6. Encouraging Active Travel


  • An increase in road transportation is believed to be a key factor in decreasing levels of active travel and physical activity.
  • Public Health England identified journeys of less than 5 miles or less should be targeted for increasing active travel and public transport.
  • Walking, cycling, scooting and other active travel means give benefit to health as they increase physical activity.
  • In 2017, the national travel survey identify that 78% of the total distance in miles people travelled was by car (as the driver or as a passenger). 68% of all journeys made were under 5 miles. 56% of these 1- 5 miles trips were made by car.
  • The highest bicycle ownership is in children. 82% of young children aged under 11 have access to a bike. 42% of the adult population have access to a bicycle or own one. 66% of respondents to the survey cycle once a year or never.
  • Sustrans identified an economic case that supports the positive benefits of active travel to society.

How to encourage and improve active travel;

  • Ensure that connectivity between existing active travel routes and new routes occurs so that residents can move freely across different environments. This should include key routes to schools, local amenities and workplaces.
  • Support and promote recommendations from local active travel transport strategies such as the sustainable modes of travel strategy, local
    cycling action plans, walking strategies and national policy recommendations that support active travel. Refer to local authorities’ own
    walking and cycling strategies and action plans as available.
  • As with physical activity, support an ‘infrastructure first’ approach so that new residents can be active as soon as they start living in new developments embedding modal shift.
  • Seek advice as necessary from Active Travel teams who can provide information, advice and guidance on the promotion of active travel modes and support the development of travel plans. Promote the use of these plans during both the construction and operational phases of development.
  • Ensure key commercial centres and new employment hubs have facilities that support active travel such as cycle storage facilities and new residential developments, for example flat should have cycle storage facilities installed at the design/building stages of a development.
  • Encourage mixed land use with a good mix of retail and housing and co-location of community facilities as this has been demonstrated to increase walking.
  • In built appropriate areas, consider supporting traffic calming measures to support both unintentional injuries on the road and air quality impact.
  • Consider how inclusive environments are and  could be improved for active travel and includes safe road crossings, adequate levels of street
    furniture and good signage.
  • Consultation on community needs should be considered. People with disabilities, sensory impairments or those conditions such as dementia have differing requirements which should be considered when designing environments to ensure inclusivity and accessibility. Differing life stage issues should be considered to ensure an equitable approach is taken.
  • Active travel opportunities for those in rural communities should be considered and identified barriers addressed where possible.

Page updated: 8/10/2019

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