New toolbox launched in the UK to promote cycling and walking schemes


Sometimes it is difficult to provide the economic justification for investing in cycling infrastructure. To help solve this problem Sustrans, the British National EuroVelo Coordinator, have created a simple new tool to assist local authorities and their partners to make a case for and improve cycling and walking schemes.

Evidence from the UK shows walking and cycling can contribute towards economic performance by reducing congestion, supporting local businesses and high streets, and helping to underpin leisure and tourism sectors.

Making it easier for families and communities to walk and cycle can also improve health and air quality.

Current projections suggest the worsening congestion in UK cities is costing the economy £11 billion a year while the economic cost of obesity is £27 billion a year.

Sustrans have therefore developed a toolbox that includes three tools that can be used for forecasting the impact of planned interventions:

The toolbox arose from the need to bring together information and resources for local government to develop a business case for walking and cycling, plan and deliver active travel schemes in their area and link walking and cycling schemes to planning and public health.

The toolbox has been written by Sustrans in partnership with Living Streets, the TAS Partnership and Dr Adrian Davis, following years of working together to advocate for investment in walking and cycling.

Jason Torrance, England Policy Director at Sustrans, said: “There is a growing body of evidence that demonstrates investment in walking and cycling has many economic, social, health and environmental benefits and so it must be prioritised.

“Governments have begun to recognise this, recently with the publication of England’s first Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. The challenge now is to deliver change locally.

“This toolbox brings together existing evidence and supporting case studies from across the UK and beyond to help local authorities and their partners make the case for and deliver walking and cycling solutions on the ground.”

The toolbox has been developed within a UK context and some of the features will change from country to country (e.g. the Recreational Expenditure Model utilises the Annual Spend of an average British cycle tourist).  However, it is possible that the basic principles could be applied in different countries. Certainly it would be useful for anyone involved in developing cycle routes to view and test the tool to see if it could be adapted for use in other countries.

The Active Travel Toolbox can be viewed here.