Free tool to help local authorities manage active travel

A new planning tool has been launched to help local authorities assess how best to make active travel safer, more pleasant and less stressful.

Developed by the Road Safety Foundation with funding from the Road Safety Trust, the tool shows how different active travel measures would perform both in terms of iRAP Star Ratings and also the level of traffic stress.

The foundation has worked in partnership with a number of county councils to develop the interactive tool, which will be demonstrated during an hour-long webinar on 24 June.

The modelling tool will be made available for free widespread use.

Kate Fuller, Engineering Director at Road Safety Foundation, said: “Increasing levels of active travel has environmental and health benefits, but to achieve truly healthy mobility, it must also be safe and feel safe.

“Cyclists and pedestrians are known as vulnerable road users for good reason: the frailty of the human body is clear when it shares the same space as motorised traffic.

“This tool helps to assess which different types of pedestrians and cyclists would feel comfortable using a particular road with different facilities. Making active travel more attractive may also release pent-up demand and help more people make the switch.”

One of the councils to work with the foundation was Kent County Council.

Stewart Fowler, road safety intelligence and innovations team leader, said: “The tool allows us to trial the impact of a range of active travel measures on both individual road user risk and levels of stress experienced.

“Understanding risk and stress together enables us to tackle perceptions of safety which will assist with increasing uptake and acceptability of active travel modes.

“The tool is simple to use, offers a concise visual output and most helpfully; a comparable, evidenced based assessment. We will look to integrate the use of the tool at our optioneering stage for safety and active travel schemes to ensure risk and stress are considered as part of the scheme prioritisation.”

07 June 2022