Global Sidewalk Challenge

Valuing and delivering more walkable communities

Global sidewalk2

The Global Sidewalk Challenge raises the voice and profile for walking internationally and sets a challenge to governments, private businesses and NGO’s to collaborate and invest in walking infrastructure, especially dedicated, safe and barrier free sidewalks at transport hubs, to benefit the people who walk most by focusing on the places most walked in order to reduce GHG emissions, improve the efficiency of public transport and deliver better public health.


The Challenge seeks to catalyze action around the globe by consolidating the efforts of partner cities and organizations into a high profile campaign that brings momentum and ambition to construct, or rehabilitate, 100,000km of additional dedicated, safe, barrier free, sidewalks in the proximity of public transport hubs, the majority of which will be in low and middle income countries by 2030.

Partners and Signatories

The initiative currently receives support from seven NGOs, 12 business companies, and four universities.

Relevance to advance the Paris Agreement goals

The carbon reduction potential of walking is not extensively researched (part of the problem), but one study estimates that increases in the mode share of walking in Bogota, Colombia from 20% to 25% of travel could reduce transport emissions by 6.9% at a cost of USD $ 17/tCO2.  In addition, a package of walkways, cycle-ways and bus rapid transit could reduce emissions by 25% at a cost of USD $ 30/ tonneCO2.

 Estimated GHG reduction potential and cost per ton of transport measures:

Transport Measure GHG Reduction Potential Cost per t CO2 ($)
BRT mode share increases from 0% to 5% 3.9 66
BRT mode share increases from 0% to 10% 8.6 59
Walking share increases from 20% to 25% 6.9 17
Bicycle share increases from 0% to 5% 3.9 15
Bicycle mode share increases from 1% to 10% 8.4 14
Package (BRT, pedestrian upgrades, bikeways) 25.1 30
BRT= Bus Rapid Transit, GHG = greenhouse gas, tCO2 = ton per carbon dioxide equivalent.
Sources Ribero et al, 2007, Transport and it’s Infrastructure in Climate Change 2007, contribution of Working Group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  B Metz et al, eds. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York. L Wright and L Futon 2005, Climate Change Mitigation and Transport in Developing Nations. Transport Reviews 25(6) pp 671 – 717.

Walking in its own right or packaged with public transport systems can enhance the carbon reduction potential of both modes and of the transport system as a whole.

Activities of the Initiative

During our first twelve months growing engagement and investment in walking initiatives as outlined below.

Outreach and coalition building:

Capacity building:

Knowledge development:

Policy-making and implementation:


[1] Wright L, Fulton L. Climate change mitigation and transport in developing nations. Transport Reviews, 2005, 25(6): 691–717

Focal Points

Bronwen Thornton ( and Jim Walker (