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Active travel striding ahead in Cambridgeshire on National Walking Day

03 April 2024

Greater Cambridge is the UK’s leading city region for walking and cycling according to the latest major report from walking and cycling charity Sustrans.

56 per cent of Greater Cambridge residents travel by walking (or using mobility aids) at least five days a week. Today, Wednesday 3 April, is National Walking Day – will you be joining them?

Sustrans recently released their Walking and Cycling Index 2023. They found that 45 per cent of Greater Cambridge residents also cycle at least once a week.

The Sustrans data shows that people choosing to walk or cycle in Greater Cambridge (Cambridge city and the surrounding district of South Cambridgeshire) currently results each year in:

  • £302 million of economic benefits for individuals and the region (based on travel time, vehicle operating costs, health benefits, air quality and taxation)
  • 27,000 tonnes of carbon emissions saved by not using cars
  • approximately 154 early deaths prevented through exercise

Countywide, 6.1% of Cambridgeshire residents cycle to work, nearly three times more than the national average of 2.1%, according to the latest figures from the Department for Transport (DfT). This data also shows that Cambridgeshire residents are more likely to walk or cycle for work of leisure.

  • In Cambridgeshire, the proportion of adults who walk or cycle at least once a week was 75.4%, compared to 70.6% across all English counties.
  • The proportion of Cambridgeshire adults who walk or cycle for leisure each week was 62.8%, compared to 57.5% across all English counties.
  • In Cambridgeshire the proportion of adults who walk or cycle for travel each week was 39.1% compared to 37.0% in the rest of England.

Cllr Alex Beckett, Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Highways and Transport Committee, said: “I am delighted that Cambridgeshire is one of the counties that is leading the way for active travel in England. These numbers are a real vindication of our current strategy – increasing active travel reduces health inequalities, boosts people’s independence and will create a greener, fairer Cambridgeshire.

“As we continue to prioritise active travel, I expect to see sustained growth in the numbers of Cambridgeshire residents who are walking and cycling for both leisure and travel. We’re trying to demonstrate what’s possible to other local authorities, so I also hope that over time we’ll see similar growth across the mean figures for active travel in other counties.”

Supporting active travel is one of the Cambridgeshire County Council joint administration’s key priorities. Increasing rates of active travel (often defined as walking and cycling, but also including other active modes of travel) will help to meet county-wide carbon emission targets, while improving health and quality of life for Cambridgeshire’s residents.

Cambridgeshire County Council has an Active Travel Centre of Excellence, this will play a significant role in growing active travel across the county and by working with partners and developers we want to ensure that active travel is part of everything we do.

Read the Greater Cambridge Walking and Cycling Index 2023 from Sustrans:

Browse the latest government (DfT) walking and cycling statistics online: