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DfT funded study shows impact of funded investment on cycling

Posted on in Cycles News

Sustrans have released data from their DfT funded study into the impact of funded investment in cycling programmes.

The Cycling City and Towns programme was a Department for Transport (DfT) funded programme of investment in cycling in 12 towns and cities from 2008-2011, built on earlier experience in six Cycling Demonstration Towns which began receiving funding in 2005.

The aim of the programme was to explore the relationship between investment in cycling as part of a whole-town strategy, and the number of cyclists and frequency of cycling trips.

The study, conducted in partnership with Transport for Quality of Life, Cavill Associates and University of the West of England, found that trips by bike increased in all 18 towns and cities in England that had received some government investment for cycling, such as cycle lanes and cycle training.

Automatic count data showed that cycling trips increased by 24 per cent over three years and on average by 8 per cent a year.

The largest increases were seen in Stoke-on-Trent (62 per cent) and Greater Bristol (40 per cent), with growth also achieved even in areas like York (6 per cent) and Cambridge (9 per cent) where there was already a relatively high level of cycling.
The overall annual expenditure per head of population was £14 for just under three years in the 12 towns and cities, and £17 for five-and-a-half years in the six Cycling Demonstration Towns.

Dr Andy Cope, Director of Insight, Research & Monitoring Unit at Sustrans, said: "The evidence of the study is clear - increasing levels of cycling in our towns and cities is very much possible.

"The growth in cycle trips in the participating towns and cities reflects the fact that investment comparable to that spent in Denmark and the Netherlands stimulates changes in levels of cycling. The study also indicates sustained long-term commitment to investment in cycling is key to growing cycle use.

"We can confidently say the results of the programmes are replicable in towns and cities across the UK. If we want to build on this success, we need strong leadership and long-term commitment from both national and local governments."

Lynn Sloman - now a Board Member of Transport for London, but formerly a Board Member of Cycling England, which delivered both programmes - said: "If we really want to achieve ‘lift off' for cycling, we need a sustained investment programme targeting the same places over at least one decade, and ideally two.

"It's about time that Transport Ministers stepped up their ambition for high quality, long-term, proactively-led cycling investment programmes that made best possible use of public money. Then we might really start to look like a cycling country."

It is hoped that these findings will help strengthen the case for investment in cycling, and can inspire and encourage other towns and cities to plan and implement programmes that get more people on their bikes.

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