The proportion of people who regularly walk or cycle (over five times weekly) is a strong indicator of healthy outcomes and of streets healthy enough to enable those outcomes. On running this indicator for the third year, we have tried to smooth out some of the large fluctuations that we see in the annual results at a borough level (which comes from the Sport England Active Lives Survey). As the cause of these fluctuations are the sample size of the survey that Sport England uses, we are using the average of two years’ worth of data. So, for the 2019 Healthy Streets Scorecard results, the data used is the average for the years 2015/16 and 2016/17, for 2020 HSS it is the average of 2016/17 and 2017/18 and for 2021 HSS it is 2017/18 and 2018/19. It is important to note that all of the data that has been used pre-dates the COVID-19 pandemic and none of the changes that occurred in travel patterns as a result of that have fed through into these results.
There is a moderate (0.58) correlation between levels of walking and levels of car ownership across the 33 London boroughs. Unsurprisingly, most residents walk regularly in central London – with over half of City residents walking five times a week, and nearly half of Westminster residents. At the other end of the scale, in eight boroughs, less than one third of residents were walking five times a week prior to the pandemic. In order (of lowest levels of regular walking first) that’s Barking & Dagenham, Barnet, Enfield, Hounslow, Harrow, Redbridge, Brent and Sutton. Only ten boroughs saw more than 40% of residents walking five times a week (and, credit where it’s due, two of these were Richmond and Waltham Forest in Outer London). There have been successive increases in levels of walking across the three Healthy Streets Scorecard years with the proportion of Londoners walking five times a week rising from 36% in 2019 to 38% in 2021. The fastest rising boroughs have been Wandsworth, Westminster, Hounslow, Brent, Havering and Ealing each of which have seen the proportion walking regularly rise by more than 5 percentage points.