Connecting the dots: charity plots route to providing ‘paths for everyone’ – FFA

Slow travel took off in a big way at the height of the pandemic in 2020, with Britain’s National Cycle Network carrying almost 5 million users over 765m trips.

Sustrans, the charity managing the network, has new plans to link every major city with traffic-free cycling and walking routes. This announcement builds on the previous announcement. Paths for Everyone masterplan, launched in 2018, which set out a vision for a ‘traffic-free and accessible network for everyone’.

Some disabled users have found it difficult to access the network of paths because of the thousands of barriers.

Sustrans aims to make the 12,786-mile network barrier-free by 2040, while extending and improving its reach and ensuring paths are suitable for “a sensible 12-year-old travelling alone”. It has removed just more than 300 of the 16,000 barriers so far and only a third are traffic-free.

CEO of Sustrans Xavier Brice stated that the increase in people who use the network to exercise and travel has demonstrated how crucial these routes can be in connecting people to places, each other, and creating family-friendly environments. “In times of public health crisis, the climate emergency and substantial rises in the cost of living, active travel has never been more important,” he added.