Government 'Active Travel Strategy' encourages cycling and walking

Women by canal Credit: Farid Tejani/Creative Exposures

photo Cyclodelic Cycling and walking should play a key role in improving public health and reducing CO2 emissions

The Government's Active Travel Strategy, published by the Department for Health and the Department for Transport, says cycling can improve health, increase productivity, and promote social interaction and well-being.

LCC communications officer Mike Cavenett said, "Recent evidence from The Lancet, the Chief Medical Officer, and now the Government argues that cycle promotion is a cost-effective policy that can improve communities.

"Now we need decision-makers willing to follow up this evidence with strong policies, including reallocating road space to cycling and walking."

The Active Travel Strategy says:

"More active travel can bring business benefits – a healthier, more active workforce means reduced absenteeism and increased productivity, and reduced congestion means better journey time reliability."
page 7

"People who are physically active reduce their risk of developing major chronic diseases – such as coronary heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes – by up to 50%, and the risk of premature death by about 20–30%."
page 17

"In addition to improving physical health, walking or cycling promotes social interaction, which leads to an improved sense of well being and quality of life."
page 18

"The Manual For Streets emphasises the need to design streets as social spaces and represents a step change in design guidance encouraging more active travel by putting pedestrians and cyclists right at the top of the road user hierarchy."
page 47


A strategy is "an elaborate and systemic plan of action". This is not a strategy by that definition: it's a wishy-washy mix of decades-old medical evidence, hope and aspiration backed by nothing new in the way of investments, policies or laws. The Highways Agency and local authorities are free to ignore every single word of this document, and continue with the street design priorities which have failed to deliver a meaningful increase in cycling or walking for 20 years.
Jim, SW19


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