Universities vie for Santander bike hire funding

Santander uni prize
The finalists in the Santander Cycles University Challenge

Santander Cycles has announced the five finalists in its Santander Cycles University Challenge – an initiative that offers Santander UK university partners the chance to develop their own bespoke cycle hire scheme on campus.

The University of Birmingham, Brunel University London, the University of Portsmouth, the University of Surrey and Swansea University have been shortlisted from 23 entrants for the chance to win capital funding for a cycle scheme. Each of the five finalists must now run a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to meet the operating costs of their proposal. The month-long campaign starts in early November.

The two universities that achieve the highest percentage over their fundraising target will receive the capital costs for a cycle scheme valued up to £100,000.

The universities’ proposals would initially see up to 50 bicycles based around their campuses. The aim is for the infrastructure to be in place and operational by Spring 2018.

In the initial phase of the competition, the university teams benefited from expert consultancy allowing them to design bike schemes that meet their specific needs. They received support from Santander and its cycle partner Nextbike, which runs more than 130 schemes worldwide. The shortlisted universities are also receiving advice from Crowdfunder, the UK’s leading crowdfunding platform, on how to raise funds to cover the on-going operating costs.

Matt Hutnell, director of Santander Universities UK, said: “Santander is committed to supporting both higher education and local communities across the UK, and we believe that a cycle scheme, such as this one, could bring significant local benefits to the winning institutions.

“We saw an extremely high standard of entries from many universities, so it was quite a challenge for the judging panel to select the finalists. The level of interest has indicated the enthusiasm for cycle schemes and we hope that whoever wins will be able to make a big difference to life on campus.”

The competition was open to 69 of the 81 UK University partners as it excluded those already covered by an existing cycle scheme. The two winning universities will be announced in December 2017 with the scheme due to be launched in Spring 2018.

Segregated cycle lanes ‘could reduce delays for buses’

Building segregated cycle lanes alongside main roads could speed-up bus services by removing slow-moving cyclists from the carriageway, researchers have suggested, writes Andrew Forster.

The findings challenge the narrative that has developed in London where cycle superhighways have been blamed for delaying bus services by reducing carriageway capacity for motorised traffic.

The research into the impacts of cyclists on bus journey times was conducted by Rachel Aldred, a reader in transport at Westminster University; Phil Jones of consultant Phil Jones Associates; and Luke Best of consultant Multimodal. It appears in the Transport proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

The researchers say the growing number of cyclists using roads in cities such as London can pose difficulties for buses overtaking cyclists.

“Separating the two would bring intrinsic bus journey time benefits that could – in theory – negate disbenefits due to changes in junction timing and/or reduction in dedicated bus space,” they say. They recommend that the impact of creating segregated space for cyclists on bus routes needs to be judged on a case-by-case basis.

Responding to the report, Chris Boardman, Greater Manchester’s new walking and cycling commissioner, said: “Separating bus and cycle infrastructure is commonsense but now we have the evidence to show it makes things better for all road users.”

The researchers used the VISSIM micro-simulation model to study northbound peak bus journey times across London Bridge, where cyclists and buses share a bus lane.

The northbound carriageway features one bus lane and two general motor traffic lanes. All are relatively narrow, being about three metres wide. Morning peak hour flows on the northbound carriageway are around 2,000 vehicles/hour, with over half being bicycles.

Say Aldred, Jones and Best: “The modelling indicates that buses travelling northbound along London Bridge are impacted significantly by cyclists at current peak flows, with an 18% median increase in journey time at peak hour along this route segment, compared to there being no cyclists present.”

Drawing “tentative conclusions”, they say: “It seems likely that where cyclist volumes are very high (substantially more than 100 per hour) this causes delays to buses.

“Such delays are at present neither well understood nor included in modelling work. Yet in London and in some other towns and cities in the UK, these volumes are being seen at peak hours on key bus routes, while current trends and targets suggest even higher cycling volumes will be experienced in the future.”

If the diversity of cyclists increases, with more women cycling, then cycle speeds are likely to decline, they add.

Cyclists can create delays for buses even in wide bus lanes, such as those in London that are 4.5 metres, say the researchers, because bus drivers may be unwilling to overtake cyclists close to stops.

