Green Routes for Bristol

Clients: Bristol City Council

Bristol City Council’s Transport Engagement Team commissioned us, in partnership with Go Jauntly, to explore how a bespoke ‘Green Routes’ app feature could encourage healthier and more sustainable walking journeys. Fundamentally, the product was designed to aid progress towards global and city-specific performance metrics, such as: the UN Sustainable Development Goals 3 (Good Health & Wellbeing), 11 (Sustainable Cities & Communities) and the Bristol Corporate Strategy 2022-2027 objectives TC3 (Support Safe and Active Travel) and HCW2 (Mental Health & Wellbeing).

Our approach entailed: 

  • producing the Tranquil City Index geospatial dataset for the Bristol region, combining noise quality, air quality, green infrastructure quality layers according to research on restorative environments; 
  • developing UX/UI design strategy proposals to explore and test with key client stakeholders; 
  • integrating data into the Go Jauntly app and launching the Enhanced Green Routes feature for the Bristol region; 
  • engaging with residents in two community workshops that quantified and provided feedback on the feature and its use.

We discovered that the new feature offered routes which had on average 15% more greenery and 20% more time in quiet areas. The mood of participants was substantially influenced, with 50% of participants feeling happier and 70% feeling more relaxed after taking the green route rather than the fast route. Attitudes towards the routes also illustrated that offering greener alternatives could increase the probability of walking and cycling in Bristol.

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Healthy Streets Index Barcelona

Clients: Barcelona Regional

We worked alongside public health expert Lucy Saunders of Healthy Streets Ltd and UCL CASA & Bartlett School of Architecture specialists to produce the Healthy Streets Index for Barcelona, on behalf of Barcelona Regional – the city’s public agency for strategic planning.

The index considers data such as noise pollution, traffic, air quality and access to nature as well as pavement widths, transport connections, interesting shop fronts, seating and weighs them based on their ability to have a restorative effect. Our collaborative approach enabled us to gather and collate the key datasets that best represented the Healthy Streets Indicators. Together, these provided a city-wide view of the streets that perform well and the streets where investment is needed. 

Our objective in creating this index is to bring environmental quality considerations to the forefront of how geospatial data can be used to balance multiple planning considerations effectively while enabling walking and cycling to be enjoyable. The result is a major strategic dataset that enables planning decisions to be made from the perspective of people, rather than cars.

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London's Wellbeing & Sustainability Measure

Client: Greater London Authority

We formed part of the advisory and working group for the creation of the first Wellbeing & Sustainability Measure for London. The Mayor of London committed to developing the measure in the 2021 Manifesto to help assess London’s success as a place to live and work for all its residents. We worked with the GLA’s City Intelligence Unit to bring together suitable data and analysis for the ‘improving our environment’ aspects of the framework. This included assessments of ‘access to quality green and blue space’, ‘good air quality’, ‘low noise pollution’ and ‘improved tree canopy’.  

Our approach was to combine the GLA’s datasets with our own Tranquil City Index to assess the quality on a borough and ward level and included the delivery of the final environmental data layers for integration into the wider measure and analysis.

Tranquil City’s CEO and Director, Grant Waters, was part of the expert panel launching the framework methodology in early 2023 at City Hall and will continue advising the measure following its launch. The measure is to be released in Autumn 2023.

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Acoustic Benefits of Green Infrastructure in Urban Areas

Client: Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

DEFRA commissioned us to work in partnership with Anderson Acoustics, to conduct a Rapid Evidence Review exploring the acoustic benefits of green infrastructure (GI) in urban environments. (GI) needs to be a key consideration for national and local noise and soundscape policy as an effective design and mitigation intervention. A strong body of evidence shows that GI can improve health and wellbeing, biodiversity, air quality, nature resilience and recovery, sustainable development and economic value.

Our final report made numerous discoveries. Cities with more green spaces that are well distributed were found to have reduced significant road traffic noise exposure. Greenery in urban areas was found to improve the perception of road traffic noise sources, moderately reduce objective sound levels, and encourage natural soundscapes that are restorative and can positively impact health and wellbeing. Vertical Greenery Systems were found to provide higher sound absorption performance than traditional facade systems. Green roofs, tree and forestry belts were also found to provide notable sound reduction. Moreover, the presence of subtle, flowing blue features such as rivers and streams, was also found to increase perceptions of tranquillity. The report also identifies knowledge gaps and areas for further research and particularly highlights the opportunities for Green Infrastructure design optimisation for acoustic benefit.

