New direction for UK to reach its active travel potential

More funding for active travel and a new Highways Act to improve environmental sustainability and public health are among the recommendations in a new inquiry report into the government’s Cycling & Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS2), titled ‘Reaching Our Active Travel Potential’.

Community Rail Network submitted evidence to the inquiry, which was led by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Cycling & Walking ahead of the publication of CWIS2, which the government is due to release in the coming months.

As an all-party group of parliamentarians, the group works with representatives of organisations in the private, public, and third sectors that share its vision of more people cycling and walking in the UK, more often.

The report sets out 26 recommendations across ten broad themes, including:

  • Significant further increases in funding for active travel;
  • Five-year funding settlements for each transport/highway authority;
  • National active travel targets consistent with Net Zero;
  • A new Highways Act;
  • Central government support for transport/highway authorities in rapidly acquiring skills and capacity;
  • A central coordinating role for Active Travel England.

The government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan indicates that a major increase in active travel will be required to progress towards achieving Net Zero, and the report states that with 68% of trips in England being taken by car under five miles, there is a “real opportunity to drastically reduce our emissions from transport by enabling and empowering people to take more of those journeys by bike or on foot.”

Ruth Cadbury MP and Selaine Saxby MP, co-chairs of the group, said: “This set of recommendations is a practical and constructive response to the situation and one that we believe will help England to achieve its active travel potential.”

The report can be read in full here, including our submission. Our response highlighted the key role that community rail partnerships and groups can play in active travel projects, issues around integrated travel, and insights into policies that can support more sustainable travel behaviour, as outlined in our recent report on community rail encouraging and enabling modal shift.