These are just a few examples of ‘active travel’ which is making a journey using your own physical activity.
Each year, many of us make lots of short journeys by car. We think there is a better way to make those journeys. It’s free, benefits your health and saves you money.
It boosts our health and protects our environment. Which in turn boosts our health.
Let’s face it, we all love convenience, but that convenience has come with a cost. As a nation, we are less active today than ever before. This makes us overweight, more susceptible to illness, and consequently a drain on the health service.
Across the UK, about 40,000 people die from air pollution each year and road transport is a huge contributor to poor air quality.
In Northern Ireland 10x more people die each year from air pollution than on our roads in car accidents. Just think about that for a moment.
Let’s be realistic for a moment. Most of the journeys we make are by car. The average car journey is 7.6 miles. In Northern Ireland we need our cars – we get that. But we need to understand that by using our cars we are causing air pollution. Not only is this bad for our health, it’s causing climate change.
We need to find ways to reduce our reliance on cars.
The easiest way to become an active traveller is to reduce the amount of journeys you make in your car each week.
Try to understand how you use your car
What do you use your car for?
How many of those journeys could be made by an alternative form of transport?
Could you walk to the shop?
Can you use public transport to get to work?
Do you have a bike?
Which journeys could you make using your bike instead?
Do you have secure cycle parking at your work? Where is there secure parking nearby?
Does your work provide changing facilities or showers?
Some employers offer a ‘Cycle to Work Scheme’. Ask your boss if you have one.
Are you up for a challenge?
Getting out and about at this time of year is a challenge. It’s cold, dark and generally not the best time to try and become an active traveller. However, we want you to try and change your car habits one step at a time. Join us on our #OneSmallThingMyNI Active Travel challenge.
Share your active travel experiences with us using #OneSmallThingMyNI
Did you know that there are already 340 schools enrolled on the Sustrans Active Travel Schools programme? There’s a good chance that your kids go to a school that supports this programme.
Increasing the number of children who regularly walk, cycle or scoot to school has numerous benefits including:
Active travel is one of those win-win situations. Yes, it’s hard to change our habits, but once we do, we all benefit.
If you start to walk further or even start cycling, you are going to boost your physical and mental health. You will feel better.
You may even be helping to develop your local community by supporting local businesses.
If we all become active travellers, there will be less cars on the roads. You know where this is going…fewer cars on the roads means lower carbon emissions. And lower carbon emissions improves our air quality.
We also reduce our need for energy (fuel) and should be saving money.
By joining us on this active travel challenge, we will all start to benefit from cleaner air.
We’re looking for ideas from you – what do you think our environment should look like?
How can the environment strategy promote active travel and help you reduce your carbon footprint?
Do you think we need more cycle paths and greenways?
Have your say today on how we can develop more ‘active environments’ which make active travel an easier, and safer choice for all of us.
What is air pollution and why should you be worried about it? In 2019 a Friends of the Earth report showed air pollution exceeded safety limits in nearly 2000 places in the U.K.
You know the drill: it usually involves a kettle, a mug, a tea bag, a spoon and varying degrees of milk and sugar. It doesn’t take long but what's it got to do with the quality of our air?
The effects of pollution are more likely to be felt by people with asthma, heart conditions or other breathing difficulties. But we are all affected by poor air quality...
Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.