As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, a group of charities and NGOs have highlighted the importance of public, community and shared transport, combined with walking and cycling, to aid a green recovery from the pandemic.
Eight organisations including Community Rail Network, Living Streets and Sustrans have highlighted that we are at a critical point with transport and travel and that recovering from COVID-19 offers a unique chance to reset transport priorities.
Many individuals, families and communities across Britain depend on public transport, with a third of people, including many young, marginalised and vulnerable people not having personal access to a car.
The organisations have highlighted that while social distancing is posing challenges for transport operators, walking, cycling or travelling by car is not an option for everyone, and so moving forward public transport remains important and should not be forgotten.
The group wants to highlight the importance of linking improvements to cycling and walking routes with improvements to public transport connections. If done together, this will reduce the reliance on private cars, which will have benefits to air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and the health and wellbeing of many individuals.
Stephen Edwards, director of policy and communications at Living Streets, said: ‘This is about recognising the huge benefits for our communities, our local places and global environments, of reducing private car use, and enabling everyone to get around by healthy, community-minded and environmentally-responsible means.
‘We have a major opportunity at the moment to connect up improvements to walking and cycling with public, shared and community transport, and great gains to be made from this.’
Jools Townsend, chief executive of Community Rail Network added: ‘Our organisations are working together to support and empower communities, and advise transport partners and authorities, on Covid-19 recovery and the vital role transport has to play.
‘We want to help pave the way to achieving climate-safe, healthy, inclusive transport for all, which is more important now than ever.’
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