Research

Research to support Active Travel in communities

We’ve collated an extensive amount of research supporting Active Travel for walking and cycling in local communities.

Use the links to find out more.

July 2021

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods Residents’ Survey – Tracy Logan, Rob McPhedran, Amy Young, Emily King – Kantar for the DfT

In May 2020 the Emergency Active Travel Fund was announced. The scheme aims to get more people to travel on foot and bike and helps mitigate public transport capacity constraints due to Covid-19 social distancing requirements. It supports local authorities to develop cycling and walking facilities and projects such as Low Traffic Neighbourhood Schemes (LTNs). LTNs are programmes that intend to reduce road access to motorists and increase spaces for walking and cycling. These schemes (LTNs) have been developed in towns and cities across England. This research specifically focused on the views of residents living in areas where LTNs have been implemented, in order to understand attitudes towards – and usage of – the interventions amongst those living in these residential areas. This research will therefore inform future development and investment in this type of cycling and walking scheme.

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November 2020

Public Opinion Survey on Traffic and Road Use – Kantar for the DfT

In May 2020 the Emergency Active Travel Fund was announced. The scheme aims to get more people to travel on foot and bike and helps mitigate public transport capacity constraints due to Covid-19 social distancing requirements. It supports local authorities to develop cycling and walking facilities and projects such as Low Traffic Neighbourhood Schemes (LTNs). LTNs are programmes that intend to reduce road access to motorists and increase spaces for walking and cycling. These schemes (LTNs) have been developed in towns and cities across England. This research was conducted for the Department for Transport (DfT) and explored public attitudes to traffic and road use in England. Research exploring behaviours and attitudes towards sharing the road with different road users, including views on some proposed changes to The Highway Code.

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July 2021

Sharing our Roads Safely -Report of qualitative and quantitative findings – Tracy Logan, Samantha Bond, Anna Heltmann, Lucy Williams – Kantar for the DfT

Research exploring behaviours and attitudes towards sharing the road with different road users, including views on some proposed changes to The Highway Code.

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July 2021

Quantifying the health and economic benefits of active commuting in Scotland – Graham Baker, Rebecca Pillinger,  Paul Kelly, Bruce Whyte – Journal of Transport & Health Volume 22, September 2021

This study provides clear evidence of the substantial health and economic benefits that active commuting makes at a population level. These findings support the case for further investment to increase levels of walking and cycling.

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July 2021

Impacts of 2020 Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in London on Road Traffic Injuries –  Anna Goodman, Jamie Furlong, Anthony A. Laverty, Asa Thomas, Rachel Aldred- Findings

We assessed the impacts of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) implemented in 2020 on road traffic injuries. We used police data from October-December 2018/2019 (pre) compared with the same period in 2020 (post). We found absolute numbers of injuries inside LTNs halved relative to the rest of London (ratio 0.51, p<0.001). Considering changes in background travel patterns, our results indicate substantial reductions in pedestrian injury risk. Risks to other road users may also have fallen, but by a more modest amount. We found no evidence of changes in injury numbers or risk on LTN boundary roads

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Sept 2020

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, Car Use, and Active Travel: evidence from the People and Places survey of Outer London active travel interventions – Rachel Aldred Anna Goodman – SocArXiv  papers

This paper reports on analysis of active travel interventions in Outer London. We find stronger impacts of effects (decreased car ownership and use, increased active travel) in intervention areas where Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) were introduced. Decreased car ownership and use is onlyfound in such areas. Sample size for LTN areas is small and hence uncertainty about effect magnitude is large, but effect direction is consistent. This suggests that to reduce car use as well as increase active travel, LTNs are an important part of the intervention toolbox

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May 2021

Cycling behaviour in 17 countries across 6 continents: levels of cycling, who cycles, for what purpose, and how far? –
Rahul Goel, Anna Goodman, Rachel Aldred – Transport Reviews – Taylor & Francis Online

Clustering the cities and countries into homogeneous cycling typologies reveals that high cycling levels always coincide with high representation of females and good representations of all age groups. In low-cycling settings, it is the reverse. We recommend that evaluations of cycling policies include usage by gender and age groups as benchmarks in addition to overall use. To achieve representation across different age and gender groups, making neighbourhoods cycling friendly and developing safer routes to school, should be equally high on the agenda as cycling corridors that often cater to commuting traffic.

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April 2021

Economic impacts on local businesses of investments in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure: a review of the evidence –
J Volker & S Handy – Taylor & Francis Online

Local officials in the North America frequently face opposition to new or expanded bicycle or pedestrian facilities. Taken together, the studies indicate that creating or improving active travel facilities generally has positive or non-significant economic impacts on retail and food service businesses abutting or within a short distance of the facilities, though bicycle facilities might have negative economic effects on auto-centric businesses.

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April 2021

Identifying urban features for vulnerable road user safety in Europe – SocarXiv papers – Marina Klanj, Laetitia Gauvina, Michele Tizzonia, and Michael Szell

One of the targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals is to substantially reduce the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic collisions. To this aim, European cities adopted various urban mobility policies, which has led to a heterogeneous number of injuries across Europe.

Our results suggest that policies aimed at increasing the modal share of walking and cycling are key to improve road safety for all road users.

