Working with local municipalities to ensure the rights of pedestrians in cities worldwide
The International Federation of Pedestrians (IFP) is a network of non-profit associations which promotes and defends the rights of pedestrians to safety, access and mobility. Two recent initiatives provide a framework to stimulate positive interaction between communities of pedestrians and their local municipalities.
The first initiative, FAIRSPACE, is a method for rating the “fairness” of the design of existing roads and public spaces, judging by the way they accommodate different categories of road users. By replacing the safety expertise need with a more universal and comprehensive assessment which includes fairness towards different types of road users, FAIRSPACE provides a tool for pedestrian advocates to reduce potential conflicts in their interactions with municipalities and with the broader public. To date, FAIRSPACE pilot projects have been implemented in cooperation with local partners in cities in Belgium, Costa Rica, Kenya and Viet Nam.
The second initiative, Living End Roads, builds on a frequent discrepancy in road signage: streets marked with a dead-end sign are often dead ends only for cars, while they may be the preferred and safer route for cyclists and pedestrians. IFP provides local pedestrian associations with a set of tools to help the municipalities make simple changes to the signs – where legally permitted – so that pedestrians and cyclists receive the appropriate information.
While the direct output typically is a straightforward improvement in road signage, the real value of the Living End Road project is perhaps that it encourages local traffic engineers to think "outside the box" by taking the needs of pedestrians and cyclists more readily into account. Within the process, the pedestrian associations can position themselves as a partner of the municipality and part of the solution to the issue.