Isle of Wight swaps 500,000 car journeys for cycling and walking trips

An council-run scheme on the Isle of Wight has delivered in cutting car trips in favour of more active travel trips, including cycling.

After bidding for and winning £1.35 million from the Department for Transport, the Isle of Wight Council began the ‘Transforming Travel on the Isle of Wight’ scheme since 2017.

An independently assessment of the first two years found 502,000 car trips were saved (353,000 driver trips and 149,000 passenger trips), saving an estimated 6,259,000 car km and almost 1,130 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. The Isle of Wight saw an increase of 131,000 bus passenger trips, 126,000 cycling trips and 387,000 walking trips, measured as part of the scheme.

The IoW Council ran the scheme in partnership with the Isle of Wight College, Visit Isle of Wight and Wight Cycle Training. The programme included 19 projects, covering everything from normalising walking and cycling for jobseekers and those commuting for work and training. Pupils and students travelling to education as well as local residents were targeted too, while other projects aimed at visitors and embedding active travel into visitor experiences and growing the visitor economy.

Councillor Ian Ward, Cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, said: “It is great our active travel projects continue to make good progress, and that the latest external assessment indicates a reduction in private car use amongst visitors, and for resident journeys to employment and education.

“By prompting over 500,000 new trips by active and sustainable modes, the programme will also have contributed to improving the health and well-being of residents and visitors.”

On the mainland, UK cities like Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield and York are among those seemingly prepared to make major moves to support active travel. Road danger is commonly found to be the major obstacle to getting more people cycling.