Research & reports

Title: Essential Evidence (182): Sustainable Travel Towns: An evaluation of the longer term impacts

Organisation: Travelwest
Date uploaded: 5th March 2019
Date published/launched: February 2019

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Top line:
City-wide sustainable travel interventions in three English towns led to increases in cycling and walking, sustained five year post project, while car use declined.

More detail
Interventions addressing a large number of people who are at a relatively small risk of injury and illness may be more effective than interventions addressing small numbers at high risk. This is an important consideration in areas of public policy and as such has been applied to areas of transport planning including road safety. Similarly, there is strong evidence that whole town or city interventions which may contain many intervention types are more effective than solely localised interventions at increasing levels of active travel and reducing car use.

In 2004, three towns – Darlington, Peterborough and Worcester – jointly received £10 million funding from the DfT for the implementation of large-scale ‘smarter choice’ programmes over a five year period, as part of the ‘Sustainable Travel Towns’ (STT) demonstration project. All three programmes put in place a range of initiatives aiming to encourage more use of non-car options – in particular, bus use, cycling and walking – and to discourage single-occupancy car use.

An evaluation was conducted of the impacts of the project, which concluded that STT was successful in reducing travel by car and increasing the use of other modes, from a comparison with trends in other medium-sized urban areas.

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