLANNING

There is a need for policies and practices to promote walking, cycling and other modes of active transport for trips to and from source and common destination, and also regular public transport where this is appropriate and possible. This can be done through  two things: (i) arranging land uses and transport facilities so as to reduce transport’s adverse effects on users when they are travelling and when they are doing other things; and (ii) improving the travelling experience for users, which could mean, for example, making it more enriching for users and providing more independence for youth. Two-thirds of parents report that their users participate in unorganized physical activities after school; these activities might include bicycling, walking, or running. Several studies have found that users who actively commute to school are more physically active outside of school. Adults who live in highly walkable communities report two times more walking trips per week than adults in low walkable communities. Furthermore, adults who are physically active are more likely to have users who actively commute looked at pedestrian travel of users aged 5-18.

Progress made towards creating safer environments, and the best practices of countries that have made concerted efforts to reduce the risk to users from traffic are many to explore. The World Health Organization and UNICEF World Report on Child Injury Prevention road safety recommendations include reducing speeds to 30 km/hour in residential areas, around schools and around play areas to protect pedestrians; separation of child cyclists from other road users through dedicated cycle lanes; use of bicycle helmets; and increased education for users on pedestrian and cycling skills. An Australian study reported that pollution concentrations in pedestrian “breathing zones” resulting from passing vehicles (travelling less than 45 km/hr) were on average six times higher. These guidelines could be used to ensure that users are consulted in the development of these plans and that they reflect their needs and aspirations for active transportation.

Users benefit from active transportation networks that are safe and accessible. Greater synergy amongst school board, municipal body and state government representatives could improve active transportation planning with respect to all trips made by young people. Infrastructure that would make active transportation a safe option (sidewalks, paved shoulders, non-motorized bike paths and trails), bike safety lessons for youth, bike racks at schools and other locations, youth-led activities (e.g. hiking clubs, running groups on trails) and appropriate modeling of active transportation by users.

The development of safe bicycle corridors and other infrastructure, policies and legislation suitable would support active transportation. Safe pathways or transportation routes must be created and transportation bylaws revised. An essential feature of putting users first is that transport and land-use planning issues are seen from perspectives of users. Providing for users on bicycles (and other wheels)

The guidelines below should be considered in conjunction with bicycle safety programs for users. For older users, ensure that destinations that cannot be a walk away are no more than a bicycle ride away. Help ensure that school policies and practices favour walking, cycling and other modes of active transport for trips to and from school, and also regular public transport where this is appropriate and possible. Recognizing the transportation responsibilities of school boards and the concerns regarding physical activity of users, it would seem advisable for school boards and Municipalities to work together towards enabling students to travel through active means of transportation. On the other hand, given the evidence noted on air quality in school buses, not reducing users’ exposure to pollutants in these vehicles could be more costly in the long run.

The guidelines are directed towards reducing all adverse Traffic impacts on young people (and others), whether or not they are in a vehicle. To the extent that users’ travel by car is undesirable-because of poor in-vehicle air quality, and opportunities lost to exercise, gain independence, and experience neighbourhood-land-use and transport planners should help ensure that the distances users travel by car are kept as short as possible. The barriers are grouped into three main challenges: 1. Increase users’ active transport for the trip to school, 2. Increase active transport for users on non-school trips, and 3. Reduce adult automobile and motorized vehicle use (and thus users’ exposure in and outside vehicles).

Shashikant Nishant Sharma(Urban Planner and Consultant)

SNSHARMA.SPA@GMAIL.COMWWW.CATCHMYPOST.COM/SHASHIKANTNISHANTSHARMANew Delhi-110065

May, 2012

References:

  1. Catherine O’Brien and Richard Gilbert, (March, 2010), Child- And Youth-Friendly Land-Use And Transport  Planning Guidelines For Nova Scotia, The Centre for Sustainable Transportation, the University of Winnipeg
  2. Stallard, P, Velleman, R, & Baldwin, S (1998). Prospective study of post-traumatic stress disorder In children involved in road traffic accidents, British Medical Journal
  3. Hillman, M, Adams, J, & Whitelegg, J (1990). One False Move: A Study Of Children’s Independent Mobility, London, UK:
  4. Watson, M, & Danneberg, AL (2008), Investment in safe routes to school projects:  Public health benefits for the larger community, Preventing Chronic DiseasePublic Health Research, Practice, and Policy, 5(3), A90.
  5. WHO (2008). World report on child injury prevention. Available at http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/child/injury/world_report/en/index.html
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