“Moreover, given a bicycle ‘envelope’ of 0.75 metres, and a recommended passing distance of 1.5 metres, a 2.5-metre-wide bus still cannot necessarily safely overtake a cyclist where there is a vehicle in an adjacent lane.”

The research was financially supported by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport through a seedcorn grant, and by Transport for London.

Commuter analysis will get more people on bikes

Laurence Oakes-Ash B&W
Laurence Oakes-Ash: Given the ‘virtuous cycle’ of positive impacts, it is no wonder that commuter
cycling has in recent years moved to heart of urban agendas the world over. Today, many planners
and pundits are celebrating a new era of an old transport mode: the bicycle.

Research that explores differences between those that ride to work and those that don’t will help to shape future travel behaviour, believes Laurence Oakes-Ash
In the twentieth century, planning for the city was about planning for the car. In recent years, however, the true impact of this approach has become only too apparent. From a changing global climate to the obesity epidemic, an over-reliance on the private automobile is driving many of the greatest challenges of our time. With rapidly rising urban populations, these problems are set to intensify – that is unless radical changes are made.

At the same time, the case for non-motorised modes of transport like cycling and walking grows ever stronger. By reducing our dependence on cars while incorporating greater levels of physical activity in city life, active transport modes like walking and especially cycling have paved the way not only to wholesome environments and healthy populations, but also vibrant and sustainable economies.

Understanding travel behaviour

Given this ‘virtuous cycle’ of positive impacts, it is no wonder that commuter cycling has in recent years moved to heart of urban agendas the world over. Today, many planners and pundits are celebrating a new era of an old transport mode: the bicycle.

But just how popular is cycling as an everyday mode of transport? And among which sectors of the population and in which areas is cycling most popular? Answering these questions is a crucial first step to facilitating behaviour change. Cycling accessibility and uptake is shaped by the interplay of multiple factors, both social and infrastructure-based. Other significant factors include variation within a specific geographic area and differences in physical ability. This has prompted some planners to identify present and potential future cycling populations according to specific typologies.

Transport planning should adopt measures that improve access to cycling across the entire range of present and potential cycling populations. Better insights are needed into cycling habits in urban and suburban areas. This is especially important when looking to open up cycling to those who could, but do not yet, use the bike as an everyday mode of transport, a cornerstone of the Department for Transport’s Walking and Cycling Investment Strategy.

Initial work by researchers such as Geller (2007) and Mekuria (2012) reveals the diverse array of cyclist typologies and their associated network preferences. While this work helps us begin to more fully understand the behaviours of cyclists, there is still work to be done. When combined with targeted analytics, open data can help.

As the first step towards painting a ‘geo-demographic’ portrait of commuter cycling behaviours, Dr Paul Hewson, Senior Data Scientist for City Science, ‘furnessed’ travel-to-work data from the 2011 census at the Middle Layer Super Output Area (MSOA) and Output Area (OA) levels. This allowed him to produce an estimate of both distance travelled (as the crow flies) and transport mode for each of the Output Areas in England. Hewson fused this data with the 2011 Area Classification for Output Areas (OACs) to estimate the number of commuter trips and distance travelled by each OAC type. He was then able to work out overall travel-to-work levels for each area classification.

Developing pen portraits

Each of the 2011 OACs, which were developed by researchers at University College London, is assigned a so-called pen portrait label such as “Students around campus” and “Aspiring techies”. This helps illustrate the characteristics of these areas in terms of their demographic structure, household composition, housing type, socio-economic characteristics and employment patterns. However, the Office of National Statistics stressed that within each OAC there will be a degree of variability in the characteristics.

By applying the OAC pen portraits, the initial analysis found that the proportion of residents cycling to work was greatest for the following OACs: (1) “Students around campus,”; (2) “Aspirational techies,”; (3) “Endeavouring ethnic mix,”; and (4) “Aspiring and affluent”. Out of these OACs, “Aspirational techies” and “Aspiring and affluent” both demonstrate a high prevalence of workers within the information, communication, and financial industries, suggesting a strong link between commuter cycling and these particular sectors.

These rough-and-ready findings are consistent with a number of other studies and reports, which highlight the positive role of cycle-friendly urban environments in attracting and retaining skilled professionals and members of the emerging creative class. This group is an increasingly significant social and economic force in the post-industrial cities of North America, Japan, Australia and many European countries. In addition, active commuting has also been repeatedly linked to reduced job turnover, lower rates of absenteeism, and improved productivity among the workforce, as well as less immediately tangible benefits such as improvements in creative problem-solving and innovation.

