Active Travel

Our research explores how walking and cycling for transport can support physical activity

Active travel means walking or cycling to get from place to place rather than solely for leisure or fitness – such as walking to school or cycling to work.

For many people this offers a convenient and accessible way to build physical activity into their lives.

Our Active Travel Evidence Review provides an authoritative account of how, and how best, active travel can support physical activity.

Carried out by an independent team led by Sustrans in partnership with Dr Nick Cavill and Prof Adrian Davis, it assesses the current and potential contribution of active travel to overall physical activity levels, and reviews the effectiveness of many types of active travel interventions at increasing walking, cycling or physical activity.

Our accompanying Evidence Review summary provides the main findings and messages, gives examples of effective interventions and tells you how you can use the full report to deliver, fund and research active travel to support physical activity.

Two reports led by Rachel Aldred from Westminster University give further insight.

The first – Active Travel Uptake and Physical Activity – explores the relationship between physical activity and active travel behaviour, using data from the People and Places Survey (which is used by Transport for London to evaluate their Mini-Holland scheme).

It reveals how active travel can be effective at helping inactive people become active, and how increasing active travel can increase overall physical activity too.

The second – Variation in Active Travel and the scope to increase participation – analyses two major datasets to assess the variation in and scope to increase active travel. It includes two scenarios showing the impact if everywhere had London’s short walking rates, or Cambridge’s cycling rates. Effective interventions and collaboration across the sector could help us realise this unmet potential.

You can download all these research reports below.