People in the small town of Blyth, north of Newcastle, are wedded to their cars. 79 percent of residents who live a mile or less from where they work still commute by car. Sustrans has been working in the town to reduce this car-dependency.
The Blyth Active Travel Town (BATT) project from Sustrans and Northumberland County Council has been operating in Blyth for the past year. A survey on how Blyth residents choose to get around has shown that local people were changing their attitudes towards how they travelled and are starting to travel more actively.
The number of people who usually travel by car has decreased from 77 percent in 2010 to 66 percent in 2011 and the number of people travelling in a car solo has been reduced by 15 percent. The number of people cycling to work has more than doubled: up from 7.5 percent in 2010 to 16.6 percent in 2011. There has been an increase of 51 percent in the number of people walking to work.
Mark Curr, BATT’s project officer, said:
“After one year, we can already see a real change in attitude to how people are seeing their journeys. It’s a great start and as well as the health and environmental benefits, there are serious petrol savings to be had by swapping local car trips for walking and cycling. It shows that with information, encouragement and practical solutions, more people are discovering how easy it is to get around Blyth without sitting behind steering wheels.”