As part of its long-term aim of reducing the number of cars on the country’s roads, the UK government has announced £64m (US$81m) of new investment that will encourage thousands more people to cycle and walk to work.
The funding will support local projects over three years from 2017 to 2020 and form part of a wider government package of more than £300m (US$379m) to boost walking and cycling during the current parliament. By 2040 the government aims to make this part of everyday life, and walking and cycling the natural choice for shorter journeys. The money will deliver:
more safety and awareness training for cyclists;
extra secure cycle storage;
bike repair and maintenance courses;
road safety measures;
mapping information for pedestrians;
real-time bus information through smartphone apps or information at bus stops;
increased focus on car sharing clubs.
The funding will also target those looking to get back into work, because access to transport and the cost of travel often restricts where people can look for work and their ability to attend interviews. They will also benefit from discount bus travel and bike loans.
All English transport authorities (outside London) were invited to bid for the funding, and 25 local authorities were successful, with each receiving a share of the £60m (US$76m) Sustainable Travel Access Fund for 2017 to 2020. The Cycling and Walking to Work Fund also offers £3.8m (US$4.8m) to be invested in three city regions over the next 12 months to connect people with employment and apprenticeships. The government hopes that the funding could lead to:
95 million fewer miles in car journeys;
99,000 extra walking trips per day;
40,000 extra cycling trips per day.
Announcing the new investment, UK Transport Minister Andrew Jones, said, “We are committed to improving how people travel, and this investment will ensure that people’s journeys are cheaper, safer and better for the environment. It will help people to become more active and better transport planning will reduce congestion on our roads, particularly at peak times. This investment will also help people access jobs, education and training, specifically targeting those looking to get back into work, as part of our relentless drive to make this is a country that works for everyone.”
Stephen Joseph, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, commented, “We strongly welcome this announcement of the access fund projects and the new cycling and walking to work fund. The evidence suggests that these kinds of projects can remove barriers to work, help local communities and businesses, and also tackle local transport problems by giving people attractive alternatives to car use. We look forward to working with the government, the authorities involved, and other organizations to develop and learn from these projects.”