Lessons from the Active Travel Trail: TRANSPORT Smart Class, North of England 2022 Retrospective


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In 2017 the UK Government published its first Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy which sets out the ambition to make walking and cycling the natural choices for shorter journeys. It also supports the transformation of local areas with change which will tackle our congested roads. This strategy seeks to enable a long-term approach to developing local cycling and walking networks to help increase the number of trips made by bike or on foot. Active travel – a fast-moving area of transport planning, design and delivery – has been further accelerated by the pandemic, and the Government’s “Gear Change” – a bold vision for Cycling and Walking.

Echoing these ambitions at a Metro level, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram recently said, “I want to make it easier than ever for people to make better choices on how they travel for shorter journeys so that, wherever possible, they have the ability to leave the car at home and walk or cycle instead. The benefits are crystal clear – not only for people’s health and bank balance – but for the health of our planet too. The more we can reduce pollution and congestion, the more we can do out bit for the future of our world – and the faster we can reach our target to be net zero by 2040 at the latest.”

Project Centre (part of Marston Holdings) have been involved in supporting the delivery of thousands of walking and cycling schemes, including low traffic neighbourhoods/liveable neighbourhoods, school streets, play streets, pedestrianised streets, cycle routes and junction re-design. At TRANSPORT Smart Class, North of England 2022, Graham Storrie (Director of Operations) and Steph Bortoli (Head of Communication and Engagement) shared Project Centre’s learnings from the active travel trail, with a particular focus on the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan. They also dived into the delicate process of the engagement and consultation process of active travel planning.

As part of a wider plan to introduce 600km of new cycling and walking routes, the LCRCA commissioned Project Centre for “RIBA 4 design Runcorn to Daresbury (Halton)” and “RIBA 4 design New Brighton to Birkenhead (Wirral)”. Graham and Steph’s presentation detailed nine key observations and lessons learnt:

  1. There is a genuine step-change in political support and energy to deliver active travel schemes
  2. Speaking the language of government is essential for favourable, high-quality bid submissions and funding applications, focusing on: Design standards, Inclusion, Net-zero, Consultation
  3. Integration and partnership with third party developers needs to be maximised as early as possible
  4. Scheme quality cannot be compromised
  5. Build a culture of innovation and continuous improvement in active travel teams
  6. On active travel schemes, good engagement pays off
  7. Good engagement takes time, but good schemes last
  8. How we think about the design and delivery of active travel schemes is changing rapidly
  9. A partnership approach is critical to success

For Project Centre’s subsequent hosted roundtable sessions with the delegates, Graham and Steph were joined by Associate Director, Tina Glover. We were also delighted to accommodate a strong contingent from the LCRCA at this Smart Class to share some of their insights and expertise during the Q&As and roundtables: Programme Development Officers, Claire Hering and John Smith;  Transport Development Analyst, Rebecca Rowland; and Transport Portfolio Holder, Councillor Liam Robinson (who also delivered this inspirational keynote).

If you meet our regular delegate qualification criteria but were unable to join us at Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester, for the live in-person event on September 9th, CLICK HERE and complete the short “Download form” (located at the bottom of the post) to receive a unique link enabling free access to the presentation video recordings and slides (including the film footage and slides from Graham and Steph’s initial presentation).

Those qualifying to receive the rich presentation content from this event include commissioning, procurement, trialling and partnering leads, senior influencers, strategic decision makers and planners from local authorities (e.g. city, borough, metropolitan, district and county councils); public transport operators; regional transport partnerships, sub-regional transport bodies, combined authorities, integrated transport authorities and passenger transport executives; highways authorities and road operators; government and supporting national transport agencies; fleet operators, parking operators, prime contractors etc.

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TRANSPORT Smart Class, North of England 2022

On September 9th we will be casting a spotlight over the North of England, hosting our speakers discussions on how the latest digital innovations can help overcome the transport and mobility challenges faced by city-regions of the Northern Powerhouse and beyond.


   Manchester, UK

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ioki - a DB company
Project Centre
Trapeze Group

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