Active Travel - the long-lasting impact of travelling more actively
Posted: Thu, 9 Nov 2023 14:25
"I have much more autonomy in my own body, and I want to use it." – Broken Spoke participant
Active Travel, funded by Oxfordshire County Council, has worked on projects in Bicester, Witney, Abingdon, and East Oxford, to create long-term sustainable change in terms of active travel behaviour, as part of Active Oxfordshire's Healthy Active Neighbourhoods work.
Over 2022/23, Active Travel has supported 16 projects, ranging from the installation of benches in outdoor spaces, to the development of cycling skills and confidence within those who have faced barriers to cycling. Projects funded by Active Travel have worked with residents and communities who face great challenges when wanting to travel in an active way, such as asylum seekers, disabled residents, women and non-binary people, and families from diverse ethnic backgrounds.
How have Active Travel funded projects benefited residents so far?
- 560 people have made a shift towards travelling more actively as a result of projects funded by Active Travel.
- An additional 306 people were given opportunities to experience physical activity and try new ways to be active in day-to-day life.
- 74% of participants increased the frequency of which they actively travel.
Being able to take part in projects funded by Active Travel has benefited participants in significant and, at times, life-transforming ways. Some have felt the huge benefits on mental and physical health which being active has, and others reported an increase in confidence. Travelling more actively has also created greater access to local communities and amenities, such as shops, GPS, and schools. In some participants, the projects have even given greater autonomy and a sense of purpose.
A number of the funded projects gave access to bikes and cycling equipment to residents who face cultural, social, or financial barriers to cycling and bike ownership.
30 families benefit from the work of the OX4 cycling project, which created the opportunity to develop cycling and bike mechanic skills in free lessons and provided refurbished bikes to those families. Sanctuary Wheels, run by Asylum Welcome, has given over an astonishing 550 donated and refurbished bikes to refugees and asylum seekers, since the start of the project.
Black Women Bike explored why over 90% of black women do not cycle, and aimed to break down the barriers which black women face. A cohort of 9 women took part in the project, and learnt bike skills, cycling instructing, and received bikes and equipment through the funding. Broken Spoke trained women, trans, and non-binary people in bike mechanics and supported participants in obtaining qualifications, as well as providing bikes and equipment through the funding. Breeze Rides trained women in cycling instructing, which enabled the participants to lead bike rides in their local area and continue to make in impact for other residents.
Excitingly, we have launched a new Active Travel Community Fund!
The funding will support projects within priority neighbourhoods and market towns in Oxfordshire which aim to create long-term sustainable active travel habits, such as those working with local communities and residents to make the use of walking and wheeling as a means of travel easier and more accessible.