Research & reports

Title: Evaluation of the cycling city and towns programme: Interim Report

Organisation: Department for Transport
Date uploaded: 20th December 2011
Date published/launched: January 2011

The aim of the programme has been to explore whether and how increased investment in cycling as part of a whole-town strategy could lead to a significant and sustained increase in the number of cyclists and frequency of cycling.

EvaluatedFree
Between 2008 and 2011, the Department for Transport and the Department of Health will have invested over £43m (plus local match funding) to create the Cycling City and Towns (CCTs): Greater Bristol, Blackpool, Cambridge, Chester, Colchester, Leighton-Linslade, Shrewsbury, Stoke, Southend, Southport, Woking and York.

The aim of the programme has been to explore whether and how increased investment in cycling as part of a whole-town strategy could lead to a significant and sustained increase in the number of cyclists and frequency of cycling. The programme has been overseen by Cycling England, and built on earlier experience in six Cycling Demonstration Towns which began receiving funding in 2005.

An independent programme of monitoring and evaluation was commissioned to assess robustly the outcomes and longer-term impacts of the CCT programme, as well as to capture lessons about the design and delivery of local cycling schemes. The evaluation investigated what has changed in the CCTs, why it has changed, and the context for change.

The report presents findings from three strands of the evaluation data collection: a baseline survey of residents in the CCTs (which was conducted in July-November 2009); interviews with local cycling teams which explored the design and delivery of the programme; and analysis of monitoring data on expenditure.

The key findings were:
• The baseline survey identified that under a third of adult respondents aged 16 and over (28%) had cycled in the previous 12 months. One in five adults (19%) could be described as frequent cyclists, in that they said they cycled at least once a week, and one in 10 (9%) could be described as occasional cyclists in that they said they had cycled at some point during the previous 12 months, but less frequently than once a week. The remaining adult respondents (72%) had not cycled during the preceding 12 months and could therefore be classified as non-cyclists.

• The analysis of the attitudes and perceptions of CCT residents revealed that barriers to and enablers of cycling were varied and inter-related. The majority of baseline survey respondents felt that cycling should form part of a modern transport system and that more people should cycle for short journeys instead of using the car. However, barriers to cycling included the perceived safety of cycling on roads with other traffic, which was a concern for the majority of individuals interviewed. The provision of separate cycle paths and routes was widely supported as a measure to address this barrier.

• The strategies developed within each CCT have been designed to respond to identified local problems and opportunities, and to deliver a visible step change in the facilities for, and profile of, cycling. A key feature of the local strategies has been the application of a ‘whole town’ rather than a piecemeal approach to cycling investment, which has offered the opportunity to:
- tackle multiple barriers to cycling;
- develop dedicated specialist cycling teams which offered the broad range of skills required, and a strong focus on the delivery of strategy outcomes; and
- gain political and local community buy-in.

For more information contact:
Department of Transport Research Team

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