Promoting Sustainable and Active Travel Choices in Greater Manchester

Promoting Sustainable and Active Travel Choices in Greater Manchester


Helen Ramsden, Transport for Greater Manchester


Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is spearheading an ambitious Travel Choices programme to encourage sustainable and active travel as part of the growing city region.


Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is spearheading an ambitious Travel Choices programme to encourage sustainable and active travel as part of the growing city region.

Funded from Central Government (Department for Transport), TfGM’s c£60m Local Sustainable Transport Fund programme aims to boost the region’s low carbon economy.

It combines interventions which range from personal journey planning and business travel plans, to improved cycling and walking routes and innovative uses of information and technology across the transport network.

The Travel Choices programme splits into three main workstreams - travel choices for business, jobseekers and residents. The workstreams have the shared objectives of supporting the growing city region, maximising the value of transport investment, and improving sustainable access to employment opportunities.

A key part of Transport for Greater Manchester’s Travel Choices programme is working with businesses and key employers across Greater Manchester, enabling sustainable commuting and business travel.

Since the programme was launched in 2013, over 400 businesses, covering 300,000 employees, have signed to the Travel Choices Business Travel Network and started their sustainable journey. To date this has resulted in more than 150 sustainable travel action plans being developed and over £300,000 of grants being awarded for facilities at workplaces including near 1,000 new cycle spaces.

Personal Travel Planning (PTP) has also been delivered to over 40,000 people through workplaces, and in local communities near new and improved transport facilities. The success of PTP is significant with 89% of participants saying they would recommend PTP to others, while 11% had changed from commuting by car to either a sustainable or active mode due to the PTP initiative.

Supporting jobseekers back into work by breaking down the transport barriers to employment is another key part of the Travel Choices programme. Over the last 18 months over 10,000 jobseekers have been helped back into work through free and discounted travel and over 250 frontline staff, who work with jobseekers, have received training to become ‘Travel Champions’, enabling them to provide better support. And for jobseekers wishing to cycle to work, the Bike Back to Work scheme provides free reconditioned bikes and cycle starter packs.

At the heart of Greater Manchester’s ambitious plans is the promotion of cycling. This has seen a comprehensive network of cycle route improvements being delivered across the 10 Greater Manchester districts. Focused particularly on encouraging cycling for short trips or as part of a longer journey, around a 120km of new or improved cycle routes, largely separated from the general traffic, are being introduced. This includes innovative cycle segregation such as ‘armadillo’ protection on main radial routes.

Substantial improvements are also being made to the quality and availability of secure cycle parking. This includes TfGM’s flagship cycle hub programme which provides secure facilities at the commuter destinations and at key rail stations and Metrolink stops across Greater Manchester. Delivery is well under way - four cycle hubs with over 380 members are now open in Rochdale, Bury, Ashton-under-Lyne and the flagship City Tower hub in the heart of the city centre, which also has showers and changing facilities, as well as a bike shop. A further 10 or so cycle hubs are due to open in 2015.

An important aspect of making cycling an aspirational and attractive travel choice for everyone is providing practical support through TfGM’s Better By Cycle programme. This has seen over 4,000 adults attending cycle training, a new one-stop-shop website being developed ( and a comprehensive programme of engagement events being delivered, including mass participation rides.

Encouraging cycling for the next generation also forms a core part of the programme - by working with 11 schools and colleges across Greater Manchester, TfGM has been able to provide investment in cycle training, secure cycle parking facilities and improved access.

Get Active in Greater Manchester is another aspect of TfGM’s active travel initiatives. This new 12-month ‘Walking Works’ programme, funded by the Department of Health, aims to get more people active and healthier by increasing levels of everyday walking through a range of structured walks focused in areas of greater health deprivation.

In this presentation we will:

• Provide insight into how we’ve influenced travel behaviour across Greater Manchester
• Explain how we have successfully developed a toolkit of interventions to gain the greatest impact
• Summarise successes that have been achieved through the programme, including outputs delivered, case studies and outcomes achieved
• Share lessons we have learned along the way and how sustainable and active travel links to Greater Manchester’s future transport plans.


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