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Cycle Campaign News July 2014

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From the Editor

Cycling has most decidedly won the health argument - reports and academic papers on its physical benefits are rarely missing from our 'New Publications' section.

Persuading politicians of the theoretic need for adequate funding is likewise going well (see 'Headlines'), yet the Government is still to allocate serious, long-term cash on a remotely adequate scale. Also, in their bids for money for transport schemes, most Local Enterprise Partnerships in England seem to be demonstrating a marked preference for road projects over healthier and more sustainable options.

So, how do you hone your influencing skills or pool those you already have? Come to one of CTC's campaigner training days - the next is in Sheffield on 13 September (see 'Diary Dates' for details).

Cherry Allan

CTC Campaigns

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Previous Publication: 

New publications

British Social Attitudes Survey 2013: Public attitudes towards transport (DfT)      

Yearly report covering opinions on congestion, road building, sustainable travel, the environment and road safety. Its findings from 2013 show that, of respondents:

  • 37% said they could just as easily cycle for many of the journeys of less than two miles they now make by car;
  • 42% had access to a bicycle (40% owned one and 2% had regular use of one belonging to someone else);
  • 63% said that they had not ridden a bicycle in the previous 12 months;
  • 48% of cyclists agreed that it is too dangerous for them to cycle on the roads compared to 67% of non-cyclists;
  • 69% of females said it is too dangerous for them to cycle on the roads compared to 53% of males;
  • 68% were in favour of 20 mile per hour speed limits in residential streets (not significantly different from 2012, but more people were against the idea - 16% in 2013 as opposed to 11% in 2012);
  • 39% indicated that they are willing to reduce the amount they travel by car to reduce the impact on climate change;
  • 61% indicated that they were concerned about damage to the countryside from road building.

So, there's clearly much potential for more cycling, but there's still work to be done on perceived and real hazards. 20 mph limits are one of the solutions and it's good to know that they haven't stopped enjoying significant support from the British public - although there must be no let-up in promoting their benefits, given the increase in the otherwise low number of objectors.

Strategic Economic Plans Review: A brief review of LEP proposals (Sustrans / Campaign for Better Transport)

Research concluding that the Government's £2bn Local Growth Fund is at risk of being dominated by road projects. Only 49% of the initial bids submitted by Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) sought funding for extending travel choice (and even then, much of this is associated with large-scale road schemes), while just 46% have put forward projects for walking, cycling or public transport.

The analysis is also critical of the lack of transparency shown by LEPs during the development of their bidding documents (SEPs or Strategic Economic Plans). Only 54% ran a public consultation, with a third offering no public scrutiny at all.

Transport and Health in London: the main impacts of London road transport on health (Greater London Authority)

Researchers: Dr James Woodcock and Anna Goodman

Report commissioned by the GLA to find out the health implications of transport policies. Using The Integrated Transport & Health Impact Model (ITHIM), a bespoke tool for London, the researchers found that:

  • The health benefits of physical activity from walking and cycling outweigh the harms of exposure to air pollution and road traffic injuries;
  • Currently around 25% of Londoners meet their minimum physical activity needs (150 minutes per week) through walking and cycling for transport alone;
  • The increased cycling expected by 2031 in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy could deliver health benefits of between 3,800 and 6,800 years of healthy life for the population of London, nearly £250 million in monetary terms.

Looking further into the future, this research concludes that over 60% of travel time could theoretically be spent walking or cycling - currently only 28% of travel time is.  If, in the longer term, this theoretical potential could be fulfilled, it would deliver over 61,500 years of health benefit each year. It would also mean that around 60% of Londoners could meet their physical activity needs through transport alone, delivering an economic benefit of nearly £2.2billion

New Walking and Cycling Routes and Increased Physical Activity: One- and 2-Year Findings from the UK iConnect Study

Anna Goodman, Shannon Sahlqvist and David Ogilvie, on behalf of the iConnect Consortium, published in the American Journal of Public Health

A study into the impact on physical activity of ‘Connect2’ routes developed in three communities by Sustrans along with local authority partners. Finds that two years after they were built, people living nearby increased their total levels of physical activity, compared to those living further away. People living 1km (0.6 miles) from the new routes had increased their walking and cycling time by an average of 45 minutes per week more than those living 4km (2.5 miles) away. There was no evidence that the gains in walking and cycling were offset by reductions in other forms of physical activity.

The three subjects of the study were two traffic-free bridges, one across Cardiff Bay and the other in Kenilworth in Warwickshire over a busy trunk road; and a new boardwalk along the River Itchen in Southampton. All of these new crossings link into extensive networks of routes.

The Case for Action by the Active Transport for Healthy Living Coalition

Report spotlighting the breadth of existing work that demonstrates the benefits of active transport for health, the economy and the environment. Also identifies opportunities within the planning, design, engineering and transport policy realms to increase levels of active transport.

Active Transport for Healthy Living is a collaboration of professional institutions and other partner organisations.

Community Matters: Making our Communities Ready for Ageing - a call to action (International Longevity Centre / Age UK)

Report on how communities need to adapt to an ageing society. Argues that it’s not just about catering for basic needs, but also about making sure communities are fun places for all. Highlights the importance of increasing the numbers of cyclists across the life-course as a public health, environmental and social goal by Health and Wellbeing Boards and local authorities.

Evaluation of the longer semi-trailer trial: annual report 2013 (DfT)

Report on the second year of the DfT’s longer semi-trailer trial. Says that: “The evidence to date indicates that operating the LSTs on the trial so far has not led to an increase in casualty rates on public roads, when compared to the general operation of GB registered articulated HGVs. Whilst this is encouraging, it is too early to infer longer term conclusions about the safety of LSTs, as there are many factors associated with their operational practice that need to be taken into account.”

The report also notes, though, that the drivers are part of a specific trial and have been well trained.  At least this shows how much difference good training makes to collision rates, but the report fails to make specific mention of cyclists. CTC objects to longer semi-trailers on the grounds that their manoeuvres are potentially hazardous and intimidating for cyclists, and that they are unfit for use in urban areas and on local roads.

A 2050 Vision for London: What are the implications of driverless transport

By David Begg (commissioned by Clear Channel)

Report examining the claim that autonomous vehicles will transform 21st century travel. Concludes that: “… automated vehicles have great potential. But we must not allow them to shape our cities in the way the internal combustion engine was allowed to in the last century.” Includes discussion of the impact on cyclists and pedestrians.

RAC Report on Motoring 2014: Britain on the road

The results of the RAC’s annual survey of motoring and motorists, based on returns from 1,526 British drivers. This year, the organisation decided to expand on the subject of the ‘multi-modal’ motorist – i.e. drivers who at least at some point during the week choose to travel by means other than their cars. Found that 30% of urban-dwelling motorists are multi-modal, and 21% elsewhere. Also includes a look at potholes (drivers have had enough); Highway Code (drivers need to brush up more); and mobile phone distractions (major concern).

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