Victorian Walking Survey 2021

Victoria Walks conducted the Victorian Walking Survey to hear from people about walking, 20-Minute Neighbourhoods and potential government action.

Victoria Walks commissioned Bartley Consulting to design and report on the survey.  A total of 2,372 Victorians of voting age completed it in November and December 2021. This was made up of two groups:

  1. A commercially sourced panel of 809 Victorians that was representative of the broader community with respect to age, gender and home location (Melbourne and regional Victoria).
  2. The sample size was boosted by promoting the survey to the broader community with support from councils and other organisations like RACV, resulting in a further 1,563 participants.

Across the total sample, 64% of respondents are female. This high level of interest reflects the importance of walking to women. For example, 64% of women aged 35 to 59 walk for recreation most days (four or more times per week). More generally, most people (73%) rely on walking for at least some of their travel.

The survey quantifies the higher rates of walking observable during the pandemic. Approximately one quarter of people (24%) indicated they were walking more compared to the period before COVID-19 lockdowns. As we emerged from pandemic restrictions, our appreciation of walking continued to grow: 15% of people indicated they were walking more compared to the last lockdown of 2021.

Developing 20-Minute Neighbourhoods will see improved walking access to shops, jobs education and recreation. This is the type of community that most people want to live. Two-thirds of people said “being able to do most of what you want to do within 20-minute walk from home” was important or extremely important to them.

The most commonly identified barriers to walking related to poor footpath maintenance (raised by 59% of all survey participants) and main road crossings (55% of participants).

When asked “which of the following would help you walk more in your local area?” the highest rating responses were:

  1. Improving footpaths (49%)
  2. Providing separate walking paths from bike paths (46%)
  3. Building footpaths where they are missing (44%), and particularly for Regional Victorians (57%)
  4. More or better paths in parks or along waterways (44%)
  5. More street trees (41%).

Most survey participants believe the government should provide pedestrian facilities to improve walking in their local area. Better access to shops (75% support for government action) and schools (72% support) were the highest ranked activities.

In relation to speed limits, there was particularly strong support for:

  • Safer speeds on main roads – 54% agree or strongly agree, while only 15% disagree or strongly disagree
  • 40-kilometre speed limit in typical residential streets (55% support, 25% oppose).


Read the survey report 

The survey results were used to help develop Investing in Walking – a step forward for Victoria’s environment, economy and health, Victoria Walks’ proposals for government action