Policy & Influence

New Insight on Active Travel and Physical Activity

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Two new reports provide further invaluable evidence of how walking and cycling for transport can support physical activity.

1. Active Travel Uptake and Physical Activity

Explores data from the People and Places Survey (used by Transport for London to evaluate their Mini-Holland scheme) to understand the relationship between active travel and physical activity outcomes.

Key findings:

  • Less active people were more likely than active people to increase their active travel (good evidence that active travel can be an effective way of helping inactive people become more active)
  • People who increased active travel also tended to increase their overall physical activity levels (suggesting new active travel adds to total physical activity rather than displacing it)

2. Variation in Active Travel

Uses historical Active People Survey and National Travel Survey datasets to assess variation in, and the scope to increase, participation in active travel. It includes two scenarios that show the impact if everywhere had London’s short walking rates, or Cambridge’s cycling rates.

Key findings:

  • Active travel varies by trip purpose, even for trips of similar (short-to-medium) length, so there is big potential to shift people from other modes
  • If cycling rates were as high for all trip purposes as they are for commuting, the number of cycling trips per person would more than double
  • If the rest of England was as likely as London to walk journeys under a mile, 1.3m more people would achieve a short daily walk (including 130,000 5-10 year-olds)
  • If the rest of England was as likely as Cambridge to cycle, 10% of all trips would be cycled, compared to 2% at present

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