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Designing Urban Green Spaces for Use & Enjoyment: An Evidence Review

Client: Natural England

Natural England commissioned us, in partnership with the University of Surrey, to conduct a Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA) exploring the design features of urban green spaces which promote use and enjoyment. This research was developed to increase the number of people accessing greener areas in cities and the benefits they provide, whilst avoiding heavy demand on designated ecological sites that may negatively affect wildlife and biodiversity. 

We delivered the review in alignment with DEFRA’s guidance on REAs which involved carrying out an evidence search in academic literature and speaking to relevant stakeholders; extracting and appraising evidence collected; and producing a narrative synthesis of the evidence for secondary research questions.

Our final report found that the attractiveness of green spaces can be supported by a balance of natural and landscaped areas. Good connectivity, diverse facilities and events and the involvement of local communities in gardening initiatives can encourage use. Frequent maintenance is also focal in increasing enjoyment and reducing safety concerns. We went on to deliver an online webinar to Natural England staff (recorded for future use), recommended a more nuanced definition for ‘rewilding’, and produced infographics highlighting features which can maximize green space use. In addition, we held a guided walk to share our findings alongside physical examples.

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Transport Emissions Calculator

Client: Cross River Partnership

We were commissioned by Cross River Partnership (CRP), in partnership with the Outlandish Cooperative, to develop a transport emissions calculator. The tool enables the estimation of emission reductions from freight transport that can be achieved from a wide variety of interventions.

The magnitude of emissions from freight transport can be influenced by a myriad of factors, including vehicle choice, length and timing of travel, speed, vehicle size, vehicle load factor and fuel type. Our transport emissions calculator enables us to accurately predict the emissions for four vehicle groups (road vehicles, rail, river vessels, active travel and multi-modal methods) and various mitigation scenarios. Regarding mitigation, different intervention options include making deliveries when road traffic is less congested, consolidating deliveries into fewer loads, and switching to lower emission modes.

Our approach entailed: 

  • developing a technical methodology for emissions estimation of different vehicle groups, exploring multiple data processing options 
  • producing a toolkit and supplementary documentation to support users of the Transport Emissions Calculator; 
  • detailing different intervention options; and 
  • launching the tool online.

Our final report outlined the methodology and the successful creation of an online web-viewer tool that could attract new clients to work with CRP. The CRP team has adopted the bespoke tool, using the Transport Emissions Calculator on a regular basis.

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Tranquil Pavement London

Discover moments of calm in the most unexpected places

Cities are incredible but they can also be intense. Sometimes we all need a place to slow down, notice our surroundings and take a moment for ourselves. The Tranquil Pavement London is a platform for people to share and discover tranquillity within the city. Share your tranquil, calm or quiet spot to #tranquilcitylondon and it will be added to the map.

The Tranquil Pavement London was created as part of the OrganiCity Phase 1 & Phase 2 experimentations with our partner Outlandish Cooperative, co-creating the platform with the public, urban gardening groups, Local Authorities, and Business Improvements.

The Tranquil Pavement has been featured on Foxton’s “Essential data maps for London property investors” in 2018.

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"Beat the Commute" Routes

Partner: Go Jauntly

Our collaboration with the walking app Go Jauntly provided bite-size information on the benefits of taking alternative routes, including improved environmental quality, increased exposure to natural elements as well as the positive effect that this can have on health and wellbeing.

We are continuing our work to integrate environmental quality information into the Go Jauntly app to further encourage positive behaviour change towards walking in cities.

As featured on BBC News, ITV News London & the Metro.

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Clean Air Walking Routes

Client: Cross River Partnership

As part of Cross River Partnership’s Clean Air Villages 3 project funded by DEFRA, Tranquil City provided air quality monitoring services to quantify the benefits of 16 Clean Air Walking Routes across London, compared to if the ‘direct’ route was taken.

Tranquil City supported the project team to create, review, and refine the routes to best ensure they are suitable for walking and cycling uptake. Each of the routes was created using our specially designed “data maps” that featured the Healthy Streets Index and other environmental datasets (noise, air quality, pedestrian demand, and pavement-to-street ratio) to enable easy route planning. Our team also went the extra mile, conducting site inspections to ensure each of the routes was suitable for people with accessibility restrictions.

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COVID-19 Lockdown Impact Scenarios

Partners: Healthy Streets Ltd, University College London

As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the significant changes in the environmental quality of London as a result of lockdown, our consortium team modeled the impact that this reduction in vehicle traffic had on the performance of streets against the Healthy Streets Indicators.

