Active Travel England has announced a £200 million government fund to improve the infrastructure for walking, wheeling and cycling.
To apply, local authorities will have to show that their proposed schemes take women’s safety into account.
“Specific provision would depend on the scheme, but examples could include providing lighting for darker paths or route alignments that pass through areas that are more heavily frequented by members of the public,” an Active Travel England spokesperson told Zag Daily.
Research shows that road safety is one of the main barriers to women’s use of micromobility vehicles. In the UK, 71% of shared e-scooter trial users are male, according to the Department for Transport (DfT).
“Authorities will need to show that their designs consider a range of users, including to make women feel safer and more confident using active travel modes,” said the spokesperson.
Active Travel England will work with authorities to develop more guidance in this area.
The schemes can also include creating more paths in rural areas, developing safer school routes, improving safety at junctions and designing more inclusive streets for wheelchairs.
Additionally, projects should be designed in consultation with residents and businesses to ensure schemes are safe and work for local communities.
The successful proposals will be announced later this year.
Impact for local economies
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said the investment will help to reduce emissions, boost local economies and create jobs.
“These new schemes will make it safer for children to walk to school and will better connect rural communities, helping more people choose active travel as an affordable and healthy way to get around,” said Harper.
“Previous funding rounds saw a new cycle lane built in Coventry which generated 10,000 trips in its first month and a new walking and cycling route in Manchester, where people travelling on foot and by bike are separated from motor vehicles.”
Walking and cycling charity Sustrans has estimated that active travel generated £36.5 billion for the economy in 2021 through increased spending on high streets, reduced pressure on the NHS and better access to jobs. This could generate up to 16 million additional walking and cycling trips a year.
Earlier this year, Active Travel England invested £32.9 million to create a national network of active travel experts to work with communities.