The importance of setting a policy focus on promoting cycling and walking as sustainable and healthy modes of transport is increasingly recognized. However, to date a science-driven scoring system to assess the policy environment for cycling and walking is lacking. In this study, spreadsheet-based scoring systems for cycling and walking were developed, including six dimensions (cycling/walking culture, social acceptance, perception of traffic safety, advocacy, politics and urban planning). Feasibility was tested using qualitative data from pre-specified sections of semi-standardized interview and workshop reports from a European research project in seven cities, assessed independently by two experts. Disagreements were resolved by discussions of no more than 75 minutes per city. On the dimension "perception of traffic safety", quantitative panel data were used. While the interrater agreement was fair, feasibility was confirmed in general. Validity testing against social norms towards active travel, modal split and network length was encouraging for the policy area of cycling. Rating the policy friendliness for cycling and walking separately was found to be appropriate, as different cities received the highest scores for each. Replicating this approach in a more standardized way would pave the way towards a transparent, evidence-based system for benchmarking policy approaches of cities towards cycling and walking.
Keywords: active travel policy assessment; cycling; scoring; transport planning; walking.