Archive for the ‘Forum No.1’ Category

Practitioner meeting: feedback

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Group Activity 2

We gathered people’s feedback from the event using a feedback form. If you would like to add feedback you can email us with additional comments or fill in the online form we’ve sent round to participants.

People liked

  • Lots of ideas and the cultural emphasis
  • Sharing ideas/opinions
  • Learning more about policies
  • Meeting others in the field
  • Discussion of various topics
  • Learning from others
  • Freshness
  • Enthusiasm
  • Progress
  • The concept
  • Useful to reflect on progress
  • Friendly and informative
  • Networking
  • Hearing about the research methods and initial results

Suggestions for improvement

  • One big room [we had a great response to our invitations so we ended up having to use two rooms for the event - we've booked a bigger room for the next one!]
  • More structure for the group work [we'll take this on board for the next event]
  • More time to discuss [as above]
  • Clearer, written up questions as prompts for the “just one thing exercise” – forgot the focus by the time we’d started! [we'll make sure your packs have additional information in next time]
  • Would have liked more background info prior to event [as above]
  • More explanation of why the exercises used were chosen [as above]

Practitioner meeting: session 3

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Session three asked participants about research / data / or evidence that they have used to make a difference to cycling. We were particularly interested in finding out about how practitioners use research, and how research becomes credible in a practitioner context. Of course (and as with the previous session) we hope that it was useful for practitioners to share ideas and useful information sources.

Health and safety evidence

  • The DfT statistics show that cycling is not risky. The benefits of cycling outweigh the risks by 20:1 (Mayer Hillman/BMJ Cycling and health) – but do statistics about the lack of danger of cycling convince people? Evidence of strong health benefits of cycling in the BMA report on cycling, safety, and health 1992
  • If you do not exercise you die. NOT exercising leads to 40,000 death a year (e.g. 100 cycle deaths); cycling is an ideal form of exercise (moderate activity). 2×15 minutes cycling per day = heart health 10 years younger.
  • The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidance on the built environment, which is seen to be authoritative and useful.
  • It was felt that misuse of data represents a substantial barrier to cycling. For example cycling is referred to as “dangerous”, yet cycling is the safest form of transport for other road users. In 2008 cyclists killed one other road user; cycling should be seen as a benign form of transport as it poses little risk to others.
  • Safety in numbers – the CTC analysis correlating cycling rates with cyclist casualties, showing that places with higher cycling rates also tended to be safer for cyclists.
  • Collision evidence.
  • Travel actively database; cycling and health DfT case studies; Active People Survey from Sport England/Active England
  • Health evidence and active travel strategies have encouraged the promotion of cycling for health.
  • Cyclists get less pollution than car drivers.
  • We can identify different risk factors for different groups e.g. by type of bicycles.

Economic evidence

  • Evidence about the economic value of cycling, cost benefit analyses
  • Cycling interventions are very affordable compared to bypasses.

National survey evidence on transport behaviour and attitudes

  • The Census provides detailed information about cycle commuting rates at a local area level – so e.g. in Hackney we could see that cycling was rising between 1991 and 2001, and this helped promote the idea of Hackney as a “cycling borough”.
  • Using cycle segmentation data to map attitudes to cycling and use it to inform policy. This raised a discussion about the power of this data to discriminate against particular areas and residents. A participant said that everyone has the right to cycle and it is a right that is not always defined by or represented in the Mosaic data. She said the Mosaic data is useful if it is used to culturally shape policies for multi-ethnic areas. But it needs to be flexible and open. She said you need it look at it different ways, rather than simply accepting it as fact – ‘the story behind the numbers’. Because ‘bottom line…… people’. However, there was recognition of the reality that because resources are scarce it is often the case that policy makers reach for ‘low hanging fruit’. This is the idea that getting some people cycling, the easier target, is better than no people cycling. Then, there is a chance that they in turn will encourage others to cycle.
  • The survey statistic that 74% of people fear cycling on busy roads.
  • Figures on the high percentage of short trips made by car in urban areas.
  • You only cycle in the rain on twelve days if you cycle to work every day (“It’s the other way round for Manchester!”)

Qualitative evidence

  • Qualitative research on cycle training – research feedback from trainees – age/sex/ethnicity, showing women and families prefer “private” areas to train, bike ownership decreases as children get older, link with free school meals ratio.
  • Research on how people make decisions about transport – it’s not rational so we shouldn’t be targeting people as rational decision-makers.
  • Life events tend to trigger re-thinking of transport choices.
  • Qualitative monitoring is not done enough yet and has not yet been given enough credibility. Monitoring must relate to what we need to know to make informed decisions, e.g. is safety in numbers the same in every town/ on every road type
  • Linking qualitative to quantitative evidence can give informed evidence/story
    • Tells a story behind numbers and the change in numbers
    • Why does change happen and how can we make more change
  • Finding out what we don’t know –ask non-cyclists

International evidence

  • Trips to Holland. Participants have used photos to show best practice but it is not until you go to a place and actually see for yourself how it works that you gain an understanding of it. ‘You have to go and experience it’.