Suburban and rural riders

Identifying who is cycling to work and where is only part of the picture. Just as important for transport planning is identifying who isn’t. After these four OACs, the analysis suggests that the modal share for commuter cycling quickly tails off. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the groups with the lowest proportion of residents who cycle to work can be found in rural and suburban OACs, ranging from “Rural tenants” and “Ageing rural dwellers” to “Suburban achievers” and “Semi-detached suburbia”. Among these suburban OACs, one might have assumed that cycling is not practical due to long average commutes. Strikingly, however, the analysis shows that cycling accounts in these OACs for a very low proportion (below 5%) of commuting journeys of less than 3km, which for most individuals is an eminently ‘cyclable’ distance. This suggests that interventions to improve commuter cycling accessibility in these suburban areas could see considerable returns on investment.

When it comes to investing in cycling infrastructure, not all cities are created equal. Some race ahead while others lag behind. Given the considerable potential benefits to cities and those that live within them, there is much to be gained by developing cost-effective solutions that turn potential cycling populations into ones that exist in reality. Towards this end, identifying the full range of cycling behaviours within and across municipal boundaries, and targeting interventions accordingly, is a crucial first step for city leaders.

Laurence Oakes-Ash is CEO at City Science.

He will be discussing Dr Paul Hewson’s commuter cycling data analysis results at Healthy Streets. For more details on City Science analytics and services for Sustainable Transport, and related work in connection with LCWIPs, see http://www.cityscience.com/services/sustainable-transport

'Crack LCWIP to support a life less sedentary'

ITP bikes
Neil Taylor (right) with the ITP team

ITP’s Neil Taylor explains how making full use of the Local Cycling and Walking Investment Plan can pave the way to good quality schemes at ground level

Last year saw the publication of the Department for Transport’s eagerly anticipated Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. This has since been accompanied by guidance to local authorities on how they can help double cycling activity by 2025. While the availability of government funding for delivering walking and cycling network improvements remains a topic for debate, the guidance to councils appears sound.

The guidance was developed by an expert advisory team, drawing on international best practice for designing safe, cohesive, direct and dedicated cycle route networks. The 40-page Local Cycling and Walking Investment Plan (LCWIP) guidance advises councils on the process for making the investment case to deliver their network plans.

Six steps to active movement

The LCWIP guidance may provide ‘lightbulb moments’ for councils and political decision-makers pondering why urban highway capacity added in recent years has not ‘solved’ worsening traffic congestion and air quality.

Presuming towns and cities are eager to replicate the success of London’s emerging Cycle Superhighway and Quietway networks, it sets out six steps to achieving walking and cycling nirvana, which are paraphrased below:

Scope – define where, geographically, an LCWIP makes sense and identify the key players.
Evidence – understand where people walk and cycle now, and where infrastructure investment could strengthen and expand active travel activity.
Plan for cycling – devise a cohesive whole network capable of accommodating personal movement at between 10-20mph, using trip origin-destination and route choice data.
Plan for walking – in many places people and bikes won’t mix that well, so define key walking zones and required improvements separately.
Prioritise – you probably can’t afford it all, so figure out what it will cost and which improvements deliver maximum value for money.
Integrate – embed LCWIPs into other local policies, strategies and delivery plans to help secure and allocate funding for their implementation.

Getting it done

Sounds simple? Well it can be, but here are some observations based on ITP’s experience:

• Start with vision and leadership: If councillors aren’t excited or committed, then it probably won’t happen. In many locations, prioritising cycling and walking necessitates re-prioritising road-space or verges. This won’t be for everyone, and it won’t be for everywhere. Getting key decision-makers on a bike in UK and European locations, where public space for walking and cycle network provision is being well-delivered, illuminates what can be achieved.

• Resist compromise: The net effect of previously shying away from trickier decisions means a lot of existing routes in UK towns and cities are circuitous and provided where it was easy, rather than where priority and segregation from traffic are required. If your town or city’s desired cycle network meanders towards a series of indirect or compromised routes, then we’d be the first to say ‘don’t waste the money’. Conversely, if you deliver high-profile, high quality, cohesive routes that clearly cater for demand, then evidence of subsequent uptake should offer the proof and political capital needed for continued investment.

