West Yorkshire region reports huge rise in cycling and walking during 2020

Last year saw an ‘on-going’ increase in the number of people using cycle and walking routes in West Yorkshire, according to a report prepared for the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Committee.

This was especially the case ay weekends, said the report, which will give members an update on the impact of Covid 19 on travel in the region.

The report said that in November, the number of weekend cycle journeys on the Canal Road cycleway, between Bradford and Shipley, was up by over 90% compared to November 2019.

In recent years new segregated cycle routes have been built alongside major roads in Bradford and Leeds as part of the CityConnect programme. This was boosted by the provision of funds from teh government’s Emergency Active  Travel Fund last year.

Across West Yorkshire 15.5km of segregated cycle lanes have been created using this fund and the Combined Authority is currently planning for the next wave of active travel measures. This will include new cycle lanes, improved pedestrian facilities and walking routes, and the closure of some roads to traffic.

According to the Telegraph and Argus, the report said: “Although detailed monitoring and evaluation of active travel schemes in a monetised form is an emerging science, initial figures from across the UK are helpful in providing evidence that such investment provides value for money.

“The Department for Transport’s own Active Mode Appraisal Toolkit includes several worked examples to demonstrate how these various benefits, including reduced congestion, reduced emissions, public health  benefits and road traffic collision reduction, accrue. For example a scheme on Clifton Road in Bristol resulted in £1.80 of benefit for every £1 spent.

“These figures are heavily dependent upon the number of cyclists which use the scheme, and the increase in ridership demonstrated over the last year shows that there is appetite for a significant increase in the number of cyclists if schemes which enable safe, utility cycling for all users are implemented.

“As the Combined Authority continues to develop its local cycling and walking plans, data and monitoring information will be used to help target  interventions and support the case for investment.”

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