Published: 28th JUNE 2023

Data breakthrough for active travel policy sector

We've launched a breakthrough tool that uniquely analyses localised data on public behaviours and attitudes towards walking and cycling. The Sustrans Walking and Cycling Index Data Tool will provide expert insight to policymakers in local and national government, campaigners, researchers and the general public.

We have been capturing data since 2014, releasing our findings every two years in our Walking and Cycling Index (formerly Bike Life) reports.

Our Index reports include an independent representative survey of adult residents, covering travel attitudes and behaviours.

Now, thanks to a partnership with software design agency B Team, data from 2019 and 2021 can be easily compared, segmented and analysed, through a new Index Data Tool for use in research, policy and planning.


Vital data for policymakers

Tim Burns, Head of Policy at Sustrans, said:

“The Sustrans Index Data Tool will provide vital data to policymakers across the UK and Ireland.

"It will help to inform developments in walking and cycling to spark economic and social opportunities that boost public health and our net zero hopes.

“At a time when it's more important than ever to make the case for alternative and sustainable forms of transport, the Sustrans Index Data Tool will clarify for everyone that the opportunity to walk, wheel and cycle remains highly in demand across the UK.”


Shining a light on what disadvantaged communities think about walking and cycling

The Sustrans Walking and Cycling Index collects data on public behaviours and attitudes towards walking and cycling.

This data is used to underpin transport strategy and plans, support investment and define and measure impacts and outcomes.

Up until now, we have only published summaries of the data.

This tool will help policymakers understand trends, compare places and importantly shine a light on what disadvantaged communities think, including women, disabled people and people of colour.

Index data has been used by:

  • the UK Government
  • Transport Scotland
  • the Republic of Ireland Government
  • transport and town planners
  • cycling advisors
  • placemaking project managers
  • and sustainability and carbon reduction leads from City and Borough councils.


Using the data tool

Through the Sustrans Index Data Tool, multiple demographic filters can be applied, allowing data to be segmented and compared by:

  • age
  • gender
  • sexual orientation
  • disability
  • ethnic group
  • socio-economic group
  • city
  • member authorities.


A crucial resource following active travel cuts in England

Our Walking and Cycling Index data has been of national interest across the years.

It reveals the demand for active travel infrastructure in cities and communities.

The Data Tool will be a crucial resource for the transport and placemaking sectors, as well as local authorities and government, following active travel funding cuts in England by the Department for Transport.

It would be welcome to many, in the light of a recent National Audit Office report criticising the active travel sector on evaluation of outcomes and impact – on which the Data Tool can provide localised insight.

Index data is continually updated, and regularly broadened in scope, as a source for policy making.

Later this year Sustrans will be adding to the Data Tool, including city data such as cycle infrastructure and whether people live within walking distance of everyday services.


Find out more about the Walking and Cycling Index Data Tool and explore the dashboards.


Read about the Walking and Cycling Index.

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