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Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions - National Cycling Strategy

We have pleasure in including details of the Department of Environments National Cycling Strategy for the UK. This is a very extensive document and subsequently we have tried to assist by creating a simple index of content of the document. Subject headings are:

3:- Cycling and Sustainable Transport

3.1:- Introduction

3.1.1:- The following section introduces detailed discussion of the need to preserve and restore sustainable travel patterns through land-use planning, highways planning and specific sustainability projects. As a whole, the National Cycling Strategy stresses the need to create the conditions in which cycling is made more attractive than using private motor vehicles. This requires more sustainable patterns of development, as well as the promotion of less polluting transport modes. Cycling fits well within the context of the UK Sustainable Development Strategy (Sustainable Development: the UK Strategy, Cmnd 2426, January 1994, HMSO).


3.2:- Cycling and sustainable travel

3.2.1:- Cycling can contribute to a wide range of sustainability benefits. to achieve them the National Cycling Strategy will seek to:

  • encourage more people to cycle and so reduce pollution, enhance local environments and improve health;
  • secure a shift from cards to bicycles, whilst ensuring that the space released is not filled up by more cars;
  • increase accessibility to amenities and services by bicycle;
  • make cycling safer.

3.2.2:- Cycling must be seen as an integral part of a sustainable transport strategy, rather than a bolt-on extra. Along with walking and public transport it is an essential ingredient for an approach that seeks to encourage more energy-efficient, less resource-consuming means of transport.

3.2.3:- To secure the benefits of a significant increase in cycling will require changes to reflect the full costs of, and reduce dependence on, the car. This can be done by:

  • ensuring that the full, external costs of car use are paid by the user;
  • using land-use planning policies to reduce the need to travel;
  • giving high priority to local accessibility in location decisions for jobs, shopping, education, health, leisure and other facilities;
  • having comprehensive, co-ordinated, safe and reliable public transport;
  • ensuring that transport planners and public transport operators enable cycling to be combined with use of public transport.

3.2.4:- The Government has already adopted policies to increase the real cost of car use and to integrate land-use and transport to reduce reliance on the car (PPG13: Transport).

3.2.5:- Sustainable transport is the key for Local Agenda 21, who action plans should promote both cycling and walking and involve local communities in the decision making process. (Local Agenda 21 is named after Agenda 21, the manifesto for sustainable development which was agreed by 170 countries including the UK at the 1992 “Earth Summit”.)

3.2.6:- However, to achieve a more sustainable pattern of transport, new indicators for assessing the sustainability of transport need to be developed. These should emphasise accessibility, reduced car dependence, and reduced energy use and pollution. Such indicators need to be meaningful and usable as performance measures; capable of indicating who gains and who loses; and demonstrate the impact that new policies have on our quality of life.

  • DOT/DoE to consider how indicators of sustainability for appraisal and monitoring of transport projects and schemes might be developed
  • Department of Health to monitor physical activity in relation to cycling and/or the rate at which it is taken up as an “exercise prescription”.


3.3:- Planning for local transport

3.3.1:- An effective sustainable transport policy needs clear overall goals, not only for helping to develop options, but also in order to assess and later to monitor performance. In order to assess the performance of such a strategy, indicators are needed to measure the effects of alternatives. To design schemes that will meet key objectives requires new techniques, such as for assessing relative accessibility by different means of transport. It is also essential that all schemes are assessed on a common basis, allowing cycling schemes to compete on even terms with road schemes or public transport. The monitoring procedures for testing the effectiveness of transport packages will need to include a review of the ability of the Common Appraisal Framework to reflect the value of cycling.

3.3.2:- Increasingly local transport strategies are based on concerns about sustainability and generally include a strong emphasis on demand management, improved public transport and more cycling and walking. This provides an enabling framework for local cycling strategies, and can assist both cyclists and pedestrians and reduce the conflict between them. Indeed, increased cycle use can help achieve key objectives, especially those to increase access opportunities, reduce congestion and pollution, improve the local environment, improve health and help implement Local Agenda 21.

3.3.3:- Local transport strategies, in addition to providing infrastructure, will need to address the key areas where there is the greatest potential to achieve a transfer from the car to cycling, such as trips to work and to school. Local transport strategies should also address leisure travel and ways of increasing choice, such as combining public transport and cycling.

Local authorities to review, with the DOT, whether sustainability is adequately reflected in recent methods for assessing both transport strategies and individual schemes. This approach will require a review of the role of the existing Cost Benefit Analysis technique.


