A new report by Agilysis and Living Streets has found that deprivation more than doubles the risk of becoming a pedestrian casualty, and those from ethnic minority communities are 25% more likely to be a casualty than white pedestrians. Whilst the link between deprivation and being a pedestrian causality is well established, this new research suggests that ethnic background might have an additional influence on the likelihood of being injured whilst walking. Further research is needed to understand why these inequalities exist and how they might be prevented.

The increased risk may be due to the amount of time spent as pedestrians, as people from ethnic minority groups and poorer communities are more likely to walk and less likely to have a car.

Potential solutions – Low-traffic neighbourhoods and 20-minute neighbourhoods

Low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) are generally groups of residential streets (bordered by main or ‘distributor’ roads – the places where buses, lorries and non-local traffic should be) where ‘through’ motor vehicle traffic is discouraged or removed, thus opening up streets for more walking, cycling, and play. A collection of different measures may be used to achieve this, such as modal filters, traffic calming, and 20 mph limits or zones.

Research has found that low-traffic neighbourhoods are benefitting poorer and ethnic minority communities in London, after local authorities and Transport for London used equity criteria in their planning process. Living Streets are advocating for this approach to be used nationwide so that neighbourhoods at most risk of road collisions can be targeted specifically.  

20-minute neighbourhoods is a way to describe a complete, compact and connected neighbourhood, where people can meet their everyday needs within a short walk or cycle, the idea of the 20-minute neighbourhood presents multiple benefits including boosting local economies, improving people’s health and wellbeing, increasing social connections in communities, and tackling climate change.  

Low-traffic neighbourhoods can be an effective way to support 20-minute neighbourhoods, the core premise of which is to address inequalities. 20-minute neighbourhoods present an opportunity for people, particularly in deprived neighbourhoods to meet their daily needs within their neighbourhood, reducing inequalities for example reducing the inequality in access to local green space.

More information can be found in this guide: 20-Minute Neighbourhoods – Creating Healthier, Active, Prosperous Communities An Introduction for Council Planners in England, co-produced a number of organisations including GreaterSport and GM Moving.

Published May 2021