New report highlights public support for increased walking, cycling and public transport funding

Posted: 8 April 2024 | | No comments yet

Sustrans’ Walking and Cycling Index has revealed greater public demand for active travel and a desire to make greater use of public transport.

New report highlights public support for increased walking, cycling and public transport funding

A new report has found that a majority (56%) of people want to shift investment in road building schemes to funding options for walking, wheeling1, cycling and public transport.

Sustrans’ Walking and Cycling Index, the largest independent survey of active travel in the UK, also revealed greater public demand for active travel over driving, with 50% wanting to walk more and 43% wanting to cycle more. A third of people want to make greater use of public transport. Comparatively, just 15% want to drive more, and 24% want to drive less.

In the 2024 election year, the charity Sustrans is calling on all political parties to recognise this evidence as the view of the public, and to prioritise active travel and public transport. This will also demonstrate that the next UK Government is serious about achieving its net zero targets, including the current government’s own ambition for 50% of urban journeys to be walked or cycled in the next six years.

Xavier Brice, CEO of Sustrans, said: “The evidence shows that people want to have the choice to walk, cycle and use public transport. Moving forwards isn’t about forcing people out of their cars. It is about making it easy for people to travel how they would actually prefer to, which also improves public health, the economy and our environment.”

Sustrans data shows that, yearly, active travel benefits the 18 Index city economies by £6.1 billion, whilst preventing over 21,000 serious long-term health conditions. In addition, journeys walked, wheeled or cycled in 2023 prevented 420,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions entering the atmosphere. 

Brice continued: “The UK is spending record sums on transport but the message from the public is clear – they want a real choice, they don’t want to be locked into driving a car because there are no other options. We’ve seen real improvement in the cities that we’ve surveyed over the last 10 years, but there is a long way to go to make active travel work for everyone. Now, the opportunity is for government at all levels to listen to what people want and shift future investment to options that benefit us all.” 

The Index also highlights the public support for initiatives focused on making it easier for people to get around their neighbourhoods:

  • 65% support banning vehicles parking on the pavement; 16% oppose
  • 58% support more cycle paths protected from traffic, even if this removes space for cars
  • 50% support installation of School Streets – closing streets outside schools to cars during drop-off and pick-up times; 24% disagree.


  1. Sustrans recognises that some people who use wheeled mobility aids – for example, a wheelchair or a mobility scooter – may not identify with the term walking and may prefer to use the term wheeling. Sustrans uses the terms walking and wheeling together to ensure that it is as inclusive as possible.