The key changes are in the ‘Clean air’ and ‘Not too noisy’ aspects, where 65% less traffic was reported and NO2 concentrations reduced by 30%. The final scenario looks at the worst-case scenario if more people drove to work to avoid COVID-19 infection risks associated with overcrowded public transport.

As part of our _Streets collaboration.

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Tranquil City Index Launch

Partners: University of Surrey

The Tranquil City Index is a rating that shows the potential for a location to be good for our wellbeing. The index considers many environmental, land-use, and land-quality aspects and weights them based on their ability to have a restorative effect.

The index was developed in partnership with the Environmental Psychologist Eleanor Ratcliffe at the University of Surrey and launched at a joint workshop event at the Festival of Social Science in November 2019, where participants tested the index for creating healthier routes. A full report of the event’s findings can be found through the link below.

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"What should green spaces in London to be used for?"

Partner: Sam Ayre & Cody Dock

As part of the Tranquil City co-creation event exploring various perspectives on how the National Park City (London) can bring improved wellbeing to the city’s inhabitants, we created an interactive art installation in partnership with Sam Ayre titled: ‘What should green spaces in London be used for?’.

The installation invited visitors to write on a small board their thoughts and opinions on ‘what green spaces should be used for’ or ‘why they were important for them’, and place it in the Community Garden at Cody Dock, Newham.

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Partner: Central Saint Martins Arts & Science students & Cody Dock

As part of the Tranquil City co-creation event exploring various perspectives on how the National Park City (London) can bring improved wellbeing to the city’s inhabitants, we collaborated with students on the UAL Central Saint Martins Arts & Science course to create a collaborative art piece that invited people to contribute to creating a skyline with words that they associate with “tranquillity in the city”.

The public participation work began at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park tranquil walk that was hosted by Tranquil City and CPRE London and was showcased at the National Park City Festival 2020 at the Cody Dock, Newham.

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Selfridges Wellbeing Events

Client: Selfridges & Co.

Our team created a series of tranquil walks as part of Selfridges & Co.’s Wellbeing Week and led to staff members to promote healthy ways of exploring their flagships store’s local area as well as staff wellbeing.

Members of staff were led on the walks and surveys created by our environmental psychologist were recorded to quantity the benefit of taking time out of their day to enjoy more natural, secret and quiet places around the busy and congested Oxford Street. Participants reported increased feelings of wellbeing and happiness as well as feeling refreshed, inspired and relaxed.

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Tranquil City Exeter

Partner: Exeter City Futures & Exeter College

A social media campaign to explore a more positive, calm, and healthy side to Exeter in partnership with Exeter City Futures.

The campaign resulted in students at Exeter College creating a photo book of images that were sold to raise money for the mental health charity Mind.

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OrganiCity Phase 2

Partners: Outlandish Cooperative, City of London, Lewisham Council, Better Bankside, Team London Bridge & Evelyn Community Garden.

An online free-resource for the public to explore, discover and be inspired by tranquillity that exists on their doorstep, funded as part of the EU Commission-funded OrganiCity project.

The tool helps people see their city in a positive light and to encourage them to lead healthier lives by choosing better environments to their spend time.

The tool was co-created with the public, community groups and local authorities, culminating in a sold out launch event.

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OrganiCity Phase 1

Health Benefits of Tranquil Routes in London

As part of the OrganiCity project, we asked the question to the public “Does travelling via tranquil areas benefit our health and wellbeing?”. Using a combination of crowdsourced and environmental data mapping we created the prototype “Tranquil Pavement”, a map exploring the potential for tranquillity and healthier routes across London. We invited the public to a co-creation event at the Future Cities Catapult to explore how the data could help them discover healthier alternatives to their typical commutes.

Using GIS techniques we then quantified the benefits of these tranquil commutes, in terms of air and noise pollution reduction compared to each team’s ‘typical’ commute journey. The results demonstrated significant health benefits if people regularly took more tranquil commutes in London.

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Stockwell Traffic Flows

Partners: LoopLabs, Telraam & Impetus (funded by European Commission)

The core aim of our project was to explore how citizen science can effectively connect diverse groups with the Local Authorities, involving such stakeholders in transparent, impartial and collaborative data collection processes that communicate and identify concerns and solutions to deliver high-quality Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs). Our case study area was in Stockwell, Lambeth and included empowering a group of local residents to monitor traffic flows and transform those into air quality and noise impact predictions. Our role was to build trust and be an impartial, independent body to gather and present the views of local residents to Lambeth Council.

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Other Projects

Catford is tranquil walk

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South London sanctuary spaces walk

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Church Street Avant Gardener Walk

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