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Calls for fewer cars on city region’s roads to make active travel safer

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Research conducted in partnership with the Liverpool City Region shows that less than half of people feel safe cycling in their local area.

Data collected by Sustrans, which has been published in partnership with the Combined Authority, found that only 38% of respondents think the level of safety for cycling in their local area is good. The data forms part of the Walking and Cycling index for the Liverpool City Region which is part of the UK’s largest assessment of walking, wheeling and cycling.

The Index includes an independent survey of 1,297 residents aged 16 or above in Liverpool City Region, as well as updates on local walking and cycling developments. Surveys were carried out during summer 2021 following the lifting of Covid travel restrictions.

READ MORE: ‘Much still to be done’ to change attitudes towards active travel

The data on cycling shows that even fewer residents think the level of safety for children is good. This amounts to only 31% of those surveyed, however this is higher than the 16% recorded in 2019.

It was found that 46% of all residents think their local area overall is a good place to cycle, up from 35% in 2019. Of those surveyed, the data showed that 38% of all residents cycle, 16% of which cycle once a week – 5% at least five days a week.

As for walking, 47% of those surveyed walk at least five days a week, down from 50% in 2019. 69% of residents think the level of safety for walking is good while 53% of residents think the level of safety for children walking is good, according to Sustrans’ data.

In terms of solutions to improve safety and encourage more active travel incorporating walking, wheeling and cycling, residents would prefer to see fewer cars on the road in their local areas. The report shows strong support for the creation of more low traffic neighbourhoods (69%) – impacting the number of cars that are able to drive through certain routes.

The report added that 73% of respondents say wider pavements and more frequent road crossings with reduced wait times (74%) would encourage them to walk or wheel more. Over 80% agree more parks or green spaces close to their homes would help encourage more active travel.

The findings are being released just one week ahead of the Liverpool City Region’s first Active Travel Summit which is set to take place next Tuesday. The event will bring together experts and campaigners to discuss the future of walking and cycling in the region.

The Liverpool City Region’s first Active Travel Summit will take place next week

Rosslyn Colderley, Director of Sustrans for the North of England, said: “The evidence is clear – walking and wheeling are the most popular forms of urban transport in Liverpool City Region, but many more groups of people could benefit if conditions were improved. Walking and wheeling have significant benefits for our health and economy and there is huge untapped potential to help more residents choose these healthier, more environmentally-friendly forms of transport.

“People want to see safer streets with less traffic. They don’t want outdated and unmaintained pavements, crossing points that make walking and wheeling unsafe or inaccessible, and vehicles parked on pavements getting in their way.”

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “We’re investing millions into active travel infrastructure to make getting around our city region safer and easier than ever before. The £16m we’ve injected into our walking and cycling network will better connect these routes to the rest of our transport network – making travelling across the Liverpool City Region faster and more reliable.

“The better we can encourage people to walk or cycle, the more we can cut congestion on our roads – which is vital if we’re to reach our target to be net zero by 2040 – at least a decade before national government targets. It’s a bold ambition – but I believe if anywhere is capable of achieving it, then it’s the Liverpool City Region.”

Simon O’Brien, Cycling and Walking Commissioner for the Liverpool City Region said: “If we are to truly take on the enormous challenges of the climate emergency, a public health crisis, air pollution, congestion, mental health and overall quality of life we have to work hard and at serious pace to make taking journeys by bike or on foot safer and more convenient – and this document shows us that local residents are behind us.”


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