Key Themes

Our four conference themes are:

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1. Inclusivity: Enabling everybody to walk - all genders, all ages, all abilities, all incomes, all backgrounds

The diversity of people who walk is huge and includes all age groups and genders, a wide range of physical and mental abilities, income, and ethnicity. It is essential to ensure policies that benefit everyone walking – especially those walking for necessity as they have no choice and those who would like to walk but have no alternative to driving because the distances are too long, or it is unsafe to walk.

Portugal is revising the national inclusive accessibility law and is interested to discuss how walking, which has the characteristics of a human right, could be embedded into legal statutes.

Contributions are invited that share relevant walking research, data collection, policie, campaigns and projects that are successfully targeting people from all walks of life and supporting everybody to walk.

2. Positive public space: Delivering safe, accessible, comfortable and valued streets and public spaces

Walking is not always a positive experience. It is possible however to invest in the quality of streets and public space so that they are safe, accessible, attractive and valued.

In Portugal investing in quality walking environments is key to the delivery of the national strategy integral to the future urban mobility vision. In Lisbon, the city is reallocating road space on the main boulevards to walking, pedestrianising many of the downtown areas, and has set ambitious design standards to ensure beautiful streets lead to positive experiences.

Contributions are invited that demonstrate positive experiences by people walking, through design decisions and practical transformations, infrastructure improvements and interventions.

3: Climate imperative – Investing in walking as a fundamental part of transport decarbonisation

Walking is being talked up as an affordable, quick, and reliable solution to help reach several goals including the Paris climate targets. With the promise of new money for mitigation and adaptation

Portugal is embedding commitments to walking in their climate actions as well as their transport plans.

Contributions are invited that share how walking policies and actions are delivering on SDG and climate goal commitments, including as part of the journey for public transport access and egress, accessibility commitments and just transitions.

4. Good governance - policy at all levels that places pedestrians at the centre

Recent research highlights that Portugal is one of 118 countries that has some sort of national policy for walking. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a surge in national policy commitments and also at the city level.

The vision, ambition and effectiveness of policies can be limited by the governance framework. In Portugal an inter-ministerial commission for active mobility was set up, bringing together various areas of government to discuss actions of the national walking strategy. At a city level, Lisbon also engages a multidisciplinary team, including representatives from different departments, to ensure their walking plan is delivered.

Contributions are invited that share good governance approaches for delivering effective walking policies, how different levels of government coordinate and collaborate and how interdepartmental working ensures a cohesive approach.