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Barriers to Active Travel How hard can it be?


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Alison delivered a short presentation detailing the ‘journey’ she has undertaken over the last few years in her quest to get more people travelling actively. On the face of it, this seems like a fairly easy objective to achieve, but Alison has learned (sometimes the hard way) that things are not as simple as they seem. This presentation will detail some of the barriers present to achieving this - the conflicting aims and interests, and how she has managed to overcome some of them.

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Barriers to Active Travel How hard can it be?

  1. 1. Barriers to Active Travel How hard can it be? Alison Millbourn Health Improvement Practitioner Advanced Kirklees Public Health Send email
  2. 2. Before we start……… What is public health? The science and art of promoting and protecting health and well-being, preventing ill-health and prolonging life through the organised efforts of society.
  3. 3. Why active travel? • Physical inactivity is damaging the health of our population – 1 in 6 deaths in UK. This makes it as dangerous as smoking. • It is costing the country £7.4 billion a year. • Physical inactivity is the 4th largest cause of disease and disability in the UK. • 40% of women and 35% of men are spending more than 6 hours a day sitting still.
  4. 4. • Walking trips decreased by 30% between 1995 and 2013 (NTS). • We are 24% less active than in 1961 – if current trends continue, we will be 35% less active by 2030. • 64% of trips are made by car. • 22% are made by foot. • 2% are made by bike.
  5. 5. • Adults who bought motorised transport to travel to work doubled their likelihood of becoming overweight. • Countries with highest levels of active travel generally have lowest obesity rates. • Around 40,000 deaths are attributable to exposure to outdoor air pollution.
  6. 6. • Air pollution is linked to cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, diabetes, obesity and changes linked to dementia. • The heart, brain, hormone systems and immunity can all be harmed by air pollution. • Research is now beginning to point towards effects on growth, intelligence and development of the brain and co-ordination. • Exposure to air pollution is costing society and businesses more than £20 billion pa.
  7. 7. • Air pollution is harmful to everyone, not just the vulnerable. • There are NO safe levels of air pollution. • However, some people suffer more than others, including: – Those living in deprived areas. – Those who live, learn or work near busy roads. – Those that are more vulnerable because of age or existing medical conditions.
  8. 8. ……….and in Kirklees • 61.7% of adults classified as overweight or obese. • Only 48% achieving 150 minutes of physical activity per week. • 33% not even doing 30 minutes of physical activity per week (sedentary).
  9. 9. Why active travel…………? WHY NOT??
  10. 10. So what needs to happen? • High level support locally, regionally and nationally. • Ensure that all relevant plans and policies consider walking and cycling. • Development of cross-sector programmes. • Offer support to those wishing to change their travel behaviour.
  11. 11. • Address infrastructure and planning issues currently preventing people from travelling actively. • Address other infrastructure issues such as traffic speed, traffic volume, lack of convenient road crossings, poorly maintained infrastructure. • Ensure that there is individual support for those that need it, including motivational interventions – pedometers, walking groups, goal setting.
  12. 12. • Foster a culture that supports travelling actively to schools. • Promote walking and cycling in and around workplaces. • Incorporate active travel information into health guidance given to patients.
  13. 13. What is stopping it from happening? • Number 1 reason – road safety (real and perceived). • Convenience of the car. • Time. • Lack of appropriate infrastructure.
  14. 14. Kirklees Response Kirklees Walking and Cycling Delivery Plan (draft) •5 Objectives: – Building skills and confidence. – More and better places to walk and cycle. – More walking and cycling opportunities. – More coaches, leaders and volunteers. – Information, media and communications.
  15. 15. Easy? No…….. • Conflicting agendas: – Increasing numbers travelling activity - increases KSIs. – Councils under pressure to cater primarily for car drivers………cyclists don’t pay road tax!  – Giving people more time to cross roads, leads to further traffic congestion 1 mile back.
  16. 16. • Councils under pressure to increase traffic speeds to improve journey time versus the ambition to reduce speed to increase numbers travelling actively….. • Introducing pedestrianised areas will have detrimental effect on local economy (despite evidence to the contrary – requires courage to tackle this). • Justifying spend on active travel infrastructure when roads are in current state of disrepair • Political will – most voters are motorists!
  17. 17. Solutions? • Build solid relationships with all partners. • Build trust. • Understand the agenda of others – be sympathetic! • Negotiate and influence. • Concentrate on the ‘super positives’.
  19. 19. • Multi-partnership group to own the Kirklees Walking and Cycling Delivery Plan • Partnership includes: – Sport and Active Recreation – Highways Design – British Cycling – CTC – Road Safety – Public Health – Sustrans – Living Streets – Brake! – Tourism – Communications Team
  20. 20. • In the process of meeting with partners for them to take ownership of individual actions. • In my experience, colleagues are more likely to make things happy when they have a sense of ownership. • Acceptance that many actions will not be achieved in the near future, due to resources and will, but determined to maintain a ‘gold standard’ aspirational document.
  21. 21. What else? Have we missed anything? Over to you!
  22. 22. QUESTIONS?