Published: 28th OCTOBER 2021

Northern Ireland public rise to the Active Travel Challenge

Over 13,000 journeys by public transport, foot and bike were logged by commuters across Northern Ireland this September during the Active Travel Challenge. The month-long initiative is aimed at encouraging healthier and more environmentally-friendly commutes.

Group photo of winners and partners on staircase of Belfast City Hall

Active Travel Challenge Award winners at a ceremony in Belfast City Hall, hosted by Lord Mayor Kate Nicholl.

More than a thousand people swapped their daily car commute for an active alternative this September.

During the Active Travel Challenge, staff from public and private sector organisations around Northern Ireland went head-to-head to log the most active travel journeys. 

We organised the Challenge as a joint initiative with Translink, the Department for Infrastructure, Public Health Agency, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, and Belfast City Council.


The winners

In an awards ceremony at Belfast City Hall this week, Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Kate Nicholl commended the winners and participants.

Allstate NI were once again named champions in the largest workplace category.

Conor Duffy from Belfast Health and Social Care Trust logged the most overall journeys.

The workplaces that topped the Active Travel leader board were:

  • Small Workplace winner (3-19 employees) Developing Healthy Communities NI
  • Workplace winner (20-89 employees) Jacobs Engineering
  • Workplace winner (90-249 employees) Royal Mail
  • Workplace winner (250-499 employees) CCEA
  • Largest Workplace winner (1000+ employees) Allstate NI
Man collecting award from Belfast Lord Mayor

Brian Campbell from AllState NI collects award from Belfast Lord Mayor, Kate Nicholl, for the Largest Workplace category in the Active Travel Challenge Awards.

Showcasing the benefits of active travel

Chris Conway, Translink Group Chief Executive, said:

"The Active Travel Challenge is a fantastic platform to showcase the economic, social, health and environmental benefits of public transport, and we were thrilled to see so many participants choosing bus and train to make their journeys.

"By changing our travel habits for the better and choosing to walk, cycle, take the bus or train or a combination, collectively we can help accelerate positive action for the climate, improve local air quality and create a much better quality of life for all. Congratulations to all of our winners and everyone who took part."


Participating while working from home

Caroline Bloomfield, Sustrans Northern Ireland Director, congratulated the winners and all those who took part in the Challenge:

"It has been a difficult year with Covid’s impact. However, it is fantastic to see that even with 67% of the participants in the Challenge this year working from home, people are enjoying getting active by walking, cycling and wheeling for journeys and leisure.

"Over 13,000 journeys were logged during the Challenge. By triggering small changes, our aim is to motivate more people to develop healthy and sustainable travel habits."

Seamus Mullen, Strategic Lead for Obesity Prevention at the Public Health Agency (PHA), also commended those who took part:

"The Active Travel Challenge offers great examples of how easy it can be to fit walking, cycling and public transport into the working day and enjoy the health benefits of doing so.

"The PHA encourages everyone to actively travel as much as possible and this can help contribute to meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s recommended minimum amount of physical activity of 150 minutes each week."

Blockquote quotation marks
The Active Travel Challenge is a fabulous ‘virtual vehicle’ to promote our mission of improving health and well-being across Belfast whilst encouraging an environmentally conscious approach to our work-related journeys. Blockquote quotation marks
Bryan Nelson, Co-Director Public Health, Belfast Health & Social Care Trust
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