Local evidence

  • The importance of locally based evidence to convince local decision makers that policies are feasible. Example: Leicester has had an 80% increase in cycle but cycling injuries have stayed the same. More people are now using the pedestrianised zone (in which cycling is now allowed) including disabled people and people with pushchairs, showing that allowing cyclists to use these spaces doesn’t deter others.
  • Other examples includes where organisations keep records of people receiving update of monthly summary of activities,  and the numbers of people responding in some way. Local monitoring can range from “hands up” in schools to workplace travel surveys and the use of cycle counters, which can track usage over time and be used to argue for increased maintenance for the busiest cycle routes. The use of the Cycle Cambridge questionnaire, which covered18,500 households, and was used both to target new cyclists and understand “customers”
  • School census – combining mode choice with postcode – cycling doughtnut of 0.5 – 1.5 miles.
  • Cambridge: accident rate per km travelled = the rest of country, use to contradict local media saying high accident rate v high and therefore cycling is dangerous.
  • Research from Portsmouth on the impact of 20mph zones.
  • City-wide questionnaire highlighted many points including priority at lights and conflict between cycles and cars at green lights – advanced green light.
  • Local stakeholder forums.
  • The evaluations of Cycle Demonstration Towns – while locally based, the diversity of the CDTs suggested that the good results could be nationally generalised.
  • CRISP reports (Cycle Route Information and Stakeholder Plans)
  • Bikeability statistics and feedback – the ability of organisations to monitor the use of websites and e.g. Google referrals – what are people searching for when they access cycle training websites?
  • London Travel Demand Survey – very comprehensive survey of travel patterns in London (where available).
  • Video evidence – for example, of cycle zebra crossings, showing the % of drivers who give way to pedestrians compared with cyclists
    • Participants felt that long term monitoring was important. It needed to be credible but a demonstration of success could both enable further funding and assist promotion.

Anecdotal evidence

  • Blogs, local websites, etc.
  • Informal feedback, networking and discussion forums.
  • Used anecdotal evidence that mothers give up cycling when have two kids to set up a trailer/pushchair scheme

Other specific information providers/sources

  • Design standards and the TSRGD (Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions) which is online at
  • DfT Cycling Personal Travel Factsheet – useful for a wide range of statistics on cycling and other transport modes.
  • Smeed’s paper from the 1960s on safety at roundabouts, risk compensation.
  • CTC reports
  • Lambeth cycle training research.
  • There is a need for more research on the importance of landscaping in the public realm, the effects of different widths, surfacing, etc.
  • Wanted to find research on “greenways” – looking at policy for Cambridge – unfortunately not much out there

Practitioner meeting: session 2

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Session two focused on “a policy initiative that you have used to make a difference to cycling”. This discussion aimed to help us get a sense of the policies that practitioners had found important, to inform both our research and a Cycling Policy Report aimed at practitioners. Here are some notes from the discussions:

DfT/national government

  • The Cycle to Work scheme was seen as useful for promoting cycling and cycle commuting.
  • Cycle Infrastructure Design (Department for Transport guidance) helped people promote high quality infrastructure e.g. sufficiently wide cycle/pedestrian paths.
  • Delivering a sustainable transport system (DfT transport strategy).
  • The 1996 National Cycling Strategy.
  • Development of and regulation for LED lights on cycles (not perfect)
  • The carbon agenda
  • LPT1’s (2001-06) adoption of a modal hierarchy – with disabled people, walking, cycling, and public transport at the top, and private motor vehicles at the bottom. LPT2 pushed every local authority to describe actions on increasing cycling – it was a policy with a process built-in. Initially, the target was included to increase cycling ten-fold.
  • LTP2 (2006-11) was affected by the fuel protest backlash. Participants felt by contrast LTP2 was “clumsy” – vague/not specific/ wasn’t smart (disappointing follow up to LTP1 – good start)
  • LTP1 introduced the concept of Travel Plans, leading to Smarter Choices
  • Bringing together disciplines and raised awareness of cycling at officer level – support/respect for cycling officer impact? It affected plans/strategies in variety of local authority teams.
  • The requirement to produce School Travel Plans

Cycling England

  • Cycling England (and specifically Philip Darnton) was viewed as having been very important in promoting cycling, for example via the Active Travel Guidance. Cycling is now being sold via GPs using health evidence.
  • Things became more linked up and there was less duplication of efforts. The Cycling Towns and related initiatives have been useful.
  • Cycling England’s Cost Benefit Analysis of the benefits of cycling is useful to promote Active Travel Plans.

