The number of journeys taken on the National Cycle Network grew to over 354 million cycling and walking trips according to the latest figures from cycling and walking charity Sustrans. The report, detailing 2007 user data, shows a 4.7% increase in the number of trips made in 2006 – despite a horrendously wet summer that year.
In 2007, for the eighth successive year, usage of the Network increased and the general trend shows usage growing faster than the ever-expanding network is being built, according to the report. Since 2000 trips on the Network have nearly quadrupled from just under 90 million to 354 million a year, whilst over the same period the Network has grown in length from under 5,000 to over 12,000 miles.
Other key facts in the report:
• 50% of trips were made by bike, 50% on foot.
• Sections free from motorised traffic continue to be the busiest. During 2007 these sections carried 82% of all journeys on the Network, even though they account for only a third of the Network overall.
• However, the sections of Network that saw the most growth in usage during 2007 were those that are road-adjacent and on-road (usage increase 6.5%).
• The Network is encouraging people to take up cycling – 9% of cyclists say they are new to or returning to cycling, some 15 million journeys.
• 12% of journeys on the National Cycle Network are commuting trips. The average trip length for commuters on bikes on the National Cycle Network is just under five miles, the same distance as nearly two-thirds of car journeys
• Over nine million trips are being made to school on the National Cycle Network, reducing the impact of the school run on rush-hour traffic
• The potential carbon dioxide saving of all journeys made on the Network during 2006 was over 450,000 tonnes of CO2 – the equivalent of taking just under 200,000 cars off the road.
• 16% of users are aged 16-24. In this age group three times as many trips are being made by females than males – the only age group in which journeys by women are more than by men
• The share of journeys being made by women has increased yearly since 2000, and during 2007 women made 42% of all journeys on the Network
The figures were extrapolated from samples taken at over 300 automated counters placed along the National Cycle Network and from 42 route user (i.e. face to face) surveys conducted in 2007. Sustrans’ research and monitoring department is constantly refining and developing its sampling techniques to make them as accurate as possible.