Associate Feature: Picking up the pace on active travel and delivery of 20-minute neighbourhoods
The 20-minute neighbourhood concept is all about ‘living locally’ – giving people the ability to meet most of their everyday needs within a 20-minute walk, wheel, cycle, or local public transport trip from home.
At Paths for All our mission is to help Scotland to be a more active nation, with more people walking and travelling actively every day. We were pleased to see the new draft of the National Planning Framework 4 has living local and 20-minute neighbourhoods embedded within it.
With active travel and public transport connections at the crux of what makes a 20-minute neighbourhood a success, the impetus to drive a change in travel behaviour must pick up pace.
The benefits of active travel have become even clearer in recent months. We have long extolled the benefits for better health and wellbeing, cleaner air and reduced carbon emissions.
Now as we face a cost of living crisis and economic pressure at all levels, the need to invest in active travel initiatives is even greater than ever. As the cost of driving rises, increasing journeys by active or sustainable transport has capacity to reduce inequalities by giving equal access to employment, education and other services.
Walking, wheeling and cycling are also shown to support the wider economy through increased spending on local high streets, benefits to employers, savings to the NHS through a more active population, and reduced congestion.
The actions to drive creation of 20-minute neighbourhoods are two-fold. It is about infrastructure and behaviour change. The two come hand in hand.
At Paths for All our experience of working with local communities to support the creation of active travel paths, and behaviour change projects has shown how different the needs of communities are and how targeted support can help to deliver the right projects to support change.
Ian McCall is Policy Senior Development Officer at Paths for All.
You can find out more about Paths for All’s work and funding for active travel projects including our Ian Findlay Paths Fund and Smarter Choices Smarter Places behaviour change projects at www.pathsforall.org.uk
This article is sponsored by Paths for All