• Involve local walking and cycling groups: In the past many councils seemed to avoid engaging local campaign groups, perhaps because their views on existing networks are uncompromising and (sometimes brutally!) honest. In our experience, working with local cycling communities, to understand how and where people cycle to collaboratively design key pieces of infrastructure, helps secure buy-in and deliver networks that people use.

• Make a ‘whole network’ economic case: Although oft-criticised, WebTAG offers a mechanism for articulating the relatively low costs and significant economic, public health, air quality and traffic decongestion benefits associated with high quality cycle network improvements. We advocate robustly appraising the potential benefits of a complete network, as well as constituent links. Knowing the total ‘big ticket’ cost for a town or city’s walking and cycling network can inform prioritised early delivery of greatest impact/high priority links, informing the case for using developer contributions and Local Growth Fund monies to deliver links that support growth.

• Push-through diminishing returns: Once you have delivered a few high-quality, high priority links there might be a temptation to forget about the smaller connectors. Before you do, don’t forget that the value of the whole network will far exceed that of constituent links. Seeing the job through is a critical success factor for developing a cohesive network.

• Maintain and monitor: Once built, don’t forget about it! Maintaining walk/cycle routes as we do roads is not something we have been great at, but is critical to sustaining an active travel revolution. Designing-in usage counting mechanisms helps understand how your emerging network is being used – helping to make the case for further investment.

A utopian vision?

We know it isn’t necessarily this straightforward, but planning dedicated walking and cycling networks in urban areas need not be science fiction. As the visionary writer HG Wells once said: “Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.” Perhaps by working together, and dedicating meaningful budgets to clearly thought-out LCWIPs, we can contribute to that message of optimism.

Neil Taylor is a director at Integrated Transport Planning (ITP)

Meet Neil Taylor and the ITP team on stand A2 at Healthy Streets on 28 September.

'We will build people-friendly networks' says Norman

Will Norman: ‘I wouldn’t have taken this role if it was just a cycling commissioner job. The fact
it brings in walking makes it a very different proposition for people.’

As safe and convenient new routes are developed, car-free travel will increasingly become the norm, London’s Cycling & Walking Commissioner Will Norman tells Deniz Huseyin

The arrival of Will Norman as London’s first Cycling & Walking Commissioner in February heralded a new approach to reducing car use in the capital. The former global partnerships director at Nike is seeking to develop a comprehensive network of ‘corridors’ that link main roads with Quietways, as set out in mayor Sadiq Khan’s draft Transport Strategy.

Alternatives to superhighways

Norman moved to the Mayor’s office on the understanding that his remit would be broader than cycling strategy. When I met him at City Hall, he was emphatic on this point: “There needs to an approach that doesn’t just focus on a single mode of transport. I wouldn’t have taken this role if it was just a cycling commissioner job. The fact it brings in walking makes it a very different proposition for people. It is about enhancing the local areas where people live, enhancing the facilities for those communities.”

Some cycling campaigners have raised concerns about the scaling back of plans for cycle super highways proposed by the last mayor Boris Johnson and his cycling czar Andrew Gilligan.

The commissioner insists that cycle super highways remain crucial to encouraging more people to travel by bike. He says the East-West CSH, from Parliament Square to Tower Bridge, will be extended further west although plans for it to run along the elevated Westway have been dropped. Other routes due to go ahead are CHS4, which will run from Tower Bridge to Lewisham and CSH9 from Olympia to Brentford.

However, installing cycle superhighways may not always be possible, admits Norman. “There is a network of safe cycling provision across London on some busier roads, but we can’t put them [cycle super highways] on every road. There simply isn’t the capacity.”

Instead, the Mayor’s office is placing more emphasis on Quietways, which run along quieter streets, parks and waterways. By the end of September there should be 60km of Quietways in the capital, rising to 100km by the end of the year, predicts Norman.

“We need to look at driving that mode shift in outer London.” This, he says, will require a greater focus on safety, particularly at junctions. “We also need to make sure that routes are as direct as possible so we don’t send people off on wild detours.”

The case for Quietways

Quietways will only be effective if they are safe along their full lengths, including through junctions, says Norman. Also, measures such as modal filters – which stop through-traffic and rat-running – may be required to improve safety along Quietways. “There will be on-going reviews of Quietways to make sure the roads are quieter and traffic is slower.” He is a strong advocate of the 20mph speed limit, arguing that it significantly reduces the number of road fatalities. “As we roll out these schemes, we need to be looking at how we can make the 20mph limit the default option.”

