Why Do We Need Active Travel?

June 27, 2023

We are currently living in a time of positive changes for transport. With transport being one of the main culprits when it comes to CO2 emissions, this is good news. People are switching to cleaner, greener and healthier modes of travel, and we may slowly be seeing the beginning of the end of the car-dependant lifestyle that was a hallmark of the 20th century.

There is a lot of work to be done in this area. Redesigning roads and infrastructure is the foundation that we need to make our cities and towns human-first and less car-centric. Transport infrastructure is, however, only a piece of the whole puzzle. Buildings like schools, public and private offices and residential building projects need to get on board by making end-of-trip bike facilities a priority in their plans for modernisation.

If, as a society, we want to encourage active travel, we need to all chip in. But why is active travel so important, and why should landlords, business owners and premises managers be thinking about it?

Reducing Emissions

Road transport is a big offender when it comes to emissions – a fifth of the UK's total is due to cars and trucks on our roads. Employers can encourage more staff and visitors to cycle to their premises by providing safe and convenient bike storage solutions. Targeting transportation and promoting active travel methods, like walking and cycling, as viable options can help quickly reduce transport-related commuter emissions.

A 2021 study reveals just how impactful swapping your car for a bike can be. In the study, cyclists had 84% lower CO2 emissions from all daily travel than non-cyclists and an average person who 'shifted travel modes' from car to bike decreased life cycle CO2 emissions by 3.2 kgCO2/day. These figures show active travel's importance for decarbonising transport and meeting net zero carbon targets.

Facilitating health and well-being

Active mobility is not just good for the planet but for people. According to research, active commuters take 1.3 fewer sick days per worker annually (Hendriksen et al.,2010), and 82% of them report feeling less stressed at work (Cyclescheme,2019).

Being active daily is universally recognised as one of the best ways to keep healthy, lower your risk of many diseases and stave off depression. Active travel can be incorporated into a lot of people's daily commute routines and help them reduce their risk of diabetes and heart disease whilst helping manage existing conditions and improving their fitness.

The business case for active travel

There are many reasons why a business should consider active travel. Providing active travel facilities, such as good cycle parking and end-of-trip bike amenities, can help your building gain credits towards certifications such as WELL, BREEAM and LEED.

Well-designed buildings with active travel facilities are also highly attractive to prospective tenants. Property developers are now finding that clients are asking for active travel parking facilities over car parking.

Designing or retrofitting spaces with good active travel facilities to encourage more people to participate in alternative transport is an excellent way to attract and retain talent. Giving your employees the comfort of showering and change and the peace of mind that their bikes will be safe is a way to make them feel valued and appreciated. According to the British Council for Offices (BCO), more than half of the respondents to their annual survey said that the quality and availability of workplace micro-mobility facilities in an office influence their career choices.

Providing the right conditions for people to commute to work by cycling or another active way can improve your employee's general work and life satisfaction. Exercise is well known for improving focus, productivity and overall mood.

Encouraging active travel is also the quickest route to lowering your business or your building's carbon footprint. There is more and more recognition from governments worldwide that steps need to be taken to reduce CO2 emissions. There are no wide-cast net compulsory initiatives at the moment to force businesses into reducing their carbon footprint, but this may well change in the future, and taking steps in that direction could save you a lot of headaches later. Minimising your carbon emissions may also align with corporate social responsibility goals and enhance your reputation as an environmentally conscious organisation.

Encouraging active travel can alleviate pressure on our cities and planet. It is a relatively quick and inexpensive solution that businesses should explore.

We have years of experience with bike storage solutions and are always happy to advise on improving your cycle storage provisions. Don't hesitate to contact us to discuss your next project.

Bike Dock Solutions Team

Bike Dock Solutions is the UK's leading supplier of Bike Shelters, Bike Racks and other Bike Storage. Follow us on LinkedIn.