Active travel improvements for cycling and walking

How we’re making it safer and easier for you to walk and cycle in Suffolk.

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Suffolk County Council is consulting on a variety of proposals to make it safer and easier for residents to walk and cycle in and around the county. The aim is to embed active travel as part of a long-term habit and reap the associated health, air quality and congestion benefits.

The proposals include:

  • Installing cycle facilities with a minimum level of physical separation from other traffic.
  • Introducing pedestrian and cycle zones: restricting access for motor vehicles at certain times (or at all times) to specific streets, or networks of streets, particularly town centres and high streets.
  • Introducing Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (also known as modal filters and filtered permeability); creating quieter routes by stopping motorised through traffic on some roads.
  • Providing additional cycle parking facilities at key locations, such as outside stations and in high streets, to accommodate an increase in cycling. For example, by re-purposing parking bays to accommodate cycle racks.
  • Changing junction designs to accommodate more cyclists
  • Whole-route approaches to create corridors for buses, cycles and access-only on key routes into town and city centres


The proposals are being formally advertised for locations. This provides an opportunity for members of the public to make formal representations in support of, to suggest changes or to object to proposals.

The proposals are supported by the Department for Transport’s £250 million Active Travel Fund announced in May 2020 and the £2 billion of funding over the next five years announced in February 2020.

Suffolk County Council has been awarded £376,000 in tranche one and £1.685 million in tranche two from the Active Travel Fund.

For further information, please read:

Cycling Policy Development Panel 

Following the work of the Cycling Policy Development Panel, a list of potential cycle schemes was built and given an initial sift to determine an approximate cost, potential to attract new cycle trips and value for money. The list is subject to change as new strategic cycle schemes are identified and subject to the evaluation identified in the methodology described. Many of the schemes are at the concept stage and require further assessment, evaluation and study before they can be considered ready for construction, but the list does provide a useful starting point as and when sources of funding become available. The list has already been used to inform decisions relating to the current COVID-19 emergency measures.

We will endeavour to answer your questions on our plans to make walking and cycling safer and easier, with the long term aim to embed active travel as part of a long-term habit and reap the associated health, air quality and congestion benefits.

What is active travel?

Active Travel is making journeys on foot or by bicycle, either for the whole trip or in combination with another form of transport for longer distances, such as walking to the bus stop or cycling to the rail station.

Why is active travel important?

Active travel contributes to a number of benefits to individuals and to the wider community. It has been shown that active travel improves:

  • Health and quality of life
  • The environment
  • Congestion
  • Inclusive streets
  • Local businesses
  • Health and quality of life

Building walking or cycling into our daily routines are the most effective ways to increase physical activity, the walk to work or to the shops provides the opportunity. Physical inactivity directly contributes to 1 in 6 deaths in the UK and costs £7.4 billion a year to business and our wider society.

The health benefits of being active include: improved mental health, the prevention of chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, dementia and cancer.

The environment

Protecting and enhancing our natural environment is becoming increasingly important in the face of the global climate emergency. By choosing to walk or cycle rather than drive, people can contribute to improving the environment and tackling the climate emergency.

Air pollution is also a major public health risk and the largest environmental health risk in this country, causing around 40,000 deaths in the UK every year, motorised transport is the largest contributor to poor air quality reducing the number of car trips will make a difference.

Congestion

Those who decide to walk and cycle take up far less space than cars, allowing the movement of a far greater number of people on the network, resulting in less congestion and more reliable journey times for everyone.

Inclusiveness 

The development of active travel infrastructure provides safe, accessible spaces not only for those who choose to walk or cycle, but also users of wheelchairs, mobility scooters, parents with pushchairs etc.

Local businesses

Transport for London (TfL) have found active travel is good for business. Research commissioned by TfL in 2016 found that people walking (£370) spend almost a third more in town centres over the course of a month than car drivers (£283).

Who is encouraged to take up active travel

Active travel can form part of most journeys, whether it is walking to the bus stop or cycling to the train station. It is considered suitable, for those who can, to walk journeys less than 2km in distance and to cycle journeys less than 5km long.