Quietways will be crucial in attracting new cyclists onto roads, believes Norman. To illustrate this, he describes an encounter during the Ride London event in July, where 70,000 people cycled a 10-mile route in central London that was closed to motor traffic. “I got chatting to a woman from north London who hadn’t been on her bike for 12 years. She was there with her six-year-old daughter who had persuaded her to go along,” he says. “She borrowed a bike from a neighbour after realising she lived near a Quietway that linked to a Cycle Superhighway into central London. She told me she was going to buy a bike the following week and start cycling into work. That’s what we need to be pushing forward because that is how we are going to drive the culture shift and the mode shift.”

The need for smaller, local based schemes does not necessarily diminish the need for cycle superhighways, Norman says. “Some cyclists will continue to use the main roads, and that is why segregated infrastructure is really important.”

He notes how these routes have boosted cycling numbers: since 2014 there has been a 54% increase on the East-West CSH; up 32% along the North-South CSH, from Elephant & Castle to Holborn; and up 56% on Quietway 1, from Greenwich to Waterloo.

Mini Holland’s legacy

Later this month the commissioner will be speaking at Healthy Streets, hosted by Waltham Forest council and organised by Landor LINKS. Waltham Forest was one of three outer London authorities, along with Enfield and Kingston upon Thames, awarded Mini Holland funding by Boris Johnson in 2014. “I have been out to Walthamstow a few times now and have seen significant changes,” says Norman. He acknowledges that Waltham Forest has made greater progress in implementing schemes than the other two Mini Holland boroughs so far, but is confident that, ultimately, all the programmes will not only encourage more people to cycle and walk but will boost local economies.

A case in point is the re-design of Orford Road in the Walthamstow village area, he says. More than two years ago this once busy traffic route was turned into a shared surface area, with planting and cycle parking. With the exception of a hopper bus service, traffic is banned from 10am to 10pm seven days a week.

“This is the first time in living memory there are no vacant shops on Orford Road,” he says. “We have seen a congested, car-dominated place turned into somewhere people can sit outdoors, walk around and go shopping.”

The economic benefits of people-friendly streets are often underplayed, believes Norman. He points to research carried out by Professor Matthew Carmona and his team at UCL’s Bartlett School of Planning. “The UCL analysis found that public realm improvements can deliver significant economic benefits including a 17% in reduction in vacant properties in London,” he says. “We have already seen this evidence elsewhere in the world but we are now seeing it in London.”

Liveable Neighbourhoods

In July the Mayor launched the £85.9m Liveable Neighbourhoods programme, which Norman describes as a continuation of the Mini Holland programme. “We are learning from Mini Holland and some of the successes associated with that, but we want to make sure there are options to increase walking and cycling across a wider number of places in London.”

While three boroughs were awarded Mini Holland funding of about £30m each, Liveable Neighbourhood grants will be distributed more widely, with each successful scheme getting between £1m and £10m. Funding will potentially cover the creation of green spaces, new cycling infrastructure, redesigned junctions and the widening of walking routes to improve access to local shops, businesses and public transport. The deadline for the first round of bids, covering the next financial year, is 20 October, with the schemes announced in December. The chief aim is to encourage more people in outer London boroughs to make shorter journeys on foot or by bike, says Norman.

As part of the mayor’s £2.1bn Healthy Streets Portfolio, a total of £770m will be spent on infrastructure and initiatives to promote cycling in the five-year business plan up to 2021/22. At an average of £154m a year, this is almost double the £79m a year spent over the last mayoral term, Norman points out. This, he argues, demonstrates a clear commitment to getting people to switch to active travel. The draft Transport Strategy has set the target of the proportion of journeys by bike, on foot or public transport rising from the current 64% to 80% by 2041. Norman also wants to see the number of daily cycling journeys more than double from the current 670,000 to 1.5m by 2026.

Mapping future demand

Funding must be directed to where it will have most impact, says Norman. Using data analysis, Transport for London (TfL) has identified 25 corridors with the greatest potential for cycling. “We are using this Strategic Cycling Analysis to build up a network of cycling and walking routes across the capital,” says Norman. “This is based on growth forecasts, population growth and existing demand. We are using this analysis to identify the areas of greatest potential for cycling.”

