On 13th August 1929, young journalist Tom Foley and political reformer Viscount Cecil held the first meeting of the Pedestrians’ Association in Essex Hall (the Strand, London). Living Streets Scotland’s Schools Programme Manager, Chris Thompson, set the scene for his presentation at TRANSPORT Smart Class, Scotland 2021 by providing a fascinating overview of subsequent UK traffic and road safety milestones (legislation, innovative solutions, collision fatalities & injuries data, highway codes, campaigns and walking initiatives etc).
An early policy highlight was the Road Traffic Act of 1930 which repealed the Locomotive Act of 1865, the Locomotives on Highways Act of 1896 and the 1903 Motor Car Act, and introduced many new regulations which controversially included the removal of all speed limits on UK roads for motor cars! Chris pointed out how Colonel Moore-Brabazon, MP thundered against this “absolutely reactionary” legislation: Yes, he conceded, 7,000 people a year were being killed on the roads, “but it is not always going to be like that. People are getting used to new conditions…Older members of the House will recollect the number of chickens we killed in the early days of motoring. We used to come back with the radiator stuffed with feathers. It was the same with dogs. Dogs get out of the way of motor cars nowadays and you never kill one. There is education even in the lower animals. These things will right themselves”. An early victory for the Pedestrians’ Association was the introduction of a 30mph speed limit in built-up areas four years later.
By 2010 the number of people killed in traffic collisions on roads in Great Britain had dipped below 2,000 and for the year ending June 2021 there were 1,390 reported road deaths, a decrease of 11% on the previous year (all be it a trend partly impacted by the national restrictions implemented from March 2020 onwards following the coronavirus pandemic).
Chris’ presentation (with support during the Q&As and Roundtable sessions from City of Edinburgh Council’s Road Safety and Active Travel Liaison Officer, Mark Symonds) went on to demonstrate how, following earlier Living Streets initiatives such as ‘Walk to Work Week’ (2009) and ‘National Walking Month’ (2011), digital technology is now helping to deliver one of the biggest behaviour change programmes in Scotland. Working with local authority and transport partners, ‘WOW’ (Living Streets’ year-round walk to school challenge) – with the award-winning interactive Travel Tracker – is making a positive impact in hundreds of schools the length and breadth of the country. Chris shared his figures on pupil registrations and growth in active vs non-active trips, along with real results comparing the following national travel modes for schools: Walk, Cycle, Scooter/Skate, Bus, Park & Stride, Driven (car), Taxi and Other.
If you meet our regular delegate qualification criteria but were unable to join us at the RSE for the live in-person event on December 8th, CLICK HERE and complete the short “Download form” (located at the bottom of the post) to receive a unique link enabling free access to the presentation video recordings and slides (including the film footage and slides from Chris’ presentation).
Those qualifying to receive the rich content from these presentations include commissioning, procurement, trialling and partnering leads, senior influencers, strategic decision makers and planners from: local authorities (e.g. city, borough, metropolitan, district and county councils); public and private transport operators; regional transport partnerships, sub-regional transport bodies, combined authorities, integrated transport authorities and passenger transport executives; highways authorities and road operators; government and supporting national transport agencies; fleet operators, vehicle manufacturers, parking operators, prime contractors etc.