Hello. This short presentation provides an overview of new guidance for planning walking networks throughout Queensland. The guidance has been prepared by the Cycling and Walking Team at the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR). My name is Andrew Ross and I am the Pedestrian Planner for TMR. I will be taking you through each stage of the new online material.
Walking plays a critical role in an integrated transport system that improves health, liveability and the environment. Whether on foot, moving with the help of a mobility device such as a wheelchair, or pushing a child in a pram, walking is an important part of life for everyone.
The new guidance is targeted at local governments, and will also be useful to:
- Queensland state authorities,
- Transport practitioners,
- Land use planners,
- Urban designers,
- Developers and
- Community groups.
First, I will introduce the Queensland Walking Strategy and outline the new walking network planning guidance.
In the second part of this presentation I will explain how to use the new guidance.
Queensland’s first walking strategy was released in 2019. The strategy sets out the Queensland Government vision of making walking an easy choice for everyone, every day. It focuses delivery across four themes:
- Planning for walkable places and communities
- Building connected, comfortable and safe walking environments for all
- Encouraging more people to walk as part of their 'everyday'
- Working together to deliver for walking.
The strategy is accompanied by an action plan that will be updated every 2 years.
The Walking in Queensland Report provides a baseline for monitoring our progress.
More people will walk when everyday destinations are connected by comfortable, direct, safe and accessible routes.
Walking network plans – or WNPs – are a first step to creating better places to walk. TMR has published guidance for local governments and others on how to prepare WNPs and priority works programs.
The new guidance shows how to plan one and two kilometre walking catchments around key destinations such as a main shopping street, public transport station, school or entertainment facility.
The guidance is based on two existing documents: Victoria’s Guidelines for Developing Principal Pedestrian Networks, and Queensland’s Walkability Improvement Tool.
The new process has been tested with three local governments: Gladstone Regional Council, Logan City Council and Mount Isa City Council.
The result is the first Queensland-specific walking guidance.
I will now introduce the six stages of the new guidance.
Stages 1, 2 and 3 focus on preparing, testing and finalising a WNP.
Stages 4 and 5 provide advice on how to prepare and finalise a works program to implement the plan.
Stage 6 shows how to evaluate and promote the network plan and works program.
The new guidance is to be used in existing environments.
If you are planning walking infrastructure in new greenfield areas, please refer to the Street Design Manual: Walkable Neighbourhoods published by the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (Queensland) in 2020.
For every stage, the online guidance provides:
- links to the source documents
- additional Queensland-specific notes, and
- links to the TMR website’s Pedestrian and Walking Guidance and Resources pages.
There is also a wealth of other supporting information and resources including:
- Extra mapping advice
- Resources to help run stakeholder engagement workshops, and
- A template spreadsheet to capture and help prioritise potential works.
The guidance package also includes:
- Three case studies summarising the pilot councils’ learning and tips, and
- A sample Request for Quote template to assist with procuring a consultant (or guiding in house staff) to undertake the work.
Walking is a critical part of Queensland’s transport system. For example, safe walking environments are essential to reduce fatalities and also improve accessibility to the network, particularly for the one in five Queenslanders who have a disability.
There are many reasons for developing a WNP. An important first step is to identify your local needs.
Take a multidisciplinary approach: identify local land use planning, transport, tourism, health and recreation policies that support the development of a WNP. If local policies are limited, draw on the objectives of the Queensland Walking Strategy, which puts walking at the top of the sustainable transport hierarchy.
From there, develop your local walking ‘vision’.
This is also the time to agree who will manage the development and delivery of the WNP and works program, and how both will be adopted.
If you haven’t already, decide on the key destination around which your network will be based. It could be a main street, school, public transport station or hospital.
Identify other key destinations to be included that communities walk to within the catchment.
The guidance provides comprehensive instructions for using Geographic Information Systems or GIS to prepare a draft WNP.
Once you have developed a desktop-based WNP, it needs to be tested on the ground by a range of different users.
The guidance provides comprehensive instructions for organising a stakeholder engagement workshop to test the draft WNP produced in Stage 1.
