Cycling and walking schemes are transforming UK cities for the better, says new report

Active travel
  • ‘Big shift to active travel in urban transport policy is underway’

On the eve of the UK’s biggest cycling conference the UK’s network of leading city region transport authorities have released a new report which shows how active travel schemes can change cities for the better wherever they are implemented – from Bristol to Inverness and from post-industrial Northern cities to the heart of the City of London.

The report, Active travel: solutions for changing cities, profiles a range active travel schemes from cites around the UK and demonstrates the transformative impacts they can make.

Examples highlighted in the report include:

  • Manchester’s Oxford Road and Wilmslow Road Cycleway, which recorded over one million cycle journeys in just over a year of operation;
  • Leicester’s ‘Connecting Leicester’ regeneration and transport package, which has helped to grow cycling numbers by 10-15% each year since 2006, and has attracted major new businesses to locate in the city;
  • The City of London’s ‘Bank on Safety’ scheme, which has helped reduce casualties at Bank Junction by excluding all traffic except buses and cyclists.

Ben Still, Managing Director at West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the Urban Transport Group’s lead Board member for active travel, said:

‘Over the last decade promoting active travel has moved from the fringes of urban transport policy to a much more central role in the planning of city regions and their transport networks. This is because the promotion of active travel, and the creation of places and streetscapes where people want to walk and cycle, is such a good fit with where city regions that are going places want to be. Those city regions want to be healthier and happier places where the costs of treating diseases associated with inactive lifestyles and poor air quality are being tackled. City regions which are places where good growth happens because they are great places to spend time in and people want to visit, live, work and invest in them.’

‘Although we are fully aware that there is a very long way to go before all Britain’s cities catch up with where many counterpart Nordic, Dutch and German cities have got to, this report shows that a big shift to active travel is underway in UK urban transport policy. It also shows that active travel schemes can be highly effective in a very wide range of urban contexts - from post-industrial Northern cities to the heart of the City of London. It also shows how we are working together as the Urban Transport Group to share experience of what works on active travel so that individually and collectively we can go further and faster on active travel solutions for our changing cities.’

Jonathan Bray, Director of the Urban Transport Group, added:

'When it comes to active travel schemes, the message is clear: if you build them, they will come. Investing in cycling and walking infrastructure yields impressive results for cities and their ambitions to create places in which people choose to live, work and spend time in – as the report’s many case studies demonstrate.'

The report features case studies from Sheffield, Leicester, Manchester, London, West Yorkshire, Bristol, Inverness and Darlington.

Notes to editors

Active Travel: Solutions for Changing Cities can be downloaded below.

For more contact Jonathan Bray on 0781 804 1485