Forgot Password? Not a member? Register
Close Panel
Close Panel
You are here: Home >>  Taking Action >>  Walking >>  Why is Walking Important?

Why is Walking Important?

Walking is free, doesn’t require specialist equipment or training and is generally a very safe method of travel.

Walking is a great way of keeping fit and active without having to dedicate time to exercise as it can often be fitted into people's daily routine. For Travel Plan Coordinators it's about trying to encourage people to build walking into at least part of the journey to work or even as part of a journey on business.
Benefits to be gained not only impact positively on the health and well being of the individual but also have knock-on effects for the environment (through reduced traffic noise, air pollution, energy use and carbon emissions) and in stimulating local economies by encouraging use of local shops and services and reducing traffic congestion.
The organisations, 'Living Streets' and 'Paths For All' have produced an excellent report that covers everything you'll ever need to know about walking. It is called 'Walkipedia'. 
Here are just a few highlights on what Walkipedia says about walking:

Walking (including walking aides or using a wheelchair) is the most basic form of transport because it:

  • Is universal in that virtually everyone walks and virtually all trips include walking links.
  • Is affordable. Economically and socially disadvantaged people tend to rely heavily on walking.
  • Provides links with other forms of transport.
  • Provides additional benefits including exercise and enjoyment.

Walking is good:

  • For the environment. It is the least polluting form of travel.
  • As an aid to a healthy lifestyle, with moderate activity bringing physical and mental benefits as well as enjoyment.
  • For communities. It is affordable for all and results in streets that feel safer and friendlier with more people in them.
  • In providing links and connections to and from public and other forms of transport.
  • For the local economy, as people on foot visit local shops and spend money.

Walking is beneficial because it:

  • Is free and requires no special equipment, other than footwear.
  • Is accessible to all regardless of age, income, location and ability.
  • Can easily be incorporated into daily lives.
  • Is within the physical capabilities of most people and is a realistic goal for inactive people.
  • Combines all the physical benefits of activity with an opportunity for social contact.
  • Can be enjoyed safely and there is a low risk of injury.
Walking is also a cultural and social activity, as well as a way of getting around. It has been identified as being central to many people’s sense of place, social life and ways of experiencing and learning from their environment.

Key features are:

  • Sensing the environment including the weather, light and quality of surroundings.
  • Creating routes which have significance and are important in defining place.
  • Sociable activity where relaxed conversations can happen.   
Despite all of these great features, walking is still undervalued as an activity. Walking has generally been seen as a lower status activity compared with vehicular travel and used more often by those who cannot afford a car. It is only recently that more attention has been paid to the role of walking in transport planning and even now there is relatively little direct expenditure and few coordinated approaches to catering for the needs of pedestrians.


Let's get Scotland Walking - national walking strategy 

In June 2014 the Scottish Government published its National Walking Strategy (NWS), a long term plan to get more people in Scotland walking more often and to improve the nation’s health.
The Scottish government' vision is for "A Scotland where everyone benefits from walking as part of their everyday journeys, enjoys walking in the outdoors and where places are well designed to encourage walking.
This national strategy outlines three strategic aims:
  • Create a culture of walking where everyone walks more often as part of their everyday travel and for recreation and well-being
  • Better quality walking environments with attractive, well designed and managed built and natural spaces for everyone
  • Enable easy, convenient and safe independent mobility for everyone
Need Help? Click here.