This chapter provides a think piece about the future of walking, focussing on a discussion of some key areas which might be expected to influence how walking develops as a mode of transport in the coming years. The chapter explores how our dependence on walking might change in the future. It examines how much we know about walking and how much more we need to know to inform alternative futures where walking (and cycling) plays a considerably greater role in urban transport than is currently the case in most urban areas and how such urban areas might then operate. There are no findings as such, rather a collection of reasoned ideas about how aspects of walking might develop into the future. Such ideas are up for discussion and are not presented as hard fact or indeed the only such ideas. However, it is argued that without such future thinking and discussion the progress of change towards a more walkable future will not occur as quickly as it might. The chapter makes a case for change in the ways in which we use and consume transport in urban areas, as well as for more reasoned thinking about how our transport systems should operate in these urban areas and the type of places in which people have identified that they prefer to live and work.
This chapter is in part based on work undertaken as part of research projects funded through the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council on ‘Visions of the Role of Walking and Cycling in 2030’ (Grant reference: EP/G000468/1) and ‘STEP-CHANGE’ (Grant reference: EP/I00212X/2). Thanks are due to colleagues on the former project for their input to the development of the visions, particularly the School of Computing at the University of East Anglia for their work in producing the visualisations in Fig. 1.
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