In its new report, Walking and cycling in Wales: Active travel, 2018-19 published today (13 November 2019), Statistics for Wales reveals that the number of people in Wales walking and cycling has fallen, while car usage has increased.

The Active Travel (Wales) Act was passed in 2013, intending to make it easier for people to choose sustainable travel choices in Wales.

Despite this, walking and cycling rates have decreased in recent years.

Children crossing the road

Now fewer than half (44%) of primary-school-aged children travel actively to school with 55% being driven, a figure which has increased in the last year. Just a third (34%) of secondary school pupils walk or cycle.

Living Streets Cymru, part of the UK charity for everyday walking, wants active travel to be the easiest choice for people making short, everyday journeys and says much more needs to be done to encourage people in Wales to travel more sustainably.

Rhiannon Hardiman, Manager, Living Streets Cymru comments: 

“Making it easier, safer and more attractive for people to walk and cycle will help tackle some of the biggest public crises facing the nation – poor air quality, inactivity and social isolation.

“If transport is to be more sustainable, Welsh Government must set bold targets and invest in infrastructure and behaviour change campaigns.

“New infrastructure for active travel won’t work if it doesn’t address the many real and perceived barriers to walking. Ineffective crossings, pavements obstructed by cars and speeding traffic can all stop children getting active on the school run and leave the older members of our communities unable to travel independently.

“If we want more people to move away from private vehicle use, we have to make the alternative safe, convenient and accessible.”