Why is Active Travel Important?

What are the issues with the way we travel?

We all know it. Our roads are far too congested. There’s not enough space for us to all easily get to where we want to go – for work, for shopping, for leisure, for anything. Along with the issues we face with climate change, poor air quality, road casualties and the effects of our sedentary lifestyles, it is widely recognised that we need to reduce our car dependency, especially for shorter journeys.

Air Quality

Each year in the UK 40,000 people die due to poor air quality. A large proportion of the pollution that causes this comes from transport.

For more information on the effects of poor air quality… and the solutions, visit www.cleanairday.org.

Keep up to date with latest news and air quality campaigns by following twitter accounts (you don’t need to sign up yourself) such as: Little Ninja (great short videos), the Ella Roberta Family Foundation (asthma education and BAME impacts) and Clean Air Day (lots of resources).

Road Casualties

Five or six deaths a day on our roads due to traffic collisions in the UK is the average. Addressing the ‘fatal four’ – speeding, distraction, drink/drug driving and not using seatbelts – are the ongoing tasks for road safety educators and enforcers.

In addition to and encompassing this, the latest approach to road safety is for ‘Safe Systems’ – which includes ‘safe road use’ as one of its four pillars. This covers making cycling and walking safer and more desirable – by reducing the number of car journeys we are reducing the risk.

Find out more about Safe Systems and how the way we use our street space can reduce road casualties from road safety charity Brake.

Climate Emergency

Transport is the largest source of carbon emissions here in the UK – and worldwide it is the fastest growing source.

Changing the way we travel for regular, short journeys would have a big impact as better travel habits mean greater long term gain.

Find out more from the Campaign for Better Transport.

Health

Our sedentary lifestyles are having a big effect on our short term and long term health. Childood obesity is a ticking timebomb. Type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart conditions are all linked to our low activity lifestyles.

On a positive note, those who regularly cycle are 45% less likely to get cancer and 46% less likely to suffer from heart disease. In addition, active travel has positive impacts on mental health.

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