Twenty-five English local authorities will share the £64 million Sustainable Travel Access Fund, the government has announced today. The funding is for 2017 to 2020.
Sheffield won the largest slice of the funding with a £7.5m bid. Bristol’s £7m bid was also accepted. Leicester, which has been unsuccessful in previous "Cycling City Ambition Fund" bids but has installed infrastructure anyway, was awarded £3.3m.
There was also a joint bid for £7.5m from a disparate group of local authorities. These are Blackpool, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, North East, Stoke on Trent, West Sussex, Hampshire, Leicester, North Lincolnshire and Surrey. While the title of the joint bid is "Walk to 2017-20 project" the project is for walking and cycling and is for a mix of measures, including for "education and commuting" and, it is hoped, will deliver a "legacy for walking and cycling in schools and workplaces."
The £64m funding will also "target those looking to get back into work because access to transport and the cost of travel often restricts where people can look for work and their ability to attend interviews." They will benefit from discount bus travel and bike loans.
However, the widely expected and long awaited Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy was not announced today.
According to the Department for Transport, the winning bids will pay for:
- more safety and awareness training for cyclists
- extra secure cycle storage
- bike repair and maintenance courses
- road safety measures
- mapping information for pedestrians
- real-time bus information through smart phone apps or information at bus stops
- increased focus on car sharing clubs
Transport minister Andrew Jones said:
"We are committed to improving how people travel and this investment will ensure that people’s journeys are cheaper, safer and better for the environment. It will help people to become more active and better transport planning will reduce congestion on our roads – particularly at peak times.
"This investment will also help people access jobs, education and training – specifically targeting those looking to get back into work, as part of our relentless drive to make this is a country that works for everyone."
Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive, Campaign for Better Transport said:
"We strongly welcome this announcement of the access fund projects and the new cycling and walking to work fund. The evidence suggests that these kinds of projects can remove barriers to work, help local communities and businesses and also tackle local transport problems by giving people attractive alternatives to car use. We look forward to working with the government, the authorities involved, and other organisations to develop and learn from these projects."
Sustrans CEO Xavier Brice said: “This investment is extremely welcome. It’s a much needed call to action for cycling and walking to be placed at the heart of local decision making, with projects now being taken forward that will improve access to jobs, skills, education and training.
He added: “We look forward to working in partnership with councils across the country to create a step-change in numbers of people cycling and walking to work and by putting in place solutions that will improve lives, transform places and connect communities.”