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Movement Networks

Providing accessible, safe and connected movement networks integrating walking, cycling and public transport routes for convenient travel within and between neighbourhoods and to local destinations maximising opportunities for people to engage in planned and incidental physical activity and encouraging the use of public transport.

  1. Source: Merom D, et al. (2006). Active commuting to school among NSW primary school children: implications for public health. Health & Place. 12 (4): 678-687.
  2. Source: Besser LM, et al. (2005). Walking to Public Transit: Steps to Help Meet Physical Activity Recommendations. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 29(4): 273-280.
  3. Source: Hooper, P., et al. (2015). “The building blocks of a ‘Liveable Neighbourhood’: Identifying the key performance indicators for walking of an operational planning policy in Perth, Western Australia.” Health & Place 36: 173-183.
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Defining 'Movement Networks'

The term ‘movement networks’ refers to the physical infrastructures that allow people to navigate between land uses or destinations.  It includes the roads, pedestrian footpaths or sidewalks, cycle paths and public transport routes.  

Connectivity is the degree to which the movement networks interconnect.  It refers to the directness or ease of moving between origins (e.g., households) and destinations along the movement network.[1]

Movement for physical activity & health

Effective movement networks provide safe routes for pedestrians and cyclists to travel on between destinations and encourage active modes of transport and recreation.  As most public transport trips begin or end with walking, the provision of these routes and services provide important opportunities for walking to or from the stop.

Shorter travel distances can enable easy access to facilities and services for all people, including the very young, older persons and people with a disability, which can reduce social isolation for these groups.  In terms of walking behaviours, greater connectivity reduces the distances between origins and destinations and provides a range of routes to choose from, increasing the likelihood of walking between locations. [2] Traditionally designed neighbourhoods tend to have a grid-style layout with few barriers to direct travel (e.g., dead ends and major intersecting roads), resulting in high levels of connectivity and a choice of routes.  In contrast, conventional neighbourhoods are developed around a network of hierarchical roads.  Curvilinear roads terminating in cul-de-sacs (i.e., lollipop-shaped dead end roads) feed from large, high speed roads, creating low levels of connectivity.  Residents have little or no choice of route, as often there is only one road in and out of the development, and the indirect curvilinear streets increase walking distances between destinations thereby discouraging walking.  Walking has been made difficult in conventionally planning developments because of the disconnected street system, lack of footpaths, unsafe routes and long distances to most destinations.

Streets should be designed as places, not just as thoroughfares. They should encourage social interactions and create distinct and inviting spaces that people choose to experience. Streets should be places where people walk, shop, play, relax, sit and talk.  Residential streets also provide a setting for informal games (e.g street cricket/basketball).