One of the main aims of the HUM project was to explore the potential for participatory mobilities planning with local communities to support and develop solutions for healthy urban mobility.
Our approach to this in Oxford was for researchers to attend ‘Fun Days’ and other events and groups organised by the local community during 2017-19. Here we ran mapping stalls asking people to chart their trips and to mark on maps things that enabled and prevented mobility.
In Rose Hill a free course was put on for residents in late 2017 which enabled them to gain skills in video making. Two videos about mobility issues in the area were produced by participants which were then used by the groups in their campaigns for safer cycling and the restoration of a bus service (see the guest blog).
We then analysed the wealth of information from these maps, the results of a social survey and the experiences of participants who took part in our biographic interviews and accompanied journeys. In Rose Hill and Barton we organised a meeting to share and discuss the findings and to identify actions to promote healthy urban mobility in March 2019. These actions were then prioretised and converted into a ‘manifesto’ of demands.
The priority actions were then further tested by sharing them with local residents, for example, the Rose Hill Tenants and Residents Association and the Health and Wellbeing Partnership in each neighbourhood. Our challenge now was how to help achieve these actions.
So, we started to make enquiries with key partners and met with the Oxfordshire County Council Active and Healthy Travel Steering Group in early May. This was their first ever specially arranged Forum to take in in-depth look at a current topic. This group included Council officers responsible for planning, transport, innovation and public health along with representatives of pressure groups including Oxfordshire Liveable Streets, Active Oxfordshire and the cycling campaigners Cyclox. We shared the key findings for HUM in Oxford and then presented the priority actions for the two neighbourhoods. In response the group made many positive suggestions which are now being pursued. These include integrating HUM data with Oxfordshire County Council’s (OCC) GIS mapping so that it can inform future decision making; co-ordinated responses from OCC and Brookes to the UK government consultation on pavement parking with evidence from HUM; identifying curriculum related tools for work on air quality in schools; sharing existing online mapping of cycle parking in central Oxford and checking Pick Me Up bus pick up locations in ‘lower Rose Hill’.
We will continue to work with the community groups and local government to pursue these priority actions.