The corridors run from Heathrow to Brentford in the west, Dagenham Dock to Ilford in the east, Highgate to North Finchley in the north and Streatham to Oval in the south.

TfL will work with boroughs to carry out feasibility studies in each area to develop cycling schemes. By the end of the mayoral term in 2020, Norman hopes that the healthy streets approach will have created people-friendly environments across the capital, though each will be shaped by local needs. “Liveable neighbourhoods might be different from each other. There may be radial routes towards a transport hub or a town centre, or it might be a case of transforming a critical corridor or connecting residential areas to town centres.”

Re-configured streets that are safe and pleasant will encourage a more active lifestyle, says Norman. He points to a study by Public Health England last month that revealed that 41% of adults aged 40 to 60 in England walk less than 10 minutes continuously each month at a brisk pace.

“The impact of inactivity on people’s health in terms of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease is absolutely staggering,” he says. “We need to look at how we can design physical activity into everyday life. That is absolutely essential for the future success of London, not only from a health and economic perspective but also from a social and environmental perspective.”

Besides which, there are cost benefits to switching to active travel, he adds. “Walking and cycling can save you a fortune compared with private car use. Those shorter journeys, to the shops and to school, just aren’t necessary. People just end up doing it because it’s what they have always done.”

Listening to young people

Children have a crucial role to play in helping change travel behaviour, says Norman, referring to TfL’s outreach programmes in schools to encourage active travel. TfL’s Youth Travel Ambassador programme has seen secondary school students talk to their parents about unnecessary car journeys.

In one project students at Isaac Newton Academy in Redbridge carried out a project to monitor air quality in the school car park at drop-off and pick-up time. “Having found that air quality was pretty bad, they ran a campaign involving their parents, which resulted in them reducing car use.”

Norman adds: “Yes, build the infrastructure and people will come, but not everyone will. That’s why you need outreach programmes working with schools, communities and local businesses.”

A neighbourhood that encourages walking and cycling is far more likely to have social interactions and relationships,“ which is what drives a successful local community”.

Will Norman is determined to build a collaborative approach where boroughs work with the local community, businesses and transport authorities. “I think it is this sort of partnership working that can really bring about change, from big schemes down to the smallest schemes. Very often it is an accumulation of all the small things that make a difference to people’s lives.”

Meet Will Norman at Healthy Streets

Funding for active travel in Scotland to double

Scots active

The Scottish government has pledged to double funding for active travel projects from £40m to £80m a year from 2018-19. There are also plans in the Programme for Government, published today, to appoint an Active Nation Commissioner to deliver “world class active travel infrastructure across Scotland”.

The programme, A Nation With Ambition, also states that the government will do more to promote the use of electric bikes “to ensure as many people as possible can benefit from active travel”.

Other proposals include a long distance walking and cycling route similar in scale to the North Coast 500, a 500-mile route in the North Highlands, and 21 miles of new cycle track to connect the A9 route with the wider National Cycle Network.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “We will continue to tackle the challenge of poor public health, matching our actions on smoking and alcohol misuse, with bold new initiatives to reduce obesity, boost active travel, improve mental health and tackle air pollution.”

Working with councils, the government aims to introduce Low Emission Zones (LEZs) in Scotland’s four biggest cities between 2018 and 2020 and into all other Air Quality Management Areas by 2023. An Air Quality Fund will be set up to support local authorities with Air Quality Management Areas. “We will work with the commercial and bus sectors, the Energy Saving Trust and the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership to establish an Engine Retrofitting Centre in Scotland to support the delivery of LEZs, creating new jobs and with the goal of winning business from outwith Scotland,” states the report.

The programme’s transport agenda also includes plans to enable all journeys on Scotland’s bus, rail, ferry, subway and tram networks to be made using some form of smart ticketing or payment. Transport Scotland will aim to deliver a national ‘e-purse’ system for use on the Saltire Card – a smartcard that can be used across public transport networks in Scotland.

The charity Sustrans werlcomed the Scottish Governments announcement to double investment in active travel. Sustrans Scotland Director John Lauder said the move represented a “bold statement of intent in the new Programme for Government”. He said the announcement had the “potential to really change how delivery bodies work in Scotland, and massively increase people’s health and wellbeing. It also sets an example for the rest of the UK.”

