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Aucklanders taught to use their legs!

27 October 2006

Aucklanders taught to use their legs!

A fundamental way to get around the Auckland region, walking is often considered occasional gentle exercise by many Aucklanders. This perception will be strongly challenged by the founder and Executive Director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute in Canada Todd Litman when he talks to over 100 transport professionals in Auckland on Monday 30 October, as part of a speaking tour and workshops in New Zealand.

Mr Litman's presentation, ' 'Learning to Walk Again: The social, economic and environmental benefits of walking' will encourage people working in the transport sector to start valuing and promoting getting around by foot more, to Aucklanders.

Following his presentation in Auckland Mr Litman will present in Wellington, prior to speaking at the New Zealand National Walking Conference in Christchurch.

Mr Litman's presentation in Auckland will focus on the economic, social and environmental value of walking as a means of transport and how Auckland can improve its walking environment.

Representatives attending the presentation include the Automobile Association, local councils, Cycle Action Auckland, Auckland District Health Board, the Ministry of Transport and urban designers amongst others.

Anna Percy, Sustainable Transport Manager Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) says, "Transport organisations in Auckland are committed to understanding how to improve the walking environment for Aucklanders. The 'Learning to Walk Again' presentation and workshops have been hugely popular, with full venues at each location. We have a target to improve walkability across the Auckland region, which means over time more investment should be directed towards creating the 'right environment' for walking."

Ms Percy says that improving walkability is not a simple task and requires an integrated approach from design to development and maintenance of the region's urban design and transport network.

Ms Percy is delighted by the response from the region's local authorities, Transit NZ and other key supporters of Mr Litman's presentation and their willingness to understand how they can improve the fundamentals of the walking environment including: lighting, pavement condition, traffic light phasing, its integration with public transport and urban design as well as overall accessibility.

She said, " Research shows a high percentage of Aucklanders morning peak trips are short, local journeys and just over 50 per cent of these are done by car, a journey that would take only 20 minutes by foot with no associated fuel costs and which has added health benefits with respect to physical and mental health.


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