Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) believe cities taking a mobility by design approach that “places safety at the centre of initiatives from the onset,” will reap the rewards of active travel.
It comes at a time when healthy mobility is being encouraged more than ever before.
The government is accelerating its own Road to Zero strategy, which encourages green infrastructure so that emissions are significantly reduced.
In London, cycle routes are being developed so that more people are encouraged to use more environmentally friendly forms of travel.
TRL research shows that almost 100,000 short car journeys were taken in 2015; these could have been taken by foot or bike, which would promote healthier lifestyles, while also improving air quality and reducing congestion.
However, it is also still true that cycling and walking carries a greater risk of road traffic injury than when travelling in a car.
Statistics suggest that there would be more casualties if active travelling became more widespread.
That being said, the estimate is much lower due to the Safety in Numbers (SiN) effect – a widely accepted method which observes the relationship between more cyclists on the road and reduced collision risk per cyclist.
Tellingly, London is a fine example that more cyclists doesn’t equate to increased fatalities; in 2017, cycling-related deaths fell by 40% compared with 2005-2009, despite the fact that the number of journeys undertaken by bicycle has increased.
The capital is encouraging even more people to cycle, with the construction of new routes, and its Vision Zero commitment means safety is not compromised throughout the approach.
Countries such as Denmark and Netherlands have been successful in ensuring active travel is a safe transport alternative, which shows that it is possible for Britain to benefit similarly.
But the TRL said: “For healthy mobility and vulnerable road user safety to co-exist, we need to understand the successes from these countries, the challenges they overcame, and how they adapted their cities to accommodate new designs, infrastructure, policies and initiatives in line with NICE recommendations.”