Comment: Building habits from positive changes

01/12/2020
Chris Ames

Earlier this year, the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT) published its policy position on active travel. Mark Kemp, chair of ADEPT’s Transport and Connectivity Board, explains more about the policy position and how active travel is a vital component of the transport solution.

Active travel is defined as ‘non-motorised forms of transport that involve physical activity, such as walking, cycling and manual scooting’ (1). It can also include public transport for longer distance trips as these generally involve walking or cycling components.

It has been described by the Committee on Climate Change (2) as an ‘essential element of the transition to a net zero carbon economy, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality’. It is hugely beneficial to the environment, but also generates health, economic and social benefits; can contribute to improved wellbeing and help to prevent or manage a range of chronic health conditions. It can also contribute to economic performance by reducing congestion.

Following the climate change emergency declarations made by local authorities, ADEPT began working on an Active Travel policy position at the end of 2019, together with stakeholders including Public Health England, Association of Directors of Public Health and Sustrans.

A few months later, social distancing measures introduced as a result of COVID-19 resulted in changes to how we travel, with unprecedented levels of walking and cycling across the UK. This change to how we travel created opportunity and meant our policy position document was even more pertinent.

At ADEPT, we are keen to continue the trend of active travel. It is a top priority for policymakers and planners, given the contribution it can make to the quality of place and the health of the community. For our transport networks to be fit for the future we all need to choose the most appropriate method for the journey we are making. The use of active travel needs to increase significantly, particularly for the first mile/last mile elements of our journeys.

During lockdown, local authorities introduced new measures to enable social distancing in areas with a high footfall and narrow footpaths, which both supported the economic recovery and showed communities how such places could be made more accessible.

Measures have included reduced waiting times at pedestrian crossings, installing temporary roadways and signage, and re-allocating road space seeking to make active travel feel safer and more convenient.

ADEPT recognises that there are barriers to sustaining these levels of active travel. As social distancing measures are relaxed, and as life returns to ‘normal’, people are likely to revert to their previous modes of travel. Encouragement and behaviour change is needed to help people change embedded habits and attitudes to travel.

This means local authorities need to develop their promotion and training work, to encourage the public to select active travel more often. This will include working with behavioural change experts to help people make the appropriate travel choice for the journey they are making.

If we are to meet the 2050 climate target, we need to embrace active travel as a valid journey option – we cannot rely on the emergence of electric and hydrogen powered vehicles alone. Active travel remains the most sustainable transport option and will make a critical contribution to climate targets.

Funding is another challenge. The Government announced significant funding for active travel and recently the Department for Transport announced the second part of the ‘Transport Active Travel Fund’, which will see a further roll-out of innovative initiatives that seek to promote and support active travel.

However, local authorities need to ensure they can fully utilise this funding by working with partners, stakeholders and communities to understand priorities, identify flaws in existing travel networks, and deliver new infrastructure where required.

The Government also need to play a central role going forwards by championing active travel and providing leadership at a national level. Both capital and revenue long-term funding will be needed to enable local authorities to undertake behavioural and promotional work, alongside developing, delivering and maintaining the supporting infrastructure.

Embedding active travel into our transport network is essential not only for our economic recovery, but also to environmental recovery and sustainability. We need to act now, to ensure active travel remains at the heart of the transport solution.

The Active Travel policy position can be found on the ADEPT website: https://www.adeptnet.org.uk/documents/adept-policy-position-active-travel

1. https://www.adeptnet.org.uk/documents/adept-policy-position-active-travel

2. https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/behaviour-change-publicengagement-and-net-zero-imperial-college-london/

Highways jobs

Strategic Transport Planner

£39,880 – £41,881 per annum
The post holder will be tasked with delivering actions outlined in the key coporate strategies... Harrogate, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: Harrogate Borough Council

Chartered Structural Engineer

£48,000
We are looking to recruit an experienced Chartered Civil or Structural Engineer within the Infrastructure Asset Management Section of... Rhondda Cynon Taf
Recruiter: Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council

Street Works Inspector

£24,982 - £27,041 per annum
For further information on the role please click. Telford, Shropshire
Recruiter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Sustainable Travel Delivery Specialist

£32,234 - £34,728 per annum
Are you passionate about Active Travel and Sustainable Transport? Telford, Shropshire
Recruiter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Senior Projects Officer

£43,719 - £47,743 per annum
We are now looking for a Senior Projects Officer to join our busy Transport and Infrastructure team and support the delivery of a range of... Watford, Hertfordshire
Recruiter: Watford Borough Council

Chief Executive

Competitive Salary
In this unique role, leading the UK’s first sub-national transport body, you’ll draw on your understanding of... Manchester/Leeds (flexible)
Recruiter: Transport for the North

Head of Enforcement & Safety

£67,164 - £75,695
You will have responsibility for operational delivery of key services across the Borough, including... London (Greater)
Recruiter: Havering London Borough Council

Head of Outbreak Control (12-month FTC)

£67,164 - £75,695
You will need to demonstrate specific experience in working with the general public, including customer care initiatives such as London (Greater)
Recruiter: Havering London Borough Council

Head of Highways, Traffic and Parking

£67,164 - £75,695
As Head of Highways, Traffic and Parking, reporting into the Assistant Director for Highways and Environment, you will have responsibility for... London (Greater)
Recruiter: Havering London Borough Council

Assistant Director of Public Realm

£92,700 to £101,423
As Assistant Director of Public Realm you will provide the strategic direction for, and management of a range of services designed to ensure... London (Greater)
Recruiter: Havering London Borough Council

Senior Infrastructure Server Engineer (Senior Data Centre Engineer)

£41,952 - £48,663 per annum
The successful candidate will have a BSc in relevant discipline, or equivalent industry experience. Camden, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Camden London Borough Council

Senior Programme Officer (Transport)

£32,910 - £36,922
As a Senior Programme Officer for strategic transport, you will play a pivotal role in shaping the strategic direction of transport policy for... Northumberland
Recruiter: Northumberland County Council

Senior Construction Team Leader.1347

£28,672 - £32,234 per annum
You will act as first line manager for the operational construction, depot & highways teams to ensure the best use of available resources to... Northumberland
Recruiter: Northumberland County Council

Transport Planner

£26,025 - £38,616 depending on skills
Are you looking for working arrangements that enhance your work-life balance? London (Greater)
Recruiter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Sustainable Transport Lead

£39,000- £45,000 per annum
Do you have experience in climate action and community led projects? Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Recruiter: Publica

Highway Development Control Manager (Highways and Engineering)

£35,662 - £41-811 per annum
We are looking for an exceptional candidate who can work with internal and external clients to assess the transport and highways elements of... Calderdale, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council

Conservation Officer

£26,025 - £38,616 depending on skills
Do you have passion and enthusiasm for the historic built environment?  London (Greater)
Recruiter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Project Manager - Waste Management

Up to £47389 per annum
Project Manager - Waste ManagementFixed Term, 24 monthsFull Time, 37 hours per weekUp to £47,389 per annumLocation
Recruiter: Essex County Council

Programme Manager - Waste Management

£51510 - £62842 per annum
Programme Manager - Waste ManagementPermanent, Full TimeUp to £62,842 per annumLocation
Recruiter: Essex County Council

Senior Planner (Policy)

£33,543 - £46,962
Are you looking for working arrangements that enhance your work-life balance? London (Greater)
Recruiter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Highways Presents

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

Highways Heroes Special

View the latest issue

Latest Video