Northern Ireland Assembly urged to invest in a sustainable transport future17/03/2010 News
In its submission to the Regional Development Committee Inquiry into Sustainable Transport tomorrow, Sustrans is proposing a range of measures to get people travelling in ways that are good for their health and the environment.
This includes proposals for a 10 year project to work with all schools across the
province to get children more active by walking and cycling. By providing a combination of skills training, school travel plans, bike activities and safe routes it is possible to increase levels of active travel amongst children. Previous projects have doubled the numbers of children walking and cycling to and from school. The project would cost around £30m, or under £100 per child over a 10 year period.
Currently some 65% of journeys made in Northern Ireland are under 5 miles and Sustrans believes that the time is right to give people the means to make their short journeys, without using a car.
Steven Patterson, Director of Sustrans in Northern Ireland: “We are pleased to be contributing to the Assembly’s thinking on transport issues. In Northern Ireland 65 per cent of all journeys are less than five miles, a distance easily done by bike, yet commitment by Government to making this an attractive and safe option is very low.
“Half of households in certain areas of Belfast don’t have access to a car and so re-defining the way people move around is crucial as the NI Assembly aims to deliver a prosperous, healthy, safe, inclusive Northern Ireland. Local journeys are the key to this and we believe that the Assembly should invest in doubling the number of short journeys made by foot, bike and public transport to four out of five by 2020.
“This inquiry gives us a golden opportunity to completely overhaul the transport system in Northern Ireland and bring in solutions that will save the tax payer money. by cutting the £500m cost of physical inactivity and obesity and reducing congestion levels predicted to cost £250m per year.”