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A new Department for Transport commissioned study from Sustrans reaches the fairly straightforward conclusion that investing in urban cycling increases the number of cycle trips taken. Increasing the level of cycling in our towns and cities is “very much possible” concludes the charity before calling for sustained investment.

The study, conducted in partnership with Transport for Quality of Life, Cavill Associates and University of the West of England, found that trips by bike increased in 18 towns and cities in England following government investment.

The Cycling City and Towns programme ran in 12 towns and cities from 2008-2011 and automatic count data showed that cycling trips increased by 24 per cent over three years and on average by 8 per cent a year.

The largest increases were seen in Stoke-on-Trent (62 per cent) and Greater Bristol (40 per cent), with growth also achieved even in areas like York (6 per cent) and Cambridge (9 per cent) where there was already a relatively high level of cycling.

The Cycling Demonstration Towns follow-on programme saw six towns receive investment in 2005-2008 and again in 2008-2011. Cycling trips increased by 29 per cent over five years and by 5 per cent per annum. Darlington (59 per cent) and Exeter (45 per cent) saw particularly high rates of growth.

The overall annual expenditure per head of population was £14 for just under three years in the 12 towns and cities, and £17 for five-and-a-half years in the six Cycling Demonstration Towns.

Dr Andy Cope, Director of Insight, Research & Monitoring Unit at Sustrans, said: “The evidence of the study is clear – increasing levels of cycling in our towns and cities is very much possible.

“The growth in cycle trips in the participating towns and cities reflects the fact that investment comparable to that spent in Denmark and the Netherlands stimulates changes in levels of cycling. The study also indicates sustained long-term commitment to investment in cycling is key to growing cycle use.

“We can confidently say the results of the programmes are replicable in towns and cities across the UK. If we want to build on this success, we need strong leadership and long-term commitment from both national and local governments.”

Lynn Sloman – now a Board Member of Transport for London, but formerly a Board Member of Cycling England, which delivered both programmes – said: “If we really want to achieve ‘lift off’ for cycling, we need a sustained investment programme targeting the same places over at least one decade, and ideally two.

“It’s about time that Transport Ministers stepped up their ambition for high quality, long-term, proactively-led cycling investment programmes that made best possible use of public money. Then we might really start to look like a cycling country.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

7 comments

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Paul_C [500 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes

DfT needs a major upheaval before they'll do more than pay lip service to active and sustainable travel...

have a look at their current organisation chart and see just how many chiefs there are that actually have a remit for active and sustainable transport...

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/fil...

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maviczap [56 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Too much influence from the motoring lobby ft

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Duncann [1046 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
maviczap wrote:

Too much influence from the motoring lobby ft

That's many, if not most, of the voters, though. Most people mostly drive and their transport desires may well be more roadspace, cheaper fuel and overlooking of their bad driving habits.

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burtthebike [923 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

And in other news, bears defecate in the woods and the pope is a catholic.  Still, it's nice to be able to put figures on it.

I look forward to a revised Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy which has something more than words, something like real money.  Meanwhile, back on Earth................

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congokid [316 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

'New research' - using data collected 2008-11?

Who has been sitting on this for so long?

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burtthebike [923 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
congokid wrote:

'New research' - using data collected 2008-11?

Who has been sitting on this for so long?

That would be the pro-cycling ministers of transport, the pro-cycling government and the pro-cycling prime minister.

This entire government is so pro-cycling, they all wear lycra at home and ride to all their constituency meetings and endlessly praise cycling as the answer to congestion, health, pollution etc.  Absolutely pro-cycling.  Totally. 

Right up until it comes to signing the cheque.

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Grahamd [545 posts] 1 month ago
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As the data is out of date they will no doubt pay for another study which will contradict this.