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After a quick analysis of the various projects we work on here at DTP and following on from the senior team’s recent conference outings, it is clear that Active Travel has become increasingly present in the transport sector, with government agencies, local councils and developers being responsible for its implementation at different scales and in a range of contexts.
But WHAT exactly is Active Travel? WHY is it important? HOW, WHEN and WHERE should Active Travel be implemented? And finally, WHO does Active Travel impact?
Never fear, DTP are here to answer the big questions, and tell you about all things Active Travel.
Firstly, WHAT is Active Travel?
The Active Travel, as you may have guessed is a pretty straightforward concept and does exactly what is says on the tin. Travelling, getting from A to B, wherever that maybe, in an active way, powered by the movement of your body. There are several modes of active travel, including walking, running, cycling (including e-bikes to give you an extra push), and wheeling, whether you use a wheelchair, skateboard, scooter or roller blade, as long as it’s powered by you, it’s Active Travel.
WHY is Active Travel and its infrastructure important?
In a nutshell, increasing levels of Active Travel will benefit people, places and the wider environment, where less vehicles and more moving will result in healthier people living, working and socialising in healthier spaces, and what could be more important than your health?
However, infrastructure is key. People may be willing to ditch the car in favour of walking or cycling but if there is no safe space to do so many will continue to drive the 5-minutes into town rather than walk along the grass verge for 15-minutes. Which is why, we at DTP promote the idea that the Active Travel network needs to be considered at all stages of the planning process, to ensure all new developments provide effective Active Travel routes that connect directly to existing infrastructure.
HOW do we maximise Active Travel?
Here at DTP we use our experience across a wide range of development schemes from garden villages, holiday units and residential developments to roadside facilities and drive-thru restaurants to advise our clients on Active Travel infrastructure that is suitable for the nature and scale of the proposed development. Working with developers and the wider planning team to encourage Active Travel to be considered throughout the entire planning process and beyond creating better developments for the future.
Obviously, Active Travel isn’t suitable for all journeys as some areas are simply too far away or the time it would take to walk, wheel or cycle isn’t feasible, however, the Active Travel network can still be used to reach other services. Effective Active Travel infrastructure should be integrated into the public transport network, for example, walking to your nearest bus stop, getting the bus into town and walking to the local shops through a pedestrianised area.
WHEN and WHERE can we implement Active Travel?
Active Travel can be implemented at any new or existing development, however, the type of infrastructure offered will vary, depending on the nature and scale of a development. Where cycle stands and changing facilities may be offered to encourage staff to cycle to a drive-thru restaurant or pedestrianised streets and off-road cycle routes designed throughout housing developments, allowing a safer traffic free environment for Active Travel to take place.
It is not only Active Travel infrastructure that can be offered at such developments, education, training and promotional materials to encourage the users of a development to change their behaviour and attitudes in favour of Active Travel is equally as important. Such promotional material can be given to staff in the form of a welcome Travel Pack as they begin their new role and/or displayed to other users of the site on posters throughout the development site. (Think your development could benefit from a site specific Travel Pack and Travel Plan? Contact us, and DTP will guide you through the process).
WHO does Active Travel benefit?
Active Travel has the potential to benefit everyone, from those out there travelling actively, to employers, those making unavoidable car journeys and maybe even more importantly, the environment. Getting out and moving on your daily commute or on the way to the shops improves both physical and mental health, getting some fresh air and an additional dose of exercise.
Speaking of fresh air, less cars and vans on the road will reduce the emissions in an area, improving the air quality so we can all breathe easier. Additionally, less congestion will reduce noise pollution, especially in more urbanised areas, creating a calmer environment for all.
For an employer/developer we understand that prioritising Active Travel may well be an after thought as there as so many other things that go into a business/new development, however, healthier, happier employees working and living in ‘greener’, cleaner areas can also benefit a business, that is where we come in, to advise you on how to get the most out of your development plans.
*Follow the DTP social media channels to learn more through our Active Travel series*
*If you are looking to get planning approval for your development and wish to provide an effective active travel infrastructure, DTP would be happy to help and can provide planning application support to cover your highways needs, as well as Travel Plans and Travel Packs to encourage your users to choose sustainably when it comes to travel*