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Dafydd Trystan introduced himself as the new independent Chair of the Active Travel Board.

State of active travel in Wales: views from members and discussion

The Board were asked for their views on the state of active travel in Wales. Following this the Chair summarised the points made and highlighted the following themes:

  • Consistent, clear vision and values are important and shape how we discuss active travel
  • We need to focus on priority areas - travel to school and work places stand out as appropriate areas to concentrate efforts on
  • Funding availability and certainty, as well as capacity and training are key elements holding delivery back
  • Evaluation and evidence are critical to understanding the difference we make and for supporting the case for active travel
  • Representation on the Board should be reviewed.  

Welsh Government update

It was confirmed that £38 million in grant funding has been awarded to local authorities across Wales for active travel and road safety schemes to be constructed in 2020 to 2021, along with £16.2 million to local authorities for sustainable transport measures in response to COVID-19.

The updated Active Travel Guidance will be published later this year.

A discussion took place regarding the Wales Transport Strategy (WTS) and how the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act is integrated into the Strategy. There was a particular concern raised regarding the interrelationship between health and transport. Officials confirmed that the Future Generations Commissioner and her office have been involved in the development of the strategy from the outset and that the decision to reflect the 7 wellbeing goals in four pillars was taken for pragmatic reasons. Any concerns will be fed back to the team working on the WTS.

Work programme for the Board

A discussion took place to inform the Board’s work programme. Marketing was suggested as an important tool, along with the need for a significant piece of work on behaviour change. It was recommended that a training package, and funding for it, should be put together.

The Board highlighted the opportunity to align messaging between active travel and related policy areas, including the default 20mph speed limit and tackling pavement parking. 

The opportunity to collaborate across sectors and organisations to embed active travel was also raised. Examples of good practice already exist between PHW, the Cardiff and Wales Health Board and Cardiff County Council, but that due to COVID-19 this activity has had to be paused.

The Board also discussed how to pursue support from the business community for training for new cyclists or people who are returning to cycling. Also, how to ensure the opportunities, from the disruption to travel patterns caused by COVID-19 restrictions, are fully realised.   

Measuring progress

A discussion took place on measuring progress, with the Chair outlining some of the measures he was considering including;

  • % of population doing active travel journeys
  • % travelling to school actively
  • mode shift to active travel
  • increasing participation in active travel

The Board discussed travel behaviour data for Wales, which is captured through the National Survey. Officials confirmed they are working with Transport for Wales (TfW) on the reintroduction of a National Travel Survey.

The Board agreed that the framework of measures suggested was appropriate. Further work is needed in relation to the collection of suitable data, the identification of suitable baselines and appropriate comparators.

Date of next meeting Thursday 3 December 2020.