Reallocation of Roadspace for Active Travel
On Saturday 9th May 2020 the government published new statutory guidance for highway authorities regarding the urgent need to reallocate road space towards pedestrians, cyclists and ‘active travel’. The government recognise this moment as a once in a generation opportunity to deliver a lasting transformative change in how we make short journeys in our towns and cities. According to the National Travel Survey, in 2017-18 over 40% of urban journeys were under 2 miles – perfectly suited to walking and cycling.
Active travel is affordable, delivers significant health benefits, has been shown to improve wellbeing, mitigates congestion, improves air quality and has no carbon emissions at the point of use. Towns and cities based around active travel will have happier and healthier citizens as well as lasting local economic benefits.
The government therefore expects local authorities to make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians. Such changes will help embed altered behaviours and demonstrate the positive effects of active travel. In addition, the government has announced a national Emergency Active Travel Fund of £250m to enable these changes to be implemented. The Fund has been split into two Tranches with the first primarily focused on temporary measures and the second on converting these temporary measures to permanent.
What is Devon County Council Doing?
To prioritise the areas of greatest demand a high-level analysis of journeys to work has been undertaken. A list of the top 10 settlements with the highest workday populations has been produced and is shown in the table below.
Top 10 Workday Populations
|Rank||Built-up Area||Local Authority||Population|
|2||Barnstaple BUA||North Devon||28,911|
|3||Newton Abbot BUA||Teignbridge||25,750|
|5||Exmouth BUA||East Devon||18,694|
|6||Tiverton BUA||Mid Devon||13,568|
|8||Tavistock BUA||West Devon||8,841|
|9||Sidmouth BUA||East Devon||8,411|
|10||Totnes BUA||South Hams||7,770|
Table: Devon settlements with highest workday populations (Census 2011).
The measures are therefore to be focussed on regional centres of Exeter, Newton Abbot and Barnstaple/Bideford where there is the greatest economic activity and greatest public transport usage. Due to the need to act quickly many of the interventions are to be developed from the existing programme of urban cycle and public realm enhancements. It is recognised that although public transport usage has fallen during the pandemic, it will still be essential for many. Therefore, the early focus will be to ensure that any pop-up routes do not significantly impact key bus corridors.
For any queries regarding the Emergency Active Travel Fund please email:firstname.lastname@example.org