New data released today (31 August 2022) shows more needs to be done to meet the Government’s targets around active travel.
Living Streets is calling for continued investment in walking and cycling to ensure targets are met, and the health and environmental benefits of increased walking and cycling can be realised.
The Government published its second Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) in July 2022, aimed at making walking and cycling the natural choices for short journeys. It includes a target of 365 walking ‘stages’ per person per year.
The National Travel Survey 2021 (released 31 August 2022) shows that these numbers have fallen considerably over the last two years. In 2021, people in England walked 279 stages, down from 281 in 2020 and notably lower than 2019 when people walked 332 stages.
The CWIS also has a target of 55 per cent of primary school aged children walking to school by 2025. The new statistics show positive progress is being made with 51 per cent of 5–10-year-olds walking to school in 2021, up from 50 per cent in 2020.
Stephen Edwards, Chief Executive, Living Streets said:
“Encouraging more active travel is essential if we are to improve our environment and increase levels of physical activity to boost the nation’s health, so it was great to see a commitment from Government to increase the number of people walking, wheeling and cycling their everyday journeys in the CWIS. But these latest figures show we need long-term, stable investment to ensure these targets are met.
“We need continued support for behaviour change initiatives, including walk to school programmes, alongside capital investment to improve our streets. Better crossings, clutter-free pavements and low traffic schemes can all make walking a safer and more attractive option for everyone.”
 A ‘walking stage’ is walking for all or part of a journey. For example, walking to catch a bus would count as one walking stage and one public transport stage.
 National Travel Survey: 2021 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) Table nts0303
 National Travel Survey: 2021 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) Table nts0613
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