Travel Choices Project

What is the Travel Choices project?

Central Bedfordshire Council, in partnership with Luton and Bedford Borough Councils, have recently been successful with their bid to the Department for Transport’s ‘Access Fund’ for over £2,000,000 of funding to continue to promote walking, cycling and other sustainable travel modes. The funding will support local projects over 3 years from 2017 to 2020 and form part of a wider government package of more than £300 million to boost walking and cycling.

The project focuses on the promotion of walking and cycling (and bus use) to the Midland Main Line train stations in Bedfordshire. It will build on infrastructure, station travel and improvement plans already in place to maximise connectivity to employment opportunities providing access to training and education. The project aims to reduce parking pressures, as well as congestion and air quality issues between towns and around the stations themselves. The project will also seek to work with other existing health and community initiatives to identify the support needed to develop a more healthy and independent approach to travel.

Over the next three years the authorities will be providing:

  • more safety and awareness training for cyclists
  • extra secure cycle storage
  • improved information provision at stations between Bedford and Luton Airport Parkway to make cycling, walking and public transport journeys to our stations more straightforward
  • bike repair/maintenance courses and bike loans
  • mapping information for pedestrians
  • bespoke support for job seekers and those unable to access training and education opportunities
  • funding for Bike-It schemes in schools

Nationally this funding could lead to:

  • 95 million fewer miles in car journeys
  • 99,000 extra walking trips per day
  • 40,000 extra cycling trips per day

The project is the first of its kind in Bedfordshire whereby all three authorities are seeking to deliver a joint programme.

What's the bigger picture?

Congestion is a major transport problem facing Central Bedfordshire. The delays experienced by motorists, businesses and those using public transport is an inconvenience, impacting on our opportunities for growth.

Around half of all car journeys are between 1 and 5 miles, and 2 out of 3 of all the trips we make are under 5 miles - as such, there is substantial potential to increase take-up of sustainable travel options such as walking, cycling or public transport.

Why make fewer trips by car?

  • fewer car journeys will reduce the CO 2 emissions that contribute to climate change
  • the fewer trips you make, the more money you save on fuel
  • nearly a quarter of all car trips are under two miles, a distance that can be cycled in under 15 minutes
  • cycling two-mile trips could save £600 per year in fuel
  • car journeys under one mile normally take 20 minutes to walk
  • walking one-mile trips could save £160 per year in fuel
  • walking and cycling on a regular basis is good for your heart and lungs, burns calories and is a good way to a healthier active life

Central Bedfordshire will be working closely with a number of partner organisations including Town Councils, NHS Bedfordshire, local businesses, Central Bedfordshire College, local community representatives and third sector organisations.

22 March 2019  11:55