Myths about investment in walking and cycling busted by research reports

There are many misconceptions about investment in walking and cycling. New research by Sustrans uncovers the truth behind some common myths, by examining the mounting body of evidence showing the many health, environmental and economic benefits of walking and cycling.

Investment reports


What kills most on the roads? – PACTS – November 2020

This analysis by PACTS, of road deaths in Great Britain in 2019, shows the danger associated
with different modes of transport and the total deaths involved with travel by each mode.
This gives a different picture. It shows that, by distance travelled, vans and light goods
vehicles, followed by HGVs, have the highest rate of deaths of other road users.

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pave trhe way

Pave the Way – Transport for All – January 2021

This report presents the findings from our six months of indepth research into the impacts of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods on disabled people. It starts with an introduction to the topic, followed by a chapter on the methods we used and then chapters discussing our findings. We finish by presenting our recommendations and solutions

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Quietway Route 2 cycle tour led ride

A guide to the evidence around low traffic neighbourhoods Sustrans January 2021

Understanding the evidence on the impact of low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) on cities and communities is an important part of their successful delivery. This page provides a handy reference list of existing research on low-traffic neighbourhoods to meet the evidence needs of any practitioners implementing them.

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economic benefits of cycle tourism

Economic Benefits of Cycle Tourism – Cycling UK June 2020

“Cycle tourism makes a significant contribution to the UK
economy, with particular benefits for small businesses in
rural areas. Places that have taken steps to attract cyclists
by developing great routes and facilities have seen the
benefits first-hand.”

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future of transport

Future of transport – user study DfT Nov 2020

The primary aim of this study was to identify consumer characteristics, motivations and barriers associated with the uptake of different new and emerging transport technologies in the UK.


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Role of healthy transport in providing a healthy future for young people

The Role of Transport in Providing a Healthy Future For Young People – October 2019

Transport decision-making and active travel have a fundamental role in supporting the long-term health of young people. – Sustrans and Centre for Transport and Society


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Wider determinets

Public Health England Wider determinants tool – December 2020

Updates to PHE Wider determinants tool includes an update of these 2 indicators: percentage of adults walking for travel at least 3 days a week; percentage of adults cycling for travel at least 3 days a week. Data is searchable by disability, ethnicity, socioeconominc class, age and gender.


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Schools Streets evidence review

School Streets Literature Review – August 2020

A review of the evidence around school streets (timed road closures in front of schools) finds that school streets create space for active travel without causing issues to traffic flow – Edinburgh Napier University, Sustrans, Road Safety Trust


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Fit for Life

Fit for Life

Sustrans report on the 2009 – 2013 Connect 2 programme evaluating when and how walking and cycling infrastructure can have an impact on people’s physical activity.


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Living Streets school run

Swap the school run for a school walk

A Living Streets report, with evidence for and recommendations, on how to get more children walking to school


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Cycling and walking investment strategy: active travel investment models

This paper summarises the structure and underlying evidence and assumptions of three Active Travel Investment Models, for cycling, walking and walking to school, which have been created by Transport for Quality of Life and the Arup Aecom consortium for the Department for Transport.

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Cycling and walking evidence review – October 2019

A list of cycling and walking investments between 2004 – 2019 and their impacts in terms of outputs and outcomes

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High streets

Healthy High Streets – PHE – January 2018

Healthy High Streets: good place making in an urban setting
Information for local decision makers examining how high streets are used as an asset to improve the overall health of local communities

Full Report 

Practice resource summary


Bike Life Report

Inspired by the Copenhagen Bicycle Account, Bike Life is the biggest assessment of cycling in cities and urban areas across the UK and Ireland.

Each city report looks at infrastructure, travel behaviour, the impact of cycling, and new initiatives.

Since first reports produced in 2015, Bike Life has informed policy decisions, justified investment and enabled cities to develop more ambitious action plans for cycling.

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Sport England Active Travel
Sport England Active Travel

Active Travel & Physical Activity – Evidence Review

Sports England’ evidence review finds that active travel infrastructure effectively increases walking, cycling and physical activity.

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sport england

Active Travel & Physical Activity – Evidence from the people and places survey

Sports England’ evidence review finds:

• Increased active travel was not concentrated among the already active. The trend runs the other way (although it is not always statistically significant).
• In other words, people who were less active (in terms of active travel, and physical activity) tended to be more likely to increase their active travel than the already active. that active travel infrastructure effectively increases walking, cycling and physical activity.

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sport england

Variation in active travel and the scope to increase participation:
an analysis of Active People Survey and National Travel Survey data

This report was commissioned by Sport England from Westminster University. It examines potential and scope for getting more people travelling actively (walking and cycling). It does this using two datasets: Active People Survey (2011/12-2015/16) and the National Travel Survey (2002-17). Both have strengths and limitations. APS1 has a large sample size which allows us to look at local authority level, particularly useful for cycling which has strong variation by local authority (but not at regional level). However, its focus is on physical activity rather than travel behaviour. NTS does ask detailed questions about travel behaviour, and the kinds of trips people make, unlike APS including children. However, NTS has a smaller sample size, so only regional (not local authority) breakdowns are possible.

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working together to promote active travel

Working together to promote active travel -2016

A briefing for local authorities from Public Health England

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Economic benefits

Walking & Cycling: The Economic Benefits

Report from Transport for London

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The pedestrian pound

The Pedestrian Pound, Living Streets :

The business case for better streets and places

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Intrim Analysis

Cycle City Ambition : Typical cost of interventions

A summary of typical costs of cycling interventions, based on phase 1 of the Cycle City Ambition programme.

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Investment inputs, outputs and outcomes

Cycling and walking infrastructure strategy

Report on the impacts of previous long-term investment in cycling and walking and lessons learned (includes interactive map)

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LSFT Evaluation

LSTF evaluation: strategic employment sites and business parks

Evaluation of case study projects from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund focusing on commuting patterns to business parks.

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Local Sustainable Transport Fund final meta analysis

Local sustainable transport fund: Final meta-analysis

Evaluation of 12 large projects from Local Sustainable Transport Fund, combining evidence and secondary data to assess the scheme’s impact.

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LSTFE Executive report

LSTF evaluation: carbon impacts and congestion relief

Evaluation of case study programmes from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, focusing on congestion relief and carbon impacts.

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Town Centre Sustainable Transport

LSTF evaluation: impact of sustainable transport measures on town centres

Evaluation of case study projects from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, focusing on the impacts on town centres.

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Published Project Report

Sustainable Travel Towns: evaluation of the longer-term impacts

Evaluation of longer term impacts of the Sustainable Travel Towns scheme, which involved a £10 million investment in ‘smarter choice’ programmes.

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Visitor travel case study

LSTF evaluation: visitor travel and sustainable transport

Evaluation of case study projects from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, focusing on the impacts on visitor travel and bike tourism.

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Cycle city ambition report

Cycle City Ambition: baseline and interim report

Initial findings from the evaluation of the Cycle City Ambition, a programme providing funding to 8 cities.

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Synthesis of Evidence

Impact of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund: synthesis of evidence

Overview of evaluation findings presenting the Local Sustainable Transport Fund’s effects on transport use, the economy, carbon emissions and road safety.

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Sustainable travel report

Impact of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund: summary report

Evaluation findings from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, England’s biggest-ever competitive fund for sustainable transport.

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Research report

The effects of Smarter Choice programmes in the Sustainable Travel Towns

Full independent report to evaluate results from the ‘Sustainable Travel Towns’ which implemented ‘Smarter Choice’ measures.

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To support expenditure on cycling and walking infrastructure