Design for People Walkable

Places that are enjoyable and easy to walk and bicycle around

Photo of Newcastle



It prioritises people walking or riding before vehicles

  1. Are pedestrians and bicycles given first priority on the streets, followed public transport, then the movement of goods, and finally cars?For example, vehicles are restricted to slow speeds on all roads except major arterial routes.
  2. Is it convenient for pedestrians and bicycles to use and cross roads safely and with ease?For example, safe crossings are provided where convenient and logical for pedestrians, and kerb ramps are provided for wheeled access.
  3. Are there direct and continuous walking and bicycling routes between key local places?For example to shops, schools, bus stops and train stations, recreational and community facilities and services.

It is easy to get around on foot, bike, wheelchair, pushing a pram or wheeling luggage

  1. Is it easy to find your way around the neighbourhood when walking or bicycling?
  2. Are footpaths and crossovers suitable for a range of people and abilities?For example the frail and elderly, people pushing prams, people with disabilities, or for riding bicycles.
  3. Are there bicycle-only paths that are clearly marked and separated from footpaths and roads?

Buildings and streets feel like they’re the right size and type for that place

  1. Are street networks designed to encourage walking between places?For example, small block sizes and a variety of land uses, so that people can choose different routes and visit places along the way.
  2. Are building types and uses appropriate for their location?For example, a pub is not located adjacent to a school or a nightclub is not located near a residential area.
  3. Are the building scales appropriate for that location?For example larger buildings are located on wider streets and amongst other large buildings, and narrower streets have smaller buildings, particularly along the street frontage.

It encourages physical activity and social interaction, and promotes a healthy lifestyle

  1. Is it convenient to walk or ride to local facilities and public transport, reducing the need to drive?
  2. Are facilities provided for outdoor activity?For example good pathways and clear signage, drink fountains, public toilets, shaded seating and bicycle racks.
  3. Is there a variety of outdoor recreation areas within walking distance (500m) of homes and work places?For example playgrounds, sporting fields and courts, swimming pools, and parklands.
  4. Are trees and plants located along streets and paths, to provide shade, comfort and visual interest?
  5. Are there scenic walking and bicycling routes through parks and bushland or along rivers, lakes and sea shores?


Useful Guidelines

Active Living impact checklist – A tool for developments in the Australian Capital Territory

A checklist for the planning phase of development supporting active living as a key design principle for new developments (The Heart Foundation, 2012).

Cycling Resource Centre
An enormous resource providing information on cycling and walking infrastructure, including information on education, policy, guidelines and standards across Australia and internationally (Australian Bicycle Council).

Developing a Walking Strategy – Guide for councils
A guide for councils on developing walking strategies (Victoria Walks, 2013).

Development & Active Living-Designing Projects for Active Living – Developers checklist with case studies
A useful checklist advising developers on what to consider when designing a neighbourhood that encourages walking and cycling (Premier’s Council for Active Living NSW & Heart Foundation of Australia, 2011).

Development & Active Living – Designing projects for active living – A development assessment resource & navigational tool
A report supporting active living by providing advice at project level and development assessment considerations (Premier’s Council for Active Living NSW, 2010).

Good Design Guides
A website containing advice on six basic requirements for all bike riders and information on the construction, maintenance and auditing of bicycle facilities (Bicycle Network).

Healthy Spaces & Places – A national guide to designing places for healthy living
A resource providing guidance and case studies on creating healthy communities (Planning Institute of Australia, Heart Foundation & Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, 2009).

Liveable Neighbourhoods – A Western Australian Government sustainable cities initiative
A development control policy, or code, facilitating the development of sustainable communities (WA Department of Planning and Infrastructure & WA Planning Commission, 2009).

Streets for People – Compendium for South Australian best practice
A compendium presenting key principles to shape pedestrian and cycling friendly street designs in the South Australian context and best practice case studies (South Australian Active Living Coalition).

International Best Practice

Active Design Guidelines – Promoting physical activity and health in design

A manual of strategies for creating healthier buildings, streets, and urban spaces, based on the latest academic research and best practice (City of New York, 2010).

Policies and guidelines for the pedestrian realm
A source of policies, guidelines, and standards informing the design of the pedestrian realm of San Francisco, aiming to refocus public and private investment in street improvements that enable the city and its neighbourhoods to thrive (Better Streets San Francisco, 2011).

Better Streets, Better Cities – A guide to street design in urban India
A manual detailing how to make road space in India more equitable, which aims to facilitate the design of beautiful, safe, walkable and liveable streets (Institute for Transportation and Development Policy and Environmental Planning Collaborative, 2011).

International Charter for Walking
A charter showing how to create a culture where people choose to walk, covering inclusive mobility, integrated networks, less crime, spaces for people, spatial planning, and reducing road danger (Walk 21, 2006).

Legible London
A source detailing the pedestrian wayfinding system transforming London into a walking and cycling friendly city by using simple maps and signage (Transport for London, 2011).

Urban Bikeway Design Guide
A guide aiming to provide best practice solutions for creating complete streets that are safe and enjoyable for bicycle riders and giving guidance for designing bicycle lanes, bicycle tracks, intersections, signals, signs and markings (The United States National Association of City Transportation Officials).

Walkable 101 – The basics from Martin County CRA
A short video outlining the basics of walkability in the United States by Dan Burden, the Executive Director of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute.

Walk 21
An organisation championing the development of healthy sustainable and efficient communities where people choose to walk and which hosts the Walk21 Conferenceseries and the International Charter for Walking.

Walkonomics Blog
A blog aiming to rate the pedestrian-friendliness of every street in the world by enabling ordinary people to add a rating of any street.

Data and Position Statements

An Australian Vision for Active Transport

A paper calling for a nationally coordinated push for cycling and walking as sustainable forms of passenger mobility (Australian Local Government Association, Bus Industry Confederation, Cycling Promotion Fund, National Heart Foundation of Australia & International Association of Public Transport, 2011).

Blueprint for an Active Australia – Key government & community actions required to increase population levels of physical activity in Australia – 2010 to 2013
A report providing project level advice and development assessment considerations for encouraging and supporting active living (National Heart Foundation of Australia, 2009).

Creating Healthy Neighbourhoods – Consumer preferences for healthy development
A report providing guidance on how new developments can appeal to the market demand for healthy neighbourhoods, resulting from a survey on how communities value healthy neighbourhoods (National Heart Foundation of Australia, 2011).

Walking for Travel and Recreation in NSW – What the data tells us-Final report
A report reviewing and analysing walking data in NSW (Premier’s Council for Active Living, 2010).

Walking Riding and Access to Public Transport – Draft report for discussion
A draft report exploring how the Australian Government can work with other governments, business and the community to encourage and support walking and riding as part of the transport systems (Australian Government, 2012).

Last modified: August 26, 2015