Five reasons to shake up the way you travel in time for World Car Free Day

By Chris Bennett,
man on bicycle

Incorporating active travel such as walking and cycling into your daily trips is key to tackling air pollution and protecting the environment. Image Credit: Jonathan Bewley

group of people cycling

Physical activity can increase mental alertness, energy, positive mood and self-esteem, as well as reduce stress. Image Credit: Jonathan Bewley

Travelling in an environment with no congestion or air pollution may seem like a far-fetched desire but it doesn’t have to be.

It’s possible for us all to make small changes to the way we travel, such as walking or cycling for more journeys, and ultimately help contribute to a cleaner, greener environment.

To coincide with World Car Free Day (22 September) Chris Bennett, our Head of Behaviour Change, shares his top five reasons to shake up the way you travel for everyday journeys.

1. Fewer cars on the road will help clean up our toxic air

Incorporating active travel such as walking and cycling into your daily trips is key to tackling air pollution and protecting the environment. This is because road transport is responsible for 80% of the pollution where legal limits are being broken. And, what’s more, those who travel by car can experience five times higher pollution levels than those who cycle and three and a half times more than those walking the same route. 

2. Congested roads are a headache for everyone involved

In 2017, 327.1 billion miles were driven on Great Britain’s roads, a 1.3% increase from the previous year. We won’t see this figure decrease, along with the congestion that comes with it unless we see a rise in walking, scooting, cycling and car-sharing. In addition, giving people a choice about how they travel by providing safe, convenient and affordable alternatives to driving will help to ease our road traffic congestion.

3. Cycling, scooting or walking is an easy way of building physical activity into your daily routine

The UK is currently facing an obesity crisis with one in three adults not getting enough exercise. According to government guidelines, children and young people aged 5 to 18 need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, while adults should get a minimum of 150 minutes a week. Walking or cycling are a great way of combatting the obesity crisis as they allow you to build exercise into your daily routine without having to think about it.

4. Not only is it great for your physical health, it can also boost mental wellbeing

According to the Mental Health Foundation, physical activity can increase mental alertness, energy, positive mood and self-esteem, as well as reduce stress and anxiety.  

5. It benefits us all

There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating the economic benefits of cycling and walking, from cleaner air and improved health to increased tourism and retail activity. In England alone, 10 billion annual journeys are undertaken every year by bike and on foot, with an estimated combined economic value of £14 billion

We have lots of information and advice to help you start cycling and walking