Active travel, includes all of the ways people travel that incorporate exercise into their journeys. For example, walking, cycling, scooting, running, or using a wheelchair, to get to places or to and from public transport.
Active travel has the potential to substantially improve public health and reduce the costs of health care. Active travel reduces the risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol and stroke. It helps people to maintain a healthy weight and bone strength. It is proven to benefit people’s mental health, reducing stress and anxiety, where supportive infrastructure and environments are available.
The prevalence of active travel remains low in many contexts and the UK is no exception.
Increasing active travel requires the availability and accessibility of fit-for-purpose built infrastructure, integrated public transport systems, changes in policies that adapt how and where we work, shop, play, socialise, relax, and access services to support active travel. Inclusive spaces are needed to help everyone get around safely and conveniently in a way that benefits their health and minimises exposure to traffic collisions, pollution, anti-social behaviour, hate crime and other risks people experience in public while on the move. Increasing active travel requires us to be attuned to the needs of the most vulnerable and to tackle the dependency that many people have on cars for various reasons that result from the way our economy, cities, towns and rural places have been developed.
THINK will be supporting interventions to increase active travel and the use of public transport equitably with an interest on inclusion that will address health inequalities. THINK will also examine the potential impacts of innovations in transport systems, such as electric bikes, digital platforms, and autonomous vehicles, tackling the issue of health inequalities arising from technological development.