Walking more during the day can have a great health benefits. (ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
With good weather nearly all year round, why do Queenslanders shun walking? A new plan hopes to get people walking not only for health reasons but to aid their daily commute.
- Queensland’s first walking strategy will focus on ways to get people moving during their day
- Community and personal benefits include health, reduced traffic congestion, and regional development
- Infrastructure improvements including ramps, shade and signage are part of the plan
Queensland’s first walking strategy was launched earlier this week with an aim to get people out walking as part of their commute, weekend activities, and to also make it easier for people to be mobile.
Research undertaken for the new strategy found that 40 per cent of adults and 59 per cent of all Queenslanders were not getting enough physical activity.
Queensland Walks Incorporated president Anna Campbell said the plan would not only help the health sector, but transport and infrastructure worries.
“We want to build walking habits for life and that includes getting kids walking, families walking, and getting people walking,” she told ABC Radio Brisbane.
“There is not enough of us walking, so we need it for many reasons and to get our towns more walk-able.
“For health reasons, if we walk more we’re healthier and it’s also good for physical, social, and mental health.”
Commuting by foot
Ms Campbell said encouraging people to walk could, in turn, help traffic congestion as more people integrated walking into their daily commute.
The study found, on average, for every $1 invested in walking innovations, it returned almost $14 in benefits for traffic congestion, health, and the environment.
“Walking can help invigorate the local economies, which will help many places around the state especially regional areas,” Ms Campbell said.
“Regional development will also benefit through walking tourism and improved transport connections and integration.”
The study, along with programs such as 10,000 Steps, will encourage office workers to include walking in their commute by:
- using public transport and getting off a few stops before their station or work place
- leaving the car at home and commuting by foot, if living closer to work
- looking at ways to get additional steps in during the day by planning walking meetings instead of sitting
Infrastructure and mobility for everyone
Ms Campbell added that mobility for people in wheelchairs, motorised scooters and pram users would also be a focus.
“Improving infrastructure like footpaths and ramps will also help increase people’s ability to get around and supports the needs of everyone,” she said.
Remember, drivers must:
- Give way to pedestrians on or entering a road they’re turning into
- Give way to pedestrians on the footpath, nature strip or road when turning into or out of a driveway
- Give way to any pedestrians on or entering the slip lane (even if there is no marked pedestrian crossing)
Source: Transport and Main Roads, Queensland
“Another element is shade and crime prevention to increase safety and that can be through environment design.
“Lighting is very important for people to feel safe, along with signage; this will ensure it is easier for people to get to where they need to.”
Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said the strategy would be updated every two years to ensure the strategy was working in areas across Queensland.
“Almost 40 per cent of journeys taken in south-east Queensland are under 1 kilometre and people still choose to drive,” Mr Bailey said.
“Some of the actions include lowering speed limits in at least 20 locations over two years in walking and bike-riding high-use areas.”
ABC Radio Brisbane will broadcast live from various forms of transport this Wednesday as we take you on your commute and look for ways to make your journey easier.