Cycling city, cycling towns2008
The Cycling Demonstration Towns programme was developed to prove that increased funding and bespoke projects could have a significant impact on cycling rates - and results have exceeded expectations. On average, across all towns, cycling has increased by 27%.
The first phase of the Cycling Demonstration Towns programme, from 2005 to 2008, saw six towns across England receive European levels of funding to significantly increase their cycling levels. Aylesbury, Brighton and Hove, Darlington, Derby, Exeter and Lancaster with Morecambe collectively received over £7m from Cycling England across three years, plus local match-funding, to deliver a range of measures designed to get more people cycling.
In January 2008, the Government allocated an unprecedented £140m to Cycling England over the next three years. This funding injection gave a huge boost to the Cycling Demonstration Towns programme; it allowed Cycling England to recruit England’s first Cycling City and 11 new towns in addition to the six already established. Competition for the funding, and the status, was intense with half the highway authorities in England submitting bids and detailed plans. On June 19th 2008, Bristol was named as England’s first Cycling City, and the 11 new Cycling Towns were named as Blackpool, Cambridge, Colchester, Chester, Leighton-Linslade, Shrewsbury, Southend, Southport, Stoke-on-Trent, Woking and York.
With the expansion of the Cycling Towns programme, over 2.5 million adults and children will benefit from levels of investment equivalent to the best European cycling cities. The standard amount of funding for cycling initiatives in English local authorities is around £1 per citizen, per year. In contrast, Dutch towns such as Amsterdam are currently spending around £10-20 per year. The new investment means that the Cycling City and Cycling Towns will now have a total budget of around £16 per citizen per year with match funding.
The Cycling Demonstration Towns programme was developed to prove that increased funding and bespoke projects could have a significant impact on cycling rates - and results have exceeded expectations.
Results from the first three years
For the past three years, Cycling England has been gathering extensive and robust quantitative data from the original six CDTs in order to measure progress and evaluate the impact of their cycling strategies. The results are very positive, with all towns seeing an increase in cycling levels in the first three years. On average, across all towns, cycling has increased by 27%. This demonstrates a decisive break from the generally downward trend in cycling levels in the UK outside London over the last 30 years.