Walking is the most natural, healthy, democratic and economical way of moving at short distances. It does not produce emissions and has no other environmental impacts; compared to other transport modes spatially and infrastructurally, it is unpretentious. Nevertheless, a large proportion of short journeys is made by car nowadays. A study of travel habits in the Ljubljana Urban Region showed that half of all travels completed in the City of Ljubljana is less than 3 km long. In the surrounding municipalities, as many as 50.9% of all travels made by car are less than 2 km, while 21.5% are shorter than one kilometre. This is the walking distance taking a bit more than 10 minutes.
Walkability of cities, as we call the characteristic of urban environment adequate for walking, contributes a great deal to the psycho-physical health and safety of inhabitants and urban environment. At the same time, a walking-friendly environment also stimulates development of local economy, such as small shops, services or creative industries. Walkability enables development of intense and diverse social connections, thus enriching daily life of the local population and strengthening social capital, which is a key source of the development power of local communities.
IPoP has for years been encouraging walking in different ways as a traffic practice and a form of sustainable mobility. This includes in particular:
- Organizing active school travel
- Drafting mobility plans for schools
- Conducting analyses of walking conditions
- Developing proposals for measures to improve the conditions for walking
- Launching campaigns to promote changes in travel habits to encourage walking at short distances
In recent years, IPoP organized and managed the Pešbus in Ljubljana as well as supported more than 60 schools throughout Slovenia with the organization of active school travel. This helped over 3,000 children to enjoy their peers’ company on their way to school, to develop healthy habits and to become more self-confident and independent participants in the traffic. There were hundreds of cars less in front of schools, there was less traffic congestion in towns and less pollution.
Walking was analyzed and planned in the framework of the SUMPs of some municipalities and the Ljubljana Urban Region.
Since 2011, we have been promoting walking by supporting local organizers of Jane’s Walk in Slovenia. In 8 years there were 152 walks in 38 cities and towns across Slovenia, 23 of which were organized and managed by the co-workers of IPoP.