He added: “This new funding investment is building on the successes to date in programmes for walking, cycling and improvements to local communities. The challenge for the future is to build on the creative partnerships already working to make cycling and walking easier, particularly local authorities, regional transport authorities, Scottish Canals, the two national parks and Community Trusts taking active travel to the heart of their communities.

“Walking and cycling is delivering a whole range of benefits across health, environment, transport, education and rural and urban economies. Sustrans Scotland is ready to work with partners across the board to help Scotland realise its potential as an Active Nation.”

The charity Cycling UK said the Scottish Government’s level of funding for cycling and walking demonstrated a commitment lacking in other UK national administrations. It noted that funding for cycling and walking in England is projected to be £1.2bn over the next four years, which equals £6.50 per person a year in England outside of London. “In Wales, it is estimated that between £3 to £5 per head is spent on active travel a year, while in Northern Ireland the Department for Infrastructure has previously acknowledged that ‘…the funding available for cycling has been limited and spread thinly,’ ” said Cycling UK.

In Scotland the doubling of investment for active travel will raise funding to an annual £13.50 per head, states Cycling UK. “This is an aspiration each devolved administration should seek to match.”

Suzanne Forup, Cycling UK’s Head of Development Scotland, said: “The return on investment will be massive and wide reaching, as the economy, public health and environment are all set to benefit from this news. This is an excellent step towards allocating 10% of transport spending on active travel, which Cycling UK campaigns for through the collaborative Walk Cycle Vote campaign.”

Paul Tuohy, Cycling UK’s Chief Executive said: “This unprecedented level of investment into active travel from a national government clearly shows the First Minister means business when she talks of addressing Scotland’s environmental and health commitments.

“Once again, we’re seeing Scotland setting the bar high, and this time on Active Travel. Cycling UK would urge England, Wales and Northern Ireland to look to their own public health and environment commitments, and follow in Scotland’s tyre tracks.”

Programme for Government: A Nation With Ambition

TfL offers guided walks to encourage active travel

Shoreditch High Street
The range of walks will include a tour of Shoreditch to discover hidden areas and
see work by some of the world’s greatest street artists

Free guided walks are being offered by Transport for London (TfL) to encourage people to explore the capital on foot and to highlight the benefits of walking for health and wellbeing.

The Mayor’s draft Transport Strategy aims to increase the proportion of people walking, cycling and taking public transport to 80% by 2041, compared with 64% now. “To make this commitment a reality, a wide range of improvements to London’s streets, junctions and public spaces are underway, including the installation of more than 1,700 Legible London signs across the capital, making it easier and more enjoyable to walk around London,” says TfL.

New analysis from the Greater London Authority (GLA) shows that if every Londoner walked or cycled for 20 minutes a day, it would save the NHS £1.7bn in treatment costs over the next 25 years.

The range of 40 ‘Autumn Ambles’ – which will take place on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 September – will include a dementia-friendly stroll in Southwark park, a tour through Camden’s rock ’n’ roll history and a tour of ‘creepy locations’ associated with ghosts, body snatchers and public executions.

Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said: “This year’s guided walks include some fascinating new looks at our great capital. I hope they inspire even more Londoners to get out and about, as walking is not only the best way to explore everything London has to offer, it’s also great for your health and well-being.”

Esther Watts, Senior Dementia Friendly Communities Officer at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “I’m delighted that TfL and Walk Unlimited have chosen to work with Alzheimer’s Society and Cool Tan Arts to provide a dementia-friendly walk in this year’s Autumn Ambles. Exercise is important for everyone’s health and wellbeing, including people living with dementia who may not get as many opportunities to explore London. The sensory walk at Southwark Park is a great way for families to enjoy exercise together.”

To reserve a free place on a walking tour visit walklondon.org.uk 

Find out more about the Mayor’s draft Transport Strategy at http://landor.co.uk/healthystreets/home.php

Paris mayor and police chief clash over cycle lane

paris lane
The suggested route for the new Paris cycleway makes it down the Rue de Rivoli

A cycle lane in Paris championed by the French capital’s mayor has been criticised by the city’s chef of police as being a safety risk, writes Patrick McDonnell.

Mayor Anne Hidalgo and police commissioner Michel Delpuech have been embroiled in a war of words on the proposal. The Le Monde newspaper has dubbed it “The battle of the bicycle”.

