Sustrans research has revealed that a five-year experiment to cut the use of cars in three English towns has been a resounding success, cutting car use by 9 per cent.
The reduction equates to a saving of 53 million miles of car travel – with the public cycling, walking or using public transport instead.
Three towns – Peterborough, Darlington and Worcester – shared a £10 million fund dedicated for the project, and allocated by the Department for Transport.
Peterborough saw a 12 per cent increase in cycling while Darlington, which received additional government money to boost cycling, saw cycle use double.
"These results confirm what we have always suspected – that a lot of people are fed up with being stuck in their cars and that with the right support they are happy to walk, cycle or take the bus more often,” commented Sustrans chief exec Malcolm Shepherd.
"The Sustainable Travel Towns have demonstrated how simple, value-for-money schemes can make a real difference to travel patterns, helping people to be more active and reduce their carbon footprint. We hope that other towns and cities will now feel inspired to follow their lead."
Transport Minister Paul Clark added: "These results are encouraging and show the real benefit of sustainable travel initiatives in reducing congestion, improving the local environment and encouraging healthier and safer lifestyles.
"I urge local authority leaders across the country to seriously consider how the lessons learnt from these demonstration projects can benefit their local communities."