Leading a healthy and active life means substituting walking and cycling for short car journeys. More people can be encouraged to walk and cycle where there is a safe road environment and suitable pathways17. This requires improvements in:
- Accessibility: pathways need to be suitable for use by people of all ages and abilities.
- Connectivity: direct routes to local destinations and services are required along streets that allocate sufficient road space to safe walking and cycling; a permeable and well-connected urban form that has human scale and attractive streetscapes. In local streets with low traffic volumes safe cycling can be encouraged through design of the street environment for low vehicle speeds.
- Amenity: safe, direct and comfortable pathways for all people. Suitable pathways, pedestrian crossings of universal design, with appropriate lighting, shading, way finding, kerb ramps, rest points and natural surveillance provide comfortable and safe conditions for pedestrians with mobility constraints. The elderly, people with disabilities and therefore the whole community benefits.
In addition, fine grain urban form and land use mix through the co-location of schools, retail services and transport infrastructure in local centres contribute to enhanced walkability as well as the viability of, and access to, great places, centres and public transport.
Transport for NSW is also establishing the Principal Bicycle Network which will connect centres with high quality cycling routes.
Improving liveability in urban environments necessitates place-based planning for a mix of high quality places that engage, activate and connect people and communities.
The Government Architect NSW has prepared guidelines in Better Placed: An integrated design policy for the built environment of New South Wales, which support the creation and renewal of great places, for use by all practitioners including State and local governments, businesses and the community.