3.4:- Cycling as a means of local transport

3.4.1:- Local strategies should start with clear objectives and targets for cycling. They should be prepared in close consultation with cyclists’ organisations and other transport user groups, and be integrated with other local strategies, including development plans, transport policies and programmes and Local Agenda 21. There should also be links to other strategies, such as health, recreation and tourism.

3.4.2:- Integration with land-use and transport planning and traffic management means:

  • encouraging development patterns and the location of developments which ensure that short strips to work, places of education and local facilities can be made by bicycle;
  • identifying a comprehensive cycle network and safeguarding opportunities;
  • linking strategies to cycle audits of all proposed road building or widening, and traffic management schemes;
  • linking cycling and public transport;
  • ensuring local authorities take the lead in promoting cycling, working closely with others (e.g. employers, health authorities, educational establishments and retailers).
  • Local authorities, for all their functions (health, education, highways etc.), to set local targets for increasing cycling
  • Local authorities to produce their own Green Transport Plans to show how cycling fits in with other transport policies.
3.5:- Cycling to work

3.5.1:- Cycling should be promoted as an integral part of plans by employers to reduce the land and maintenance costs of car parking provision, to reduce car use and to secure health benefits for their employees. This means developing facilities such as secure parking and showers, and providing financial incentives for employees to encourage cycle use to and within work.

  • Commuter plans to be promoted as effective ways of reducing the impact of demand for car travel and to encourage cycling
  • Consideration to be given to reallocating car parking space to cycle parking as a potentially cost efficient use of land by commercial concerns
  • The tax system to be altered to give incentives for cycle use relative to the costs of car use for trips both to and within work, including application to travel allowances for local Councillors


3.6:- Cycling in urban areas, especially town centres

3.6.1:- There is a need to reassess the allocation of space and amount of facilities provided, especially in town centres, for the most space and energy-efficient means of transport: walking and cycling. Proposals for reallocation, improved access and improved facilities need to be an integral part of a strategy for improvements to the environment and traffic management in town and local centres. To achieve this, there will be a need to develop partnerships with retailers and other service providers to promote more sustainable means of access for people and for goods delivery. Better access and parking for cyclists should be an integral part of such a strategy and should be recognised in funding criteria for local transport strategies and for regeneration funds (e.g. Single Regeneration Budget).

  • Town centre management action plans to include proposals for improved access, cycling facilities, publicity and promotion
  • Local authorities to work with employers and retailers to develop easy access and secure cycle parking in town centres, at stores and other attractors


3.7:- Cycling in the countryside

Leisure cycling has great potential for growth, it can be a stimulus to tourism, it is a high-quality way to enjoy the countryside and a good way to introduce people to cycling for their everyday transport needs. To encourage more leisure cycling there needs to be small-scale improvements, especially near to where people live, followed by better signposting, marketing and information. Flagship leisure routes, using quiet roads or disused railway paths, can increase the profile and boost leisure cycling in town and countryside.

  • Safe local links to be promoted between town and countryside
  • Recreational and leisure cycling to be promoted as an alternative to travel by car
  • The multi-purpose value of cycling investment for health, leisure and transport interests to be recognised.


3.8:- Longer journeys

For longer journeys, bicycles can combine very well with public transport, especially rail. With provision at both ends of a longer public transport journey, this combination can offer competitive door to door transport choice. Combining cycling with public transport requires improved provision and a strategic approach to its development. There are no legal or practical constraints to prevent such improvements, which can also benefit other passengers.

However, planning and co-operation are essential to ensure that space on trains is used flexibly, and that secure parking and effective information is provided at stations.

  • Ensure, as railway rolling stock is refurbished or renewed, that there is sufficient flexible space on all passenger trains to carry bicycles
  • Plan to provide secure cycle parking at all public transport interchanges by 2000


3.9:- Resources

3.9.1:- The available resources will need to be more targeted on cycling to bring about a significant change in cycling's share of all journeys, and to counteract the effects of long-term under-investment in cycling. TPP “packages” (in England) and other programmes need to be more cycle orientated as part of a cost efficient and integrated approach to transport. Resources within other programmes or projects should contribute to the objective of growth in opportunities to cycle. The shift of priority (or resources) to those schemes which provide for alternatives such as cycling, rather than those which simply increase motor traffic capacity, will need to be maintained. Other sources will include partnerships in the fields of health, education, urban regeneration and in the countryside, as well as private developers, sponsorship and the National Lottery, and public transport improvements.

3.9.2:- Above all, there needs to be a cultural change whereby local and national Government and all their partners “think bike” as part of sustainability. A successful cycling policy will only happen if it is owned by all the “stakeholders”, not driven only by minority interests. The stakeholders include the community at large. Campaigns like “Travelwise” are a start towards building the new “think bike culture” as part of an integrated transport policy.


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