Travel campaign is part of £4.6m government-funded scheme to reduce car use in the city
Residents in York are being encouraged to cycle, walk and take public transport in a bid to reduce congestion and emissions across the city.
Launched by City of York council in May, the two year campaign is expected to reach 12,000 residents with the first phase of the exercise carried out in the north of the city where high numbers of short car trips are made to work or retail destinations.
The council claims that as a result of the initiative, more than 2,000 residents have taken up the challenge of finding alternative ways around York. A survey taken of 200 participants found 32% now use their car less and 60% confirmed the reason they reduced their car use was due to the scheme.
The survey also found 38% of the York residents cycled more, 36% walked more, 22% took the bus more frequently.
Those who entered the scheme have received incentives for participating in the scheme, such as a pedometer, a free AllYork bus taster ticket worth £20, discounted cycle training or a free bike health check.
Meanwhile, more than 650 children took part in an ‘active travel challenge’ to try cycling or walking for 60 minutes a day in the city, and 700 residents have signed up to the project’s online travel club ‘MyTravelYork’ to receive news updates.
The campaign is part of a four-year ‘i-Travel York’ scheme, made possible by £4.6 million in government funding which the council successfully bid for in 2011.
Councillor Dave Merrett, cabinet member for transport, planning and sustainability, said: “The results so far have been very encouraging. Thousands of residents have already taken advantage of this free travel advice service and tried out new travel options as direct result of the scheme.
“By supporting even more people to walk, cycle, use public transport, or car share to get around York, this will help to reduce congestion, improve health and increase economic growth in the city.
“As part of our i-Travel York programme, we are aiming to increase levels of cycling by 20 per cent and walking by 10 per cent by 2016. We are also working towards increasing bus usage by 18 per cent by 2015.â€?
The project follows the council’s decision to roll out a network of electric vehicle charging points across York in a bid to reduce vehicle emissions across the city (see airqualitynews.com story).