A new report shows how a three-year travel and transport project run by Wokingham Borough Council focusing on the A329 corridor has made a real difference inspiring people to swap their cars for walking, cycling and public transport.
The £3.8million My Journey Wokingham scheme has also seen traffic signals and junctions improved on the A329, cycling and walking facilities upgraded, bus stops updated, and thousands of local people given personalised travel plans and hundreds more bike maintenance training.
Watch a video about the success of My Journey Wokingham or check out a multi-media presentation about what My Journey Wokingham has achieved.
More than half of those taking part say they are walking more than before; think twice about using their cars, and actively consider other options. Two thirds say they now know more about green travel choices in the borough.
The scheme focused on improving walking and cycling facilities to connect communities and residential, employment and leisure areas. These include the A329 Cycleway where cycle trips have increased 17 per cent, and the new Lower Earley Cycleway now used by thousands of cyclists.
A new My Journey Wokingham website, linked to social media, includes a journey planner and real time bus information. Ten new real time information screens have been installed at A329 bus stops along with a new QR code system which was scanned 250,000 times in its first year.
Some 8,700 residents in Woosehill and Emmbrook have discovered personalised travel plans. People there also reduced their single-occupancy car trips by 10 per cent.
At Thames Valley Park cycling has increased by four per cent. A commuter challenge inspired some 150 staff from 24 organisations across the borough make 3,400 cycle journeys; saving four tonnes of CO2 emissions.
More than 3,700 residents and school children switched to leg power for two months in the Round the World Challenge and walked a combined distance of 55,000 miles. Three quarters of them said the event helped them walk more than normal.
“These figures speak for themselves,” said Cllr John Kaiser, executive member for planning and highways. “People have embraced new travel habits and are sticking with them. But better health, a fuller wallet and cleaner environment are only part of the picture.
“My Journey Wokingham has delivered a return of £3.60 for every £1 spent. For vehicles travelling through the borough on the A329 journey delays have gone down by 5 per cent, and bus users have increased 14 per cent.
“More cycling and walking means less sick leave and almost £400,000 will be saved from reduced staff absence.”
My Journey Wokingham was driven by a £2.75million from central government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund to support a range of sustainable transport measures, between 2012 and 2015. Local funding contributions of £1.05million were added to this.
Wokingham Borough Council also received a further DfT grant of £370,000 to continue the My Journey programme until now (March 2016). This funding meant further investment in personal travel planning. Developers’ contributions will fund future projects under the scheme.