The two-way cycle route between the Place de la Bastille in the east of the city to the Place de la Concorde in the west would run parallel to the River Siene. City officials say the scheme will be “one of the city’s centrepieces” when it is completed in 2020.

The route would open up the city centre to cyclists who currently have to negotiate with the French capital’s wide and unforgiving roads.

However, the capital’s police say it could be dangerous because the proposed cycle lanes would require the removal of one lane of traffic on the Rue de Rivoli, one of Paris’s major thoroughfares.

Police say that removing the lane could lead to more congested traffic flow and lower speeds for the emergency services such as police, fire and ambulance vehicles.

Police commissioner Delpuech told Le Monde the project “starts alarm bells ringing”.

There is also a wider issue of improving Paris’ air quality. The city has instituted a series of car-free days in a bid to reduce emissions and France’s president Emmanuel Macron has championed the use of non-polluting travel. Following US president Donald Trump’s decision to renege on the Paris Agreement on climate change, Macron took the Trump declaration “Make America great again” and converted it into the message “Make our planet great again”.

Big rise in NY cyclists linked to roll-out of bike lanes

NY bike lanes
The number of cycling commuters in New York has gone up from 25,000 in 2010 to 45,000 in 2015

The number of New Yorkers regularly making bike journeys has risen nearly 50% in five years, reveals a report from the New York City Department of Transport (NYC DOT).

Between 2009 and 2014 the number of people cycling ‘at least several times a month’ went up 49% from 521,000 to 778,000, says the report.
It adds that the number of daily cycling trips has gone up from 100,000 in 1990 to 450,00 in 2015.

The number of cycling commuters in New York has increased 80% between 2010 and 2015, faster than other major cities in the USA (San Francisco – 51%, Chicago – 44% and Los Angeles – 40%, Seattle – 32%).

The report attributes the rise in cycling to the rolling out of bike lanes in the city. In the last five years the bike network has increased by nearly 300 miles, including 45 miles of segregated lanes, says NYC DOT. Another factor has been the growing popularity of the Citi Bike hire scheme, with trips per day up from 22,172 in 2014 to 38,491 in 2016.

“Miles of protected on-street bike lanes are emboldening the more cautious and risk-averse New Yorkers to take to the streets on a bike, while Citi Bike makes cycling a more convenient option for quick trips around the city and multi-modal commutes – even for those who do not own a bicycle,” states the report.

The NYC DOT survey asked New Yorkers how frequently they are using cycling as a mode of transportation and how that frequency is changing over time.

“By focusing on the cyclist and not the trip, the survey provides a more holistic approach to quantifying cycling activity, especially when used in combination with national surveys, on-going bike counts, and the Citi Bike trip data.”

Cycling in the City: Cycling Trends in NYC


Moran new vice chair of parliamentary cycling group

Layla Moran: It’s faster in Oxford to cycle than drive most of the time, so it’s about making
sure there is investment in the infrastructure around cycling to make people feel safe while
they’re doing it.

LibDem MP Layla Moran has been appointed Vice Chairwoman of the All Party Cycling Group, replacing Conservative MP Alex Chalk. Chair of the group is Labour MP Ruth Cadbury.

The Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West & Abingdon MP called on the government to improve cycling infrastructure in the city and across the country.
Moran submitted an early day motion prior to Parliament going into recess, and said the campaign to encourage people in Oxford to get people cycling complemented calls to reduce air pollution by getting people out of their cars and onto bikes.

The early day motion stated that: “This House congratulates Oxford on its ambition to become the UK’s first Cycling City. It thanks cycling group Cyclox and the Oxford Cycling Forum for their campaign to improve facilities for cyclists in the city; and offered further thanks to Oxford City Council for installing 11 new signs on all roads entering the city centre to proclaim Oxford as a Cycling City.

“The motion notes that the creation of safe and accessible cycling routes across Oxford is vital to helping to reduce air pollution. It calls on the government to support communities in Oxford, Oxfordshire and across the United Kingdom to improve cycling infrastructure and to increase the number of people travelling to work and school by bicycle.”

Moran added: “It’s faster in Oxford to cycle than drive most of the time, so it’s about making sure there is investment in the infrastructure around cycling to make people feel safe while they’re doing it.”