Kirklees Cycling Campaign
Newsletter No. 33 (Sept 2019)
Hello everyone and welcome to the latest newsletter from Kirklees Cycling Campaign. Investment and statistics seem to be the themes running through this edition.
John Lewis – Chair KCC
Utrecht Railway Station:
A couple of years ago the New Mill Choir cycling buddies made a trip to Utrecht to see the TDF Grand Depart, and whilst there noticed a lot of building going on around the station.
This building work has now been completed and has materialised into a cycle park for 1200 (yes 1200!) bikes. More about this extraordinary complex can be found on the following link:
Many thanks to Rob and Steve for letting us see this.
The Future of Travel in Kirklees:
This was the subject of a recent Huddersfield Civic Society talk given by Dr Greg Marsden, from the Institute of Transport Studies at University of Leeds.
Below are a few statements from the talk that I scribbled down:
- Even allowing for full electrification, there will have to be 50% less vehicle driving if the UK is to meet it’s stated obligation of zero carbon emissions by 2050.
- There are now 10% fewer car journeys than there were in the year 2000.
- The only age group travelling more in their cars are the over 60’s.
- Traffic growth is not synonymous with economic growth.
- There are more people working, but fewer commutes.
- There are currently less cars using the same amount of road space.
Together with the Government’s Climate Change obligations it all seems to add up to a strong case for more road space being given over to cycling, and a rethink of many of the current transport projects in the pipeline over West Yorkshire.
The Economic Arguments for investing in Cycling and Walking:
It’s pretty clear from the evidence, that the Cycling Lobby have, so far, not managed to convince Governments and Local Councils in the UK to spend substantially more on cycling.
I, myself, have an abiding memory of talking to an influential member of the Kirklees Highways team a couple of years ago. He didn’t know of any economic arguments to promote cycling infrastructure, and asked me to provide him with the evidence.
Most government projects have a Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) whereby there is a measured benefit for the amount of investment. HS2, for example, up until recently, had a projected BCR of 2.3:1. In other words £2.3 return in benefit for every £1 invested.
Transport for London (Tfl) have calculated that the average BCR for cycling projects is 13:1. (£13 of benefits for every £1 invested). Below is a list of some of the benefits cited by Tfl.
- Cycling contributes £5.4 billion each year to the UK economy.
- Walking and cycling improvements boost the high street and local town centres, and can increase retail spend by up to 30%.
- Over a month, people who walk to the high street spend up to 40% more than people who drive there.
- And abroad – sales tax revenue rose by two thirds in Los Angeles after cycle lanes were built, and there were larger increases in retail sales in New York on streets with dedicated cycle lanes.
- Employees who cycle take on average 1.3 fewer sick days each year than those who don’t – worth £128 million to the national economy.
- In London alone, if every Londoner walked or cycled for 20 minutes each day, that would save the NHS £1.7billion in treatment costs over 25 years.