The workshop is also an opportunity to discuss potential solutions and have a first go at prioritising them.
Organisations should consider what other consultation they want to undertake on the WNP. For example, after holding its stakeholder workshop Mount Isa City Council decided to take their draft WNP to public exhibition.
The feedback you receive at the stakeholder workshop will help to refine the draft WNP.
As we’ll see with the case studies later in this presentation, all the pilot WNPs were strengthened by involving local people and using on-the-ground auditing. For example, Mount Isa strengthened radial walking connections between suburbs, not just the routes into and out of the CBD.
Finally, adopt the WNP based on governance arrangements agreed at Stage 1.
In Stage 4, the emphasis moves from planning to delivery.
One of the purposes of the stakeholder workshop is to discuss initial options for implementing the plan.
The guidance pack includes a separate presentation on suitable infrastructure for improving walking environments. Use this as a starting point to develop a list of works that could help to solve the problems identified by stakeholders.
Generate preliminary designs and costs to determine feasibility.
In Stage 5, use the template included in the guidance pack to help prioritise the works. The template assists you to rank proposed works by urgency, cost and timescale.
Using the template, Gladstone Regional Council reprioritised some of its program once it established which high priority works it could design and construct quickly.
Adopt the works program using the process you identified at Stage 1. This should include identifying works for future budget years so that the plan is implemented over time.
The guidance provides advice on how to choose indicators for measuring improvements to the walking network, and changes in the number of people walking.
Simply building infrastructure isn’t always enough to get people to use it. The guidance includes a section on how to promote new infrastructure, and increase use.
In the remainder of this presentation I will share some of the lessons from the three pilot areas.
The first is Mount Isa. There are several challenges involved in walking to and within Mt Isa’s CBD. These include a high number of heavy vehicles on the Barkly Highway and Camooweal Street. Mt Isa City Council (MICC) focussed its prioritised program of works on safety related improvements.
There were a number of insights from the Mt Isa pilot:
- First, planning for walking provides an opportunity for local stakeholders and the community to show their support for creating walkable environments.
- Second, stakeholder and community engagement improves the plan: for example, the council amended routes based on local knowledge and extended the reach of the network to include suburban links.
- Third, build enough time into the process to seek and incorporate community feedback.
- Finally, include infrastructure that makes walking more comfortable, for example shade trees and respite areas. This is particularly challenging in places that require permanent irrigation due to low rainfall.
Gladstone Regional Council was keen to prepare a WNP that would improve links between the CBD and immediate surrounding areas, including Gladstone Port.
The pilot provided valuable insights ahead of preparing the final guidance. These include:
- Involve delivery and operations teams early in the development of a priority works program.
- Use external stakeholder engagement to help prioritise actions and secure their buy-in for delivery.
- Work in partnership across multiple parts of council where possible to deliver improved value for money.
- And finally, use walking network plan priorities to support budget bids for ongoing delivery.
In Logan, the pilot network planning was based around a Queensland Government proposal to relocate Loganlea Rail Station. The proposed new location provides an opportunity to improve walking access between the station and local facilities such as Logan Hospital, a TAFE campus, shops and a high school.
Once again, the guidance was influenced by lessons from this pilot, including the following:
- Agree a vision for walking prior to preparing a walking network plan and works program.
- In precincts with multiple complex planning projects, identify local walking access opportunities and barriers.
- Use planning for major developments as a catalyst to create WNPs for the surrounding catchment.
- Finally, take a strategic approach to planning for walking to help highlight and resolve conflicts between the movement and place functions of a precinct.
TMR is very grateful to the local governments that piloted the guidance. All of them influenced the final version that TMR has launched for use.
This slide provides quotes from representatives of each of the councils. They show the breadth of the benefits that can come from planning for walking. I hope they will encourage you to use the guidance too.
The full guidance is available to use at the links shown on the slide.
A reminder that the Pedestrian and Walking Guidance and Resources pages include links to technical guidance and a whole range of supporting information and inspiration.
TMR’s Walking and Cycling Team is available to assist with any questions or queries you may have. Use the email address on the slide to get in touch.
I hope you have enjoyed this presentation, and good luck with your walking network planning.