There has been a statistically significant increase in the percentage of people walking ‘frequently’ in England, according data released by the DfT.
Published today (12 July), Local Area Walking and Cycling Statistics for 2014/15 show that 50.6% of people walked at five times a week, up 6.9% from 2012/13.
Over the same period, the percentage of people walking at least three times a week rose by 7.1% to 61.8% while those who walk at least once a week rose by 3.3% to 80.6%.
The DfT says these changes were were largely driven by the increase in people walking for utility purposes such as commuting and walking to the shops.
Despite the increase in walking, there has been no significant change in cycling prevalence in England. Levels of cycling are also considerably lower than walking, with just 15% of adults cycling at least once per month.
In 2014/15, 9.5% of adults cycled at least once a week, 4.4% at least three times a week and 2.6% at least five times a week.
Despite relatively little year-on-year change in England (cycling levels were down by 0.3% from 2013/14) there is variation among local authorities.Wandsworth saw a 12.5% increase in the number of adults cycling at least once a month, while South Norfolk saw a 10.6% increase. Cambridge topped the table, with a 58% uplift.
In April, a study looking at cycling as a method of commuting in Cambridge highlighted the importance of new infrastructure in terms of increasing levels of cycling.
The study, undertaken by researchers from the University of Cambridge, concluded that new infrastructure – in this case the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway – is responsible for ‘85% of the effect of increased cycling’.
Last week (6 July) the DfT launched a £60m competition to encourage local authorities to develop walking and cycling initiatives as part of continued efforts to promote active travel.