We discussed the challenges and opportunities faced by those of us passionate about sustainable modes of travel and examined how to optimise the benefits and public appeal of these investments.
If you were unable to attend the webinar or wish to watch it back, you can do so here. We’ve summarised our main takeaways for you below:
Active travel as quality time
This reoccurring and important theme was at the heart of our discussions. The importance of communicating these benefits is key in aiding the cultural shift to prioritise active travel. Whether it be quality time with family, connecting with your surroundings or the rush of serotonin from a good cycle, the multi-holistic benefits of active travel must be celebrated and promoted. Just one example of how engaging communication can aid that change in behaviour.
The ‘critical mass’
The fear and un-easiness when cycling or walking, especially in busy town centres, must be recognised as a deterrent when choosing active travel. Whether it be through the implementation of car-free cities like in Ljubljana or ‘Mini-Holland’ style cyclist-led infrastructure we need to create choice. Creating a ‘critical mass’ of cyclists was suggested as a means of improving safety, and in turn reducing pollution and encouraging a cultural shift in transportation methods.
The battle for road space
The challenge posed by our archaic road network resonated with speakers due to simply not being fit to support a multi-modal shift. As vehicles continue to get bigger and the ‘car is king’ ideology remains, it is important we work collaboratively to ensure our limited road space begins to bring balance and work equally as well for both road users and active travel modes. This includes ensuring that we address the current lack of interlinking active travel schemes and do away with the advent of the ‘cycle lane to nowhere’.
The visibility of active travel funding
The disparity in funding for active travel infrastructure is something which cannot be ignored. There is currently a £2bn commitment to active travel, which is part of the wider £5bn funding strategy for cycling and buses. In comparison, we’re in the middle of the government’s second Road Investment Strategy funding period (2020-25) which has committed £27bn to improve road infrastructure around the country.
Overall, the difficulty in progressing towards a more active, sustainable and future-proof transport system is multi-faceted. We’ll be keeping the conversation alive by hosting additional events in our Sustainable Travel series, and we’re keen to discuss how to implement strategic communications with you to benefit your sustainable travel projects.
Want to know more? Please contact me, Tom Bennett, Associate Director – Transport: