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Healthy Streets Scorecard - Map of the Month

Author: Oliver O'Brien, researcher and software developer at the UCL Department of Geography

River Thames illustration

September’s Map of the Month looks at the Healthy Streets Scorecard, which uses 9 different indicators relating to healthy and sustainable mobility to give each London borough a score out of 10.

A healthy street promotes a better living environment, and in turn contributes to reducing deprivation, so it is important to consider the impact of the outdoor environment when looking at poverty across London. The local outdoor environment is one of the subdomains which form the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD), the official and well-recognised measure of deprivation and poverty levels in England, and we know that factors that feed into the local outdoor environment, such as air pollution, are often closely linked with poverty. On top of this, reduced exposure to noise and air pollution from cars can directly improve health (another subdomain within the IMD) and quality of life, and so understanding areas where streets are more likely to be less healthy is an important strand of reducing inequality in the capital.

The scorecard, which has been recently updated for 2022 with the latest source datasets, shows a considerable inner/outer London split. In particular, many eastern boroughs - such as Havering, Barking & Dagenham and Redbridge – have the lowest scores in the city. This may partly be because inner city boroughs, which score higher on the scorecard indicating they have healthier streets, intrinsically are places where public transport is more readily available, due to high population densities making it more viable. Reduced space to park cars may also make car ownership unpractical. But borough council policies can also influence a number of indicators on the scorecard.

Indicators include 5 measures that London borough authorities can put in place: low traffic neighbourhood schemes, 20mph speed limits, controlled parking zones, physically protected cycle tracks and journey-to-school initiatives (such as School Streets). There are also 4 indicators included which measure outcomes: the proportion of journeys made with sustainable transport (walking, cycling and public transport), the proportion of residents carrying out regular active travel, the serious collision rate for active travellers, and car ownership rates.

The scorecard is produced by coalition of environmental and transport charities and campaigners focused on making London a better place to live and travel within, including London Living Streets, the London Cycling Campaign, Sustrans, CPRE London, RoadPeace, Possible, Wheels for Wellbeing and Future Transport London.

Healthy Streets Scorecard (2022)

September 2022

About the author

The Map of the Month is produced by Oliver O'Brien. Oliver is a researcher and software developer at the UCL Department of Geography, where he investigates and implementing new ways to visualise spatial data, including mapping of open demographic and socioeconomic datasets, particularly London-focused ones, using OpenLayers. In the past he’s analysed educational geodemographics, UK census data and London travel flows, and created a number of popular visualisations such as CityDashboard, the Bike Share Map and the London Tube Stats Map. Formerly a financial software programmer, he studied for an MSc in GIS at City University London, and joined UCL in 2008, working at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis and in Geography. In his leisure time he contributes to the OpenStreetMap project, which aims to create a free Wikipedia-style map of the whole world, as well as competing in and organising orienteering races. He blogs at oobrien.com and co-edits mappinglondon.co.uk.