The North East Joint Transport Committee has approved a new North East Active Travel Strategy covering Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and Durham which will form the basis of future funding bids which could transform the way we travel every day for work, education and leisure up to 2035.
The new strategy aims for walking, cycling and wheeling to become the natural first choice for short everyday trips and to combine with public transport for longer journeys.
The plan also sets a target for over half of all shorter journeys in the North East (under 5 miles) to be made by active travel by 2035, up from 37% in 2018/19.
By achieving an increase of 45% in active travel journeys, the region could:
- Boost the regional economy by around £350m a year
- Greatly reduce carbon emissions – saving around 80,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year
- Prevent approximately 1,000 premature deaths – primarily due to increased physical activity levels for those who choose to travel actively.
To achieve the ambitions of this Active Travel Strategy, the North East Joint Transport Committee will work in collaboration with central government, Active Travel England, and local people. The £500m package of schemes and interventions included would help to encourage more people to travel actively more often and identifies investments that would better connect these journeys to local transport stations and interchanges, which it is hoped would help more people use active travel for at least part of their journey.