Pavement widths mapped to support UK social distancing plans

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Analysis by Esri UK reveals 70% of pavements are not wide enough for social distancing

Spatial analysis by Esri UK has found that most pavements around the country are less than three metres wide, making it difficult for pedestrians to remain two metres apart and follow government guidelines for social distancing.

Mapping and spatial analytics company Esri UK took measurements from Ordnance Survey’s OS MasterMap Topography Layer then used ArcGIS Pro to create a map of all pavement widths. Esri UK discovered that only 30% of Great Britain’s pavements are at least 3 metres wide, 36% are between 2-3 metres and 34% are less than 2 metres wide.

Esri UK has released the map data for free to help the public sector and other organisations respond to government guidelines for social distancing, as councils adapt their infrastructure to make walking safer for the public. Over 30 local authorities are using the new pavement map to date.

The map is part of Esri UK’s Covid-19 Disaster Response Programme, created to provide any organisation with new mapping and analytical capabilities for free, to help manage their response to the pandemic. Local authorities, for example, are using Esri’s mapping and analysis tools to help adjust their service provision, map vulnerable communities, deploy volunteers and communicate with citizens.

“The pavement map is designed to help local authorities and related organisations prioritise their efforts, to ensure the safety of the public, as lockdown restrictions are being gradually eased,” said Paul Clarke, head of Esri UK’s Government practice. “By giving them an instant view of the situation they’re faced with, the map reduces the time needed to manually measure pavements and not rely on records which may be out of date. Easy access to current pavement width data will help all councils make faster decisions with greater certainty and ensure walking is as safe as possible.”

Esri UK has made its ArcGIS software free to use along with a huge free data repository, the Covid-19 Data Hub, with over 80 different types of carefully selected, authoritative location data, including Coronavirus cases, health, infrastructure and population. New data is continually being added to equip local authorities with valuable insights as the situation evolves over time.


Local authorities and related organisations can access the map here.

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