Transport for London (TfL) has announced a new borough-level program to help reduce road danger, encourage safe travel by public transport, and increase the number of people walking and cycling across the UK capital.
A new team of 16 Healthy Streets Officers will work across London’s boroughs to reduce school-run traffic, discourage engine idling, and enable people to walk, cycle and use public transport more often. They will tackle road danger by responding to local road safety concerns and will support boroughs with local initiatives to raise awareness of new Cycleways. In addition, they will promote training to improve cycle safety, as well as encouraging people to use public transport. Sustainable transport charity Sustrans has been awarded a three-year contract to deliver the program, which will also support boroughs with London-wide events including World Car Free Day, Walk to Work Week and Road Safety Week. It is part of TfL’s wider program, working with boroughs to reduce road danger and improve air quality by creating greener, cleaner and healthier places.
The new program is being funded through TfL’s Healthy Streets budget and is on top of the Liveable Neighborhoods grants of between £1m and £10m (US$1.2m – 12m) for boroughs to transform local areas. The Healthy Streets Officers will work with the boroughs in a supporting role and will not replace the existing local authority roles dedicated to cycling, air quality, school travel planning and reducing road danger. The program will begin in Redbridge in the coming weeks, before being expanded out to the remaining boroughs and the City of London in the autumn. The initiative will improve citizen’s health, help tackle traffic congestion, and will play a vital role in tackling the city’s air quality crisis.
For this program, Sustrans has teamed up with Lucy Saunders, the public health specialist who worked with TfL and the GLA (Greater London Authority) to implement the Healthy Streets Approach, which puts people and their health at the center of decisions about design, management and use of public spaces. Saunders will support TfL’s officers and Sustrans to apply the Healthy Streets Approach so they can enable more Londoners to walk and cycle for their everyday journeys.
The charity is also working in partnership with inclusive cycling expert Tiffany Lam to address disparities in cycling, such as those based on gender, race or socioeconomic class, and to ensure that the delivery of Healthy Streets is inclusive by design, and therefore appropriate for London’s diverse population. Her research and expertise, paired with Tf’’s network of Healthy Streets Officers, will help create a step change in how people travel in the city.
“Partnering with the boroughs is absolutely vital if we are to reduce road danger and improve air quality, and transform London into an active, healthy and green city,” explained Alex Williams, director of city planning at TfL. “Our new team of Healthy Streets Officers will closely collaborate with the London borough teams to engage with schools, businesses and communities across the capital and encourage safe and sustainable ways to travel.”