Ahead of the mayoral elections, we set out a five-point agenda for candidates to reduce reliance on cars by investing in active travel and create safe places for people to be active.
Our Partnerships Manager for the Midlands and East, Gavin Passmore, has been meeting the candidates and sharing our priorities with them. We’ve asked each of the candidates to include these in their manifesto ahead of the election. We’ve set out five clear, realistic and achievable priorities for the new Mayor which are:
- Invest in cycling – a minimum of 5% of journeys to be made by bicycle by 2023
- Create safe places for people – cut road danger and design places for people to be active
- Reduce the reliance on car travel – policies to reduce car use to essential travel
- Connect Birmingham to UK central – create a safe and accessible cycle route
- Support Wolverhampton to reach its potential – access to transport hubs and employment
Investment into active travel
We want the new Mayor to reduce the reliance on car travel by investing in cycling and making streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians - unless we act now we could be heading for gridlock. By 2036 it’s estimated that commuters in the West Midlands will make an extra 1.2 million journeys every day placing additional strain on the network. That’s why the new Mayor needs to embrace active travel as an alternative method of transport.
Across the West Midlands, four out of ten trips under two miles are still being made by the private car, leading to congestion which costs the region £2 billion a year. Shifting these journeys to more sustainable modes of transport could help to reduce traffic jams and improve reliability.
Active travel could also help to improve health and wellbeing across the region. Studies have shown that inactivity is twice as likely to kill as obesity but being active could add four and a half years to a person’s life.
There’s a real appetite for change in the area. In 2015, the Bike Life survey conducted by Sustrans found that two-thirds of residents in Birmingham supported more investment in cycling and one in three would like to take up cycling.
Speaking about the elections, Gavin said: “We’ve set out five ambitious, yet achievable, priorities which we’re asking candidates to support. Investing in active travel, making it safer and more accessible, must be a priority for the new Mayor. We know that people support investment in active travel and our evidence-based vision can help the economy to grow. It can help people to choose healthier, cleaner and cheaper journeys with better spaces to move through and live in.”