NCN sees 18 percent growth in use

New figures from Sustrans reveal that usage of the UK National Cycle Network grew by 18 percent in 2002. The sustainable transport charity claims that 35 percent of route users could have used a car, but chose to walk or cycle instead
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Last year around 35 million trips that could have been made by car were instead made by walking and cycling on sections of the National Cycle Network, reveals a new survey published by Sustrans.

Last year the Network's traffic-free sections saw a growth in use of 18 percnet.

48 percent of journeys on the Network were on foot.

43 percent of the cycle trips on the Network were made for utility purposes, (i.e. getting to work, shops or other services.

77 percent of cyclists said the NCN has helped them to increase their level of physical activity. Among

those new to cycling 61 percent claimed that they had increased their physical activity by a large amount.

Dr Andy Cope, head of Sustrans' research and monitoring unit, said:

"Detailed analysis of data shows that the National Cycle Network is delivering tremendous benefits for walkers and cyclists across a broad demographic spectrum. It is already contributing to increased levels of cycling and walking throughout the UK, with the capacity to increase benefits significantly in the future, providing a valuable and significant health intervention."

Shirley Acreman, Sustrans' National Cycle Network marketing director, said:

"Our survey shows that every year more and more people are discovering that instead of sitting in a traffic jam,

they can get valuable exercise in the stress-free green environment that many of our routes provide.... and in many cases get there quicker. This encouraging growth shows that where quality alternative routes are being provided people readily welcome them and put them to good use."

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