The newly-launched Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Strategy (CWIS) is part of a £1.2 billion government plan to make cycling the natural choice for short trips.
A central part of the delivery of the CWIS at the local level is the Propensity to Cycle Tool (PCT), which was developed by academics from four UK universities, including the University of Leeds.
The CWIS highlights the Propensity for Cycle Tool’s potential use in assisting with the preparation of Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIP) — a key feature of the government’s strategy.
The tool, funded by the Department for Transport, helps prioritise investment in transport planning and is widely seen as representing a step-change in planning strategically to increase cycling. The design, features and potential applications of the PCT was recently published in the Journal of Transport and Land Use.
Lead author Dr Robin Lovelace, based at Leeds’ Institute for Transport Studies and the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics, is lead developer of the tool. He said: “The PCT allows decision makers to be confident that investment in cycling will spent sensibly, in the right places and as part of a joined-up cycling network.”
During a recent visit to the Institute for Transport Studies, Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling received a full demonstration of the PCT. The tool currently uses 2011 Census data on journeys to work. It offers four scenarios of change for transport planners, cycling advocates and the public to help decide which areas and routes should be prioritised. These include a ‘Go Dutch’ scenario modelled on cycle use in the Netherlands and one featuring an increased uptake of electrical bikes.
Roger Geffen, policy director at Cycling UK, the UK’s largest charitable membership organisation promoting cycling use said: “PCT is set to have a transformative impact on cycle planning in England. I believe it is the single best thing the Department for Transport has done for cycle planning.
“The way PCT is featured in the LCWIP guidance will encourage local authorities to use the PCT to inform their cycle network planning processes.
“I therefore expect most local authorities in England – and certainly any authority with serious ambitions to boost cycle use – will use the PCT to help develop their LCWIPs over the next few years.”
The PCT is available to explore the level of cycling in your local area at www.pct.bike. To see the level of cycling in West Yorkshire, for example, zoom into the map at www.pct.bike/m/?r=west-yorkshire and click on the dropdown menus.