Cycle Training

  • Bikeability National Standards (inc funding for every child)
  • Official policy like the National Standard Cycle Training is potentially important and empowering, but needs to be used properly – you need to get the best of the national programme, get the right people doing it who have commitment. Some cycle training may not be delivered to a high standard.
  • People felt that the professionalization of cycle training, and on road cycle training, has been really useful. Referring people for free or subsidised cycle training had been important, as is schools training – cycle training can be a way of improving family life and child cycle training should also target adults to be sustainable.
  • Cycle training has given children freedom and created local employment. It provides an “official stamp” for parents to allow kids out and about.
  • Evidence suggests that cycle training doesn’t lead to modal shift. However, kids may not cycle to school (for example, because this is a pressurised time of the day and parents are busy) but may still cycle more to friends and for other local trips, but kids using bikes for fun is generally not measured.
  • The uptake and increase in number of cyclists trained and working in partnerships i.e. more partners interested in the subject.

Traffic restraint and cycle infrastructure

  • The national guidance allowing local implementation of 20mph zones without traffic calming has enabled the creation of better cycling conditions.
  • People also referred to barriers to motor vehicles/modal filters as important in enabling more cycle-friendly environments.
  • People raised the role of road pricing and the congestion charge in encouraging modal shift.
  • In Cambridge, there is a “no car” rule for Cambridge University students.
  • Cycle routes

Behaviour change programmes

  • Smarter choices programmes, Cycle Demonstration Towns, Smarter Travel Towns (and boroughs)
  • Informal cycling promotion through discussions at work.
  • Promotion and viral marketing. Promotional messages – cycle and live longer!

Cycling events

  • The role of mass cycling events was discussed. In particular participants suggested that local Skyrides could promote cycling around the country especially through the resources and media support that such events bring.
  • It was argued that Skyrides don’t increase cycling as transport, but may still be valuable –they are mass participation cycling events as opposed to mass participation cycle sport events, so may potentially promote more everyday forms of cycling.
  • People argued that there was a need for more follow-on money and more monitoring of the effects of local cycling events.

Local policies

  • People discussed the importance of high quality cycle parking and of planning. It was argued that enforcement is needed to ensure that developers do follow cycling parking standards.
  • Cycle parking standards need to be part of local plans. Developers will put in poor cycle parking if you aren’t careful – you need to get back to the developers when they propose poor quality cycle parking and say “You have to have this”.
  • Too often cycle parking is seen as a trade-off that can be left out when it comes to actually finishing off a development (the example was given of a school that decided to spend money earmarked for cycle parking on additional books instead).
  • Need to use the Local Plan to safeguard cycle routes through new developments
  • The importance of PPG13 – planning guidance which “sets out the objectives to integrate planning and transport at the national, regional, strategic and local level and to promote more sustainable transport choices both for carrying people and for moving freight” (link).
  • Cambridge – 2006 Local Plan to “Protect and enhance the local cycling culture and infrastructure”
  • Road safety policy plans
  • Cambridge core strategy – pedestrianisation
  • London Cycling Action Plan
  • The London Cycle Design standards were also helpful; Regional Spatial Strategies also mentioned.
  • Allowing the use of all inclusive cycle activity in parks.

Local networking

  • The importance of mothers in family transport decision-making was highlighted and its policy implications.
  • Cycle forum group for local authority – to share ideas, give info, and support with email circulation group list.
  • People discussed the importance of local communication – one example given was a hazardous traffic calming scheme which created pinch points for pedestrians and cyclists – the local cycle campaign newsletter got the ball rolling.
  • The importance of easily available online information.
  • People raised the importance of local cycling guides in spreading knowledge about cycling routes and facilities. London Cycle guides are TfL’s most successful consumer product, now in 3rd edition – over 3 million in use, shows over 5000 km of routes in London, ridden and recommended by cyclists

International influences

  • EU legislation on lorry mirrors.
  • The use of international models as examples of good policy and practice.

Practitioner meeting: session 1

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

After introductions and bike stories, our first session involved Katrina and Rachel giving an overview of the Cycling Cultures research project. Here are our slides, and the two versions of the talk we did in the two rooms:

If you’re using Windows, left click on the links below to listen to the talk, right click to download the MP3 files.

Talk version 1

Talk version 2

Our first practitioner group meeting

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Our first cycling practitioner forum meeting, on 27th May, brought together people from around thirty different organisations – ably facilitated by Mark Strong and Alix Stredwick from Transport Initiatives.
Group activity
Small group activity – getting to grips with post-it notes

In alphabetical order – and please let me know if I’ve missed anyone! – these included:
Bristol City Council
Cambridge City Council
Cambridge Cycling Campaign
Cambridgeshire County Council
City of York Council
Colin Buchanan
Cycling England
Cycling Projects
Department for Transport
Devon County Council
Hackney Cyclists
Hull City Council
LB Ealing / Road Danger Reduction Forum
LB Hackney
LB Lewisham
LB Newham
Leicester City Council
Leighton-Linslade Town Council
Local Transport Projects
London Cycling Campaign
NHS Tower Hamlets
Pedals (Nottingham Cycling Campaign)
STA Bikes
Steer Davies Gleave
Transport Initiatives
West Sussex County Council

Practitioner Forum 1

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010