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March 2021

The legacy of COVID-19: lessons and challenges for city-scale air quality management in the UK
Laura De Vito ORCID, Jo BarnesORCID, James LonghurstORCID, Ben WilliamsORCID & Enda HayesORCID  – Cities and Health  – 30 Jul 2020

The lockdown enforced by the UK Government to prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has led to an unparalleled reduction in traffic volumes and significant drop in nitrogen dioxide concentrations in most cities, although the picture emerging from residential emissions of particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) is more complex. The scale and degree of the intervention have exposed the level of change required to reduce pollution. Learning from the COVID-19 crisis, we identify three challenges that must be overcome to improve air quality in cities. First, what measures would be effective that balance civil liberties with enforcement action on air pollution? Second, how do we consolidate the cultural change needed to retain and normalise the social practices driving the observed pollution reduction? Third, how do we tackle these challenges in a way that breaks current patterns of socio-economic, health and environmental inequality?

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March 2021

The climate change mitigation effects of daily active travel in cities – Transportation Research Part D:  –
Volume 92, March 2021

Active travel (walking or cycling for transport) is considered the most sustainable form of personal transport. Yet its net effects on mobility-related CO2 emissions are complex and under-researched. Here we collected travel activity data in seven European cities and derived life cycle CO2 emissions across modes and purposes.

How much CO2 can be saved by walking, cycling and e-biking in towns and cities?
Cyclists had 84% lower CO2 emissions from all daily travel than non-cyclists.
Life cycle CO2 emissions decreased by 14% for each additional cycling trip.

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March 2021

A data-driven approach for assessing biking safety in cities – Sara Daraei, Konstantinos Pelechrinis & Daniele Quercia – EPJ Data Science volume 10, Article number: 11 (2021)

With the focus that cities around the world have put on sustainable transportation during the past few years, biking has become one of the foci for local governments globally. Cities all over the world invest in biking infrastructure, including bike lanes, bike parking racks, shared (dockless) bike systems etc. However, one of the critical factors in converting city-dwellers to (regular) bike users/commuters is safety. In this work, we utilize bike accident data from different cities to model the biking safety based on street-level (geographical and infrastructural) features. Our evaluations indicate that our model provides well-calibrated probabilities that accurately capture the risk of a biking accident. We further perform cross-city comparisons in order to explore whether there are universal features that relate to cycling safety. Finally, we discuss and showcase how our model can be utilized to explore “what-if” scenarios and facilitate policy decision making

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Sept 2020

Effect of pop-up bike lanes on cycling in European cities -Sebastian Kraus and Nicolas Koch 

The bicycle is a low-cost means of transport linked to low risk of COVID-19 transmission. Governments have incentivised cycling by redistributing street space as part of their post-lockdown strategies. We evaluated the impact of provisional bicycle infrastructure on cycling traffic in European cities using a generalised difference-in-differences design. We scraped daily bicycle counts spanning over a decade from 736 bicycle counters in 106 European cities. We combined this with data on announced and completed pop-up bike lane road work projects. On average 11.5 kilometres of provisional pop-up bike lanes have been built per city. Each kilometre has increased cycling in a city by 0.6%. We calculate that the new infrastructure will generate $2.3 billion in health benefits per year, if cycling habits are sticky

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April 2015

Devon cycling and walking trails – Economic impact analysis for Devon County Council

In September 2015, Devon County Council (Devon CC) commissioned SQW to develop an
economic impact model and analysis based in three landmark cycling and walking trails in
the Devon strategic rural cycling network: Drake’s Trail, from Tavistock to Plymouth
(incorporating the Plym Valley Trail); Exe Estuary Trail, from Exeter to Exmouth and
Dawlish Warren; and Tarka Trail, from Barnstaple to Braunton and Meeth.

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April 2019

Segregated cycleways and e-bikes: the future of urban travel

Friends of the Earth report showing that 1/3 of urban journeys could be by bike with investment in segregated cycle ways and e-bike infrastructure.

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May 2016

Overcoming barriers and identifying opportunities for everyday walking for disabled people, Living Streets

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January 2017

Typical Costs of Cycling Interventions:

Interim analysis of Cycle City Ambition schemes- Transport for Life

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May 2016

Working together to promote active travel

a briefing for local authorities, Public Health England

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November 2011

How Infrastructure relates to cyclist injuries

A literature review considering the role of infrastructure in the cause and reduction of injuries to cyclists (2011) – DfT

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April 2017

Assessing cycling and walking investment

Investing in Walking and Cycling: Rapid Evidence Assessment

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27 March 2016

Framework for establishing a relationship between a cycling investment and specific local economic and social impacts

Framework for establishing a relationship between a cycling investment and specific local impacts

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11th February 2016

Integrated transport block funding: value for money assessment

Assessing the value for money of schemes funded by integrated transport block funding for local authorities

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26th January 2017

Local Sustainable Transport Fund: what works?

Overview of activities undertaken across all 96 Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) projects, across all 4 years

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23nr November 2015

Local Sustainable Transport Fund: interim meta-analysis

Interim meta-analysis of the 12 Local Sustainable Transport Fund large projects

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26th March 2015

Sustainable travel projects: revenue and capital investment

Explores how revenue and investment could affect travel behaviour towards cycling, public transport and other sustainable modes

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November 2019

Cycling UK Statistics

Cycling UK’s policy team’s updated statistics, reports and research about cycling. They use official sources, largely those collected by government, for most of the figures. The key to them, and a summary of each source, is available

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June 2018

Women – reducing the gender gap

This Sustrans report examines the travel behaviour, attitude and levels of cycling across several UK cities

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Research and Studies on Active Travel

Making a case for Active Travel

Review our reports and case studies which support the demand for Active Travel. Providing walking and cycling infrastructures in local communities.

To support expenditure on cycling and walking infrastructure