Transport group are working on personal transport strategies….
How to change the culture and break the habit of car use
How to facilitate more essential journeys being made sustainably
How to get public and private organisations to take into account transport implications of their strategic decisions
How to get people to make & act on the connection between their own transport choices & the Big Picture
How to make cycling and walking more attractive & feasible as an option for essential journeys (inc. commuting & travel to & from school)
How to respond to the complexity of people’s essential transport needs
How to increase use of existing public transport
How to reclaim the public realm from the dominance of the car (as a one-off, e.g. Street party / mass cycle ride)
How to reclaim the public realm from the dominance of the car (more permanently)
Our initial focus has been getting to know each other and what we can offer; and on identifying the issues that determine the way that people travel and how we might be able to influence them.
We have organised a number of events including cycle rides and a picnicycle (with some training thrown in) and a stall in Stroud High Street on Car-Free Day promoting alternatives to the car and supported Camp Hope at Staverton. We have established a transport section on the wiki website, which includes a list of all the cycling maps that we have between us and which we are willing to lend to others as well as much information on getting around by bus – including several pages of fun places to which you can go by bus.
We have also felt it important to undertake some research into where people travel to and why. The first thing that we had to do was define the area in which we are interested, and have agreed that initially our focus will be an area with a radius of approximately 5 kilometres from Stroud Railway Station. This equates roughly to the idea of the Stroud Valleys and includes on the perimeter Stonehouse, the Stanleys, Nailsworth, Minchinhampton, Chalford, France Lynch, Painswick and Edge. The District Council has kindly produced for us a demographic map of the District. We will give our attention to the travel needs and concerns of people living within this area – identifying and promoting walking/cycling/public transport options for residents. In the light of experience we hope to extend our interest more widely within the district.
Looking at why people NEED to travel we found that commuting is by far the single largest element of most people’s travelling and so we have started looking at this in more detail by collecting information on where people live and work and whom the major employers are – getting information from both the County and District Councils. We have identified some "options for change", which include more work spaces within the district, working from home, walking, car sharing, cycling and facilities for cyclists at work, promotion of modified bikes that can carry more stuff, electric bikes, more use of trains and better public transport, the Stroud interchange and Stonehouse Midland Station, workplace travel plans, more flexible buses and sharing school buses – and in time living nearer to work. Some of these changes can be achieved in the short to medium term and others will take longer.
We want to operate in a measured way, cooperating with other organisations that have common interests, learning as we go and building practical models that other organisations with more resources may be willing and able to multiply. We currently benefit from having links with other local transport groups including the Stroud District Pedestrian and Cycle Forum, the Stroud Valleys Cycle Campaign, Bicycology, SUSTRANS, Vision 21 and the Stroud Car Club.
As the weather improves we hope to start working with local communities to understand their travel needs, as well as working with some local companies to help them develop travel plans that will reduce the carbon footprint of their commuting staff. One of our priorities in the coming weeks will be Green Travel Month (June), in which we hope to seriously promote green travel in cooperation with the District and the County Council – as well as with companies and local schools.