Exactly how walkable or cycleable isn’t only just a function of distance. Slope or the presence or obstacles such as steps may have a bearing, as well as the overall quality of the footway, path, the illumination and safety and the amenity value (personally a relatively traffic free and pleasant route justifies a longer trip under a range of conditions).
With the following tool, courtesy of friends at ArcGis, you can create an elevation model for a route on the fly. Use the pencil tool to create a route and finish with a double click. OK you can do this on just about any smart phone app too, but in our case we’re using the same data layers, which BTW you can turn on and off.
So what are we missing? “Legible” routes. Walkability is a complex function that optimises utility (which should incorporate how pleasant it is not just convenience) as well as familiarity and readability. This sounds like it should be easy, but it is not and seems to have eluded our transport planners so far. But we should cut them a little slack as they have been focused on making it safe for cars for so long that they are having trouble weaning us off motorised transport. Cast your mind back only a hundred years when the London Gazette published an order
Whereas by section 9, as read with section 18, of the Motor Car Act, 1903, it is provided that
within any limits or place referred to in regulations made by the Secretary for Scotland, with a
view to the safety of the public, on the application of the local authority of the area in which
the limits or place are situate, a person shall not drive a motor car at a speed exceeding ten miles
per hour ..THE MOTOR CARS REGULATION (COUNTY OF HADDINGTON) (No. 2) ORDER, 1905, dated October 31, 1905, regulating the speed of motor cars within certain limits or places in the County of Haddington.