Improving services and sustainability through better jobs and democracy


Carlos F Pardo
Public transport can never provide a complete door-to-door service, and this means that both the facilities for pedestrians and how people are able to move between public transport modes are important parts of the quality public transport mix.
The International Federation of Pedestrians (IFP) states: “The pedestrians are the natural allies of public transport. If there were no people who are willing to walk to train and bus stations those would circulate empty or would have to be surrounded by huge parking lots. Therefore the surroundings of stations of public transport should be designed particularly pedestrian-friendly, which is unfortunately not always the case.”
Quality access for pedestrians involves enabling them to board and disembark safely, but the IFP points out also that some people are unable to walk. Arrangements for access to public transport for people with disabilities is also a critical component of quality.
Traffic calming measures can play a dual role of slowing down traffic to improve safety and comfort for  pedestrians, cyclists and public transport and decreasing the incentives for private car use.
However, traffic calming can also push cars away from residential streets on to main arterial routes, slowing down public transport. This underlines the importance of integrating transport planning with other areas of urban development policy. In many parts of Africa, travel on foot remains the most prevalent form of transport (including for long-distance travel) due to a lack of investment  in public transit. Rustica Tembele, the Tanzanian National Team for Non-Motorized Transport, published a report illustrating the obstacles many African administrations face, suggesting also that as pedestrians make up such a large percentage of commuters governments should do more to improve public footpaths and pavements.