Does investment in cycling work?

In the UK, the answer is “YES”.  A large study that looked at cycling towns in the UK found that […]

In the UK, the answer is “YES”.

 A large study that looked at cycling towns in the UK found that an investment of about A$ 26 per head of population results in a quantifiable increase in the amount of cycling and a corresponding drop in journey made by private motor car.

 (This compares to the investment in road building, which seems to increase congestion no matter how much money is spent)

The work is based on the Cycling Demonstration Towns project by Cycling England.

The analysis compared changes in the proportion of commuters who cycled to work in intervention towns compared with towns that received no extra cash.

Phillip Darnton, who was chair of Cycling England and is now chief executive of Bicycle Association, welcomed the new study:

“This is an extremely rigourous and robust analysis of available data. Given the very short time frame of the Cycling England investment – in operational terms only about two years – it is remarkable that any change at all in travel behaviour has been identified. The absolute number of people who have taken up cycling is very positive, and represents a rapid shift in entrenched travel patterns.”

Dr Anna Goodman, research fellow from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and lead author of the study said:

“Overall, 14 of the 18 intervention towns had a higher rate of cycling in 2011 than would be expected from their cycling levels in 2001, and this research supports the international evidence that town-level interventions can be effective in increasing cycling.

One of the most effective interventions in getting more people cycling, and walking, was “individualised travel planning”, the study found. This involves home and work visits, pointing out how much quicker cycling can be for short journeys, and helping people find pleasant cycling routes to work.

The study also pointed out that a great deal of the increase in cycling’s modal share over the last decade has been from England’s middle classes.

Bristol is one of the towns that was examined – look at their cycling map!


I have culled the above from a more extensive write-up in the Guardian.

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Promoting everyday cycling