Walking as a Mode of Transport (Walking)

With the Walking as a Mode of Transport program, VREF seeks to strengthen international research, research capacity and education on walking in ways that can contribute to more equitable access and sustainable mobility in urban transport. 

The aim is to build a broad, international and interdisciplinary community of learning which encompasses both researchers and other stakeholders in this area.

An important point of departure for VREF’s initiative are the indications that despite its ubiquitous presence in everyday life (particularly in the Global South), walking as a mode of transport has not received extensive research or policy attention to date. In addition, while walking has been a research topic in certain academic contexts for many years, work on walking as a mode of transport has not yet developed into a cogent research direction, area or subject in itself.

Scientific profil

The scientific profile of the program is centered around four themes:

  • Conceptualizing and critically appraising walking as a mode of transport
  • Walking as transport in everyday urban life; equity issues
  • Governance, policy and urban planning for walking as a mode of transport
  • Services, tools and business models to facilitate walking as a mode of transport


Since its inception in 2022, the Walking program has initiated 20 exploratory research projects involving +100 researchers and numerous Ph.D. candidates at multiple universities across the globe. Additionally, VREF has produced a num­ber of special studies which contribute to the international scientific discourse on walking as a mode of transport.

To facilitate sharing of scientific knowledge and foster communities of interdiscipli­nary learning, the Walking program organizes various activities, such as regular online seminars (“Research Forums”) and in-person research workshops. In October 2023, all project leaders were invited to present their ongoing work at a VREF research work­shop in Kigali, Rwanda, in conjunction with the international Walk21 conference. 

Join Walking activities 

For updates about VREF Walking research, upcoming online Research Forums and other activities, sign up for VREF newsletters (see bottom of this page) – and follow VREF on LinkedIn. Contact: If you have questions or ideas, don’t hesitate to contact VREF at secretariat@vref.se or Walking program coordinator and strategic advisor David Lindelöw, at david.lindelow@wsp.com

In focus: