Active Travel The start of the journey
What is Active Travel?
"Active Travel" means walking or cycling to work, school or other places such as your doctor's surgery or the leisure centre.
The Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013 was proposed as a law by the Welsh Government, and passed by the National Assembly for Wales in October 2013.
The law requires local authorities across Wales to continuously improve routes and facilities for people who walk and cycle.
Local authorities must prepare maps identifying current and future routes in their local area. The Welsh Government and local authorities should make sure that new road schemes also consider the needs of people who walk and cycle.
Funding and Resourcing
The organisations we spoke to told us that some local authorities do not have the money to make the changes needed under the Act.
They said that funding has to be diverted from roads to encourage less reliance on cars.
The Committee were pleased that the Welsh Government is planning to allocate spending on active travel over a period of three years rather than one.
The Mapping Process
The Act requires local authorities to produce two maps:
- One map of the existing routes in their area (Existing Route Map); and
- The second setting out how they would like to improve routes (Integrated Network Map).
Local authorities are producing Existing Route Maps which show the most appropriate walking and cycling routes in their area. They then have to produce Integrated Network Maps showing the new and improved active travel routes in their area.
Everyone agreed that more should be done to make the maps available to apps such as Google Maps.
Promoting Active Travel
The Act is designed to encourage people to change their behaviour.
The people we spoke to and heard evidence from would like to see coordinated promotion, rather than the current piecemeal approach.
People are concerned that there is a lack of leadership from the Welsh Government in pushing the active travel agenda in Wales.
We have recommended that they set more ambitious targets and make better use of the expertise of the Active Travel Board.
The Active Travel Board was set up to coordinate activity and help implement the Act. It is made up of members and organisations with an interest in active travel.
“We want to make sure that sound building blocks are in place now in order to achieve the shift towards a healthier and greener way of travelling.
“We know that money is always in short supply so from now on the Welsh Government must choose to prioritise active travel over motoring and re-allocate road space as well as resources to support this aim.
“This will only work if they show the confidence to see through what they have started with this piece of legislation.”
William Graham AM,
Chair of the Enterprise and Business Committee.