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  • 6 March 2024

Benefits of…Active Travel

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Active travel is an approach to travel and transport that focuses on physical activity (walking and cycling) as opposed to motorised and carbon-dependent means. We all rely heavily on cars and public transport, because they make our lives so easy. Whilst it can take a bit longer and you may not be able to do it for all of your journeys, making active travel choices is an easy way to fit activity into your day.

What are the benefits of Active Travel?

  • Reduces the risk of obesity and many chronic diseases and improves mental health and overall wellbeing.
  • Provides an opportunity for everyone, including people with impairments, to experience and enjoy the outdoors.
  • Reduces car travel, air pollution, carbon dioxide emissions and congestion, helping our environment.
  • Increases the number of people of all ages out on the streets, making public spaces seem more welcoming and providing opportunities for social interaction and children’s play.
  • Supports local businesses and promotes vibrant town centres.

Benefits of Walking for Active Travel:

  • You’re in charge. You decide if you want to cut the route down, or run some errands along the way.
  • A reliable journey. There’s no traffic when you walk, you’re entirely in control.
  • Thinking time. Clear your head and de-stress – get to your destination in a better mood.
  • Easy exercise. Walking regularly can build your fitness and help to reduce your risk of all kinds of health problems.
  • More pounds in your pocket. There is no doubt that walking is the cheapest method of travel. The only thing you’ll be spending is calories.
  • Keep up to date with your community. Keep your eye out for all the changes that happen on your route – whether it’s a new shop, restaurant or cafe, you’ll be more likely to notice it if you’re walking.

Benefits of Cycling for Active Travel:

  • Cycling is fun. It’s much more fun than being stuck in traffic.
  • It’s fast. You can sail past traffic jams.
  • Get fit. Cycling is a great exercise and a really easy way of building in some activity to your day.
  • It’s free. Apart from the maintenance of the bike (nothing compared to the running costs of a car), no petrol is required. Save money and then treat yourself.

But I still have a few concerns…

  • Can I really cycle that far? It might take some time to build up the distance but in the meantime you’re fitting activity into your daily routine. Maybe put your bike in your car and cycle the last little bit.
  • I don’t feel confident cycling on busy roads. Get some cycle training if you think you need it or look into routes that avoid busy roads. The main road is probably not the only route to work.
  • My bike isn’t in a good condition. Take some time to look over your bike to check that it is safe. If you’re not sure how, take it to a local bike mechanic – they tend to do a bike MOT for a fairly low cost.
  • I don’t want to arrive at work hot and sweaty, or drenched by the rain. Give yourself plenty of time so that you don’t have to rush. Check to see if there are changing facilities at your work or near to your work so you can freshen up before you start the day. Carry waterproofs rolled up in a bag for emergencies. And if it’s torrential, just drive. It’s okay to take a day off every now and again.
  • How do I keep my bike safe? Spend a bit more on a good solid D-lock, and think about how and where is best to lock your bike. If your workplace does not provide good cycle parking, maybe suggest they look into it.

Need more support and advice? Find out how you can Travel Smarter in Kent with Kent Connected.

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