Myth: I don’t have time to walk or use public transport

familypaddington.jpgYou probably do. More than a third of all car journeys in London are less than 2km,  according to Transport for London statistics. These journeys could easily be made by foot, bike or public transport and would take no more time than driving – or even be quicker.

Car speeds in London are also plummeting (largely due to growth of private hire vehicles and delivery vans), while speeds for trains, walking and cycling remain stable, according to a report by Greener Journeys. It’s true that bus speeds have declined in recent years, but this could be reversed once major building works such as Crossrail are complete and politicians take braver steps with congestion charging and bus priority.

In some cases, walking is even faster than taking a train. Check out this chart by Transport for London.

But even if a journey is slightly quicker by car, there are other factors to take into consideration. For example, walking, cycling or walking to catch public transport:

  • improves physical health Regular brisk walking is the best type of exercise for keeping weight down, according to researchers at the LSE and University of Queensland.
  • improves mental health Walking to work reduces stress and increases leisure time and job satisfaction  (University of the West of England), whereas driving commuters report lower levels of life satisfaction, increased sense of time pressure and heart disease.
  • reduces social isolation
  • and is more time-efficient Freeing time to think, read, listen to music or relax on public transport.

In terms of physical health alone, walking has enormous potential if we consider that 39% of UK adults do not reach recommended levels of activity (British Heart Foundation) and more than one in three primary school leavers in England are now either overweight or obese (Public Health England).

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