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You are here: Home >>  Taking Action >>  Walking >>  Ideas to Encourage Walking

Ideas to Encourage Walking

There are many ways the Travel Plan Coordinator can encourage people to walk more, get healthier and fitter and help you reach your travel plan targets.

Here are some ideas of how to get people started on the right foot:

Identify the target groups

From your travel survey or employee records, identify people who live within a short distance (up to 2 miles) of your site. Who walks to work? Why do they walk? Who doesn't walk? Are there any specific reasons why they dont walk? Could they be encouraged to walk?

Lunchtime walks (and cycle rides) for health

Don’t feel you need to focus solely on walking to and from work. For some, driving to work is a necessity but these people can also be targeted by offering lunchtime walks for individuals or groups. The Travel Plan Coordinator might qualify for advice and a loan or grant from the organisation Paths For All to help set up lunchtime walks for health.

  •  Is there a park or other suitable area for a walk near your site? If so, identify circular routes of different lengths to encourage people to get some exercise during their lunch break.
  •  Do people drive to shops during the lunch break? If so, advise them on safe pedestrian routes to get them there. If you map out the route, use contours to show how long it will take at a medium pace and describe the benefits that walking will offer them.


Encourage those who already walk to help you set up a Walking Action Group and see if they're willing to become ‘buddies’ for other possible walkers? A buddy system can make walking a more sociable activity and can help overcome any insecurities. Buddying can also introduce staff that don't know each other very well and help improve intra-office communication.  


An on-line 'buddying' service that's open to anybody and everybody to sign up to is available at Walkbudi.


Mapping pedestrian (and cycle) routes

Identify safe, attractive walking routes to work and map these so that people can see exactly where they should be going. Your local authority might be able to assist you in providing a mapping resource. Draw contours onto maps to show how far people are likely to be able to walk within, say, 10, 20 and 30 minutes of your site at a medium pace. Also show public transport stops, stations and local facilities such as lunchtime sandwich shops. You should also identify any flights of steps, roads that are not suitable for walking along and other difficult walking areas. Your mapping exercise should also consider visitor trips, cyclists and links to public transport.


'Walkit' is a great resource for identifying routes in an increasing number of towns and cities. Promote the site to staff both as a resource for identifying journeys to work but also for journeys on business (such as accessing meetings). Having travelled to another town by public transport on business, ‘walkit’ could be used to identify how (and how long) it will take to get from the train or bus station to the place the person is due to have their meeting.    

Charity events

Charity walks and runs are great as 'corporate events' and help raise awareness of the benefits of walking. The Travel Plan Coordinator could organise a walk or enter a team into an event organised by others.


Charity walks can appeal to people who don't normally walk and make them appreciate the value of exercise. From that, you might be able to encourage them to build walking into their daily routine.


Make sure any organised walks are well publicised both in the workplace and in the local media. You never know who may want to support the event and offer assistance or free equipment.


You could also organise events to coincide with national sustainable travel events.


... and finally, some other ideas

Some more ideas and considerations:

  • Encourage those who use the bus to get off one stop earlier and walk the remaining distance The following week, this could be increased to getting off 2 stops earlier etc;
  • Research has shown it takes 8 weeks of using a pedometer before walking as an option becomes routine. The walker needs to persevere, but you as the Travel Plan Coordinator may need to perserve with the walker too!;
  • Walking does not burn a massive amount of calories so you could suggest putting some extra weight in a rucksack to help burn those calories off!
  • Suggest that to stay motivated, people could listen to music or catch up on the latest ‘must have’ audio book whilst out and about. The time will fly by!
  • Encourage employees to use the stairs instead of taking the lift.
  • Suggest walk and talk meetings as an alternative to the traditional meeting room.
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