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Walking as a Mode of Transport - Road Map Pdf, 479 kB. (Pdf, 479 kB)


Since 2001, the vision of VREF is “Equitable access and sustainable transport in urban areas”, with the general mission to:

  • Support the development of new knowledge relating to ideas and solutions that can contribute to equitable access and sustainable urban transport;
  • Support the development of educational and outreach programs in the area of equitable access and sustainable urban transport;
  • Contribute to the dissemination and implementation of research findings among university researchers, practitioners, decision-makers and other relevant stakeholders;
  • Support demonstrative examples and change processes.

During 2019, VREF initiated preparations for new research programs under the FUT Program, including a possible program in the area of Non-motorized transport/active transport. The first phase of preparatory work for this program included a broad consultation process with seminars, workshops and interviews with key individuals in VREF’s network of researchers, international organizations, and other actors within the FUT area. Based on this consultation, a background report and discussions during the preparatory work, the VREF Board decided in December 2020 to initiate a program for supporting research and education in the area of Walking as a mode of transport.

The program started with an initial phase in 2021-2022 that consisted of both internal and external activities to strengthen the motivation and direction for the program, formulate concrete goals for the program, and develop the program’s "architecture.”

VREF’s preparatory work in surveying the status of current knowledge, identifying knowledge gaps, and mapping existing research capacity (e.g. research and research environments) with regard to “Walking as a mode of transport” has indicated that the current research landscape lacks vital knowledge and is relatively fragmented in terms of both thematic directions, disciplinary orientations, and research capacity. While walking more generally (including e.g. walkability and health benefits of walking) has been a research topic for many years, work on walking as a mode of transport has not yet developed into a cogent research direction, subject or “field” in itself.

Experiences and observations during the preparatory work confirm the high relevance and urgency of a research initiative on walking as a mode of transport, as well as that there is a role for VREF to play in this area. While walking is by far the dominant mode of transport for much of the developing world, it is typically given little research or policy attention and the evidence base concerning both policy experiences and research results is poor. Further, while there is a growing number of institutions and universities studying the topic, neither the background report nor other preparatory work for the program has so far identified any established international research network that is focused on walking as a mode of transport.

This Road Map sets out the broad framework and approach of the Walking as a mode of transport Program. The Road Map has been written by David Lindelöw (VREF Program Coordinator for Walking), Jane Summerton (VREF Scientific Advisor) and Henrik Nolmark (VREF Director). The VREF Scientific Council has commented on draft versions, which has also contributed to this finalized version. The Road Map was adopted by the VREF Board in June 2022.

Access to the Road Map Pdf, 479 kB. (Pdf, 479 kB).

See presentation slides from the webinars launching the Call for Proposals, and the Roadmap for Program Implementation.

Read also the following preparatory studies:

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- Fourth Call for Research Proposals Pdf, 1.3 MB. (Pdf, 1.3 MB)

Deadline: 1 September 2022


- Catalysing Curriculum Change at Universities in SSA 2022 Pdf, 1.3 MB. (Pdf, 1.3 MB)

Deadline extended to 1 Nov. 2022


Deadline: 31 October 2022

MOBILITY GRANT 2022- MAC-MG 2022 Pdf, 447.1 kB. (Pdf, 447.1 kB)

Deadline: 31 October 2022

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Global Mobility Research

This Meeting of the Minds' blog monthly releases interviews of global transportation researchers from the VREF's Future Urban Transport Program Network.


This CityFix series, produced by the WRI (World Ressources Institute) Ross Center for Sustainable Cities and supported by the VREF, discusses walking and cycling in cities with a special focus on low- and middle-income countries.

About VREF

The Volvo Research and Educational Foundations (VREF) inspires, initiates and supports research and educational activities through the Future Urban Transport Programme - How to deal with the complexity of urban transport (FUT). 

Our Vision: Sustainable transport for equitable access in urban areas


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