Further reading

Public Health England guidance

Healthy Suffolk ‘How we travel’

Active travel: trends, policy and funding

What are the cycle lane wands

Cycle lane wands are commonly used throughout the UK to provide light segregation and to increase driver awareness of the presence of mandatory cycle lanes. They are intended to ensure that drivers do not inadvertently enter the cycle lane, particularly at points where cyclists are most at risk like on the approach to junctions. The wands also help cyclists, particularly new or less confident cyclists, feel more safe and comfortable using the road.

The wands are produced to meet the standards of passive safety needed for items placed in the highway and are used widely across the country and are robust enough to ensure they are not dislodged.

What are Low Traffic Neighbourhoods / Modal Filters

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods cut out rat-running and unnecessary through-traffic to create quieter, safer streets for people to walk and cycle through. Low Traffic Neighbourhoods can be achieved by modal filters which enable pedestrians and cyclists to pass through but prevent motorised vehicles from doing so or bus gates that enable pedestrians, cyclists, buses and taxis to pass through but prevent other through traffic.

Further information about Low Traffic Neighbourhoods can be found here (doc. 1.5MB).

Why are these changes introduced as trials

The government funding for the Emergency Active Travel Fund was provided on condition that significant changes were made to road layouts to provide space for pedestrians and cyclists. The county council and its partners in the districts, borough and town councils needed to act urgently in response to the public health emergency and to reopen the economy safely as we came out of lockdown.

Many of the measures have been delivered on a trial basis so people can provide feedback on the measures having experienced the change. Those that are successful can be made permanent and those that do not work as anticipated can be amended or removed at short notice.

How do these measures help with social distancing

The need to social distance has reduced the capacity of public transport. This could lead to an increase in traffic on the road compared with pre-lockdown levels and those who previously use a bus or train chose to drive instead. We have taken this opportunity to improve the provision of active travel infrastructure to enable people to walk or cycle safely and conveniently.

Furthermore, social distancing rules have meant that many buildings have had to operate at reduced capacity. This has led to people queuing on the pavements outside of these buildings and some businesses in the hospitality industry taking the opportunity to provide outdoor seating. We have had to implement measures that accommodate the extra space people need to social distance outside of buildings.

Cycle maps

If you are not familiar with the routes in and around towns, you can find a set of town maps to help you plan your routes. It's always worth checking for those short cuts which you would not take in a car but can be ideal when walking and cycling. The maps also contain details of local cycle repair shops, cycle parking locations and other useful information. Download maps for free at suffolkonboard.com.

Journey planner

Cycling UK is an organisation with lots of helpful tips and advice to support the UK to cycle. Check out their journey planner. We love this feature!

Walking routes

  • Visit suffolkonboard.com to find walking routes in Suffolk including Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Lowestoft
  • Discover rural or leisure walking routes at discoversuffolk.org.uk
  • At Suffolk Steps you can find a collection of local historic walks and trails developed by museums and partners throughout Suffolk. The free walks are designed to help all ages stay active and uncover Suffolk’s hidden history
  • Living Streets is a national charity for everyday walking

Sustrans

Sustrans is a national cycling and walking charity. They have advice on how to check if your bike is ready for the road

Healthy Suffolk

Healthy Suffolk has advice on how to improve your physical and mental health through exercise

Bike security

Crossings

We're reducing the waiting times at some of the crossings to as short a time as possible, so that pedestrians and cyclists can continue their journey without delay.

We want to ensure that you do not have to congregate at crossings and compromise social distancing. Locations selected have been based on those crossings most frequently used. Download a map of locations in Ipswich (PDF, 373KB).

Cycle parking

To help people make cycling part of their commute or daily routine, we've installed more cycle parking in town centres throughout the county:

  • Haverhill Town Centre
  • Ipswich Town Centre
  • Stowmarket Town Centre
  • Sudbury Town Centre
  • Bury St Edmunds Town Centre

We’ve also provided funding to Greater Anglia to put in place more cycle parking at their stations across Suffolk. This includes Newmarket, Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich Train Stations.

Email: transport.schemes@suffolk.gov.uk

Telephone: 0345 606 6171

Address: Cycling and Walking Measures, Transport Strategy Team, Suffolk County Council, Endeavour House, 8 Russell Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 2BX

To keep up to date with the latest information on active travel improvements for walking and cycling:

Follow us on twitter @suffolkCC and search the hashtag #LetsMakeAChangeForTheFuture