News of Government investment to encourage greener, more active travel has been welcomed by West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles.
“There’s a real opportunity to seize the momentum we’ve seen in recent weeks with more people cycling and walking in the West of England”, said Tim.
“This new funding will accelerate my existing plans to make cycling and walking easier for people in the region, but I want us to go further and faster. So I’m working with our councils, who are responsible for the highways, to see what new schemes we can develop quickly and put in place for when restrictions are lifted further.”
The region is one of four Future Transport Zones and the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) will be piloting the use of e-scooters – with the trials also aimed at supporting personal travel in light of the Covid-19 challenges.
“I want us to use our status as one of the UK’s first Future Transport Zones to see how technology can help those who might struggle to cycle or walk on their regular journeys, while maintaining road safety,” said Tim.
As Transport Authority, WECA is also working with transport operators to ensure that public transport is increased in a way that responds to the needs of local communities, and is operating in line with Government guidance.
“While the Prime Minister was clear that people should walk or cycle, or use their car if they need to travel, I know that’s not practical for everyone and every journey,” said Tim. “My team is working with our public transport operators to make sure our buses and trains operate safely for staff and passengers alike and get people where they need to go.
“But we all have a role to play to make sure transport is safe – so I’m asking those that need to use public transport to make sure they follow the government’s guidance which is available on our Travelwest website: https://travelwest.info/travel_update/coronavirus-travel-advice.
“I’m also working with our regional businesses through my economic task force, to ask them what they can do to reduce pressure on our transport network at peak times. By continuing to work together, we can get our region moving again, safely.”
The West of England has active travel plans set out in its recently adopted Joint Local Transport Plan 4 and Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, which will be considered at the June WECA Committee.