Following the publication of the UK government’s first cycling and walking investment strategy last month, Sustrans has launched a five-year strategy of its own. The walking and cycling charity will focus on connecting people and places; creating liveable neighbourhoods; and transforming the school run and commutes.
The organisation says it will be focusing on walking and cycling, rather than on sustainable travel more generally, and on providing and delivering solutions for communities.
Xavier Brice, Sustrans Chief Executive, commented:
“The need to rebalance the way we move around is stronger than ever. Walking and cycling must be part of the solution to many of today’s challenges from air pollution to congestion, to high levels of childhood obesity and physical inactivity amongst adults.
“There is a pressing need for leadership on walking and cycling, which I believe we can provide by focusing on our strengths – making it easier for everyone to walk and cycle.
“With this strategy, we are better placed to ensure that our work is truly grounded in communities and that new developments have walking and cycling at their core, not as an afterthought.”
Work will focus on three areas. Firstly, connecting people and places through routes and networks for both leisure and everyday utility trips.
Secondly, by creating liveable neighbourhoods by working with communities to turn streets into “lively, people-friendly neighbourhoods,” and by ensuring that any new developments have walking and cycling at their core, not as an afterthought.
Thirdly, by transforming the school run and commutes. Sustrans says it will work with schools and employers to make it easier for people to walk or cycle for regular journeys.
The strategy also contains an ambitious vision for Sustrans’ flagship project, the National Cycle Network (NCN). Established in 1995 to encourage cycling throughout Britain, the NCN now stretches 14,700 miles across the UK. Sustrans would like to see continuous routes connecting all of the UK’s regions and nations.
Janette Sadik-Khan of philanthropic consultancy, Bloomberg Associates, and former New York City Transportation Commissioner said: “Streets that are better for walking and cycling are better for cities’ liveability, safety and economies. For 40 years, Sustrans has been the leading voice in the urban revolution about how we get around, and today, the world is starting to catch up with them.”