Reaching our active travel potential

An inquiry on Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy 2

Full report with the 26 recommendations here: APPGCW CWIS2 Report


The Government is due to release its second Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (“CWIS 2”) in the coming months. This comes at a time of extraordinary change for active travel in terms of travel behaviour (as shown by the massive shifts towards walking and cycling during the pandemic), government policy (notably the publication of Gear Change and LTN1/20) and funding (as demonstrated by the Active Travel Fund).

The Government published the first Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) in 2017. Its objectives were to:

  • Increase cycling and walking activity;
  • Reduce the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on England’s roads; and
  • Increase the percentage of school children that walk to school.

The actions to achieve these objectives were split into four themes: financial investment, behaviour change, safety, and partnership. Despite the considerable ambition expressed in it, CWIS attracted criticism for failing to match this ambition with either demanding targets or adequate funding.

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Cycling & Walking (APPGCW) sees the development of CWIS 2 as an excellent opportunity to capitalise on the impressive recent progress and, at the same time, to learn the lessons of CWIS 1. It is therefore launching this inquiry to investigate what CWIS 2 should contain and how it should work. Our inquiry gathered the views of expert stakeholders so as to provide the government with constructive and positive advice.

In addition to three hearings at which invited experts gave oral evidence, the APPGCW invited interested experts to submit written evidence to inform its deliberations.


We set the questions below, for written submissions.

  • Targets. Are the existing targets for cycling and walking consistent with getting transport on course to reach net zero by 2050? More specifically, do we need a new walking target for 2025, and do any other targets need to be revised or added?
  • Overall level of funding. What level of funding is required to meet the Government’s targets for increased cycling and walking by 2025 and 2030, and/or any new targets we may propose?
  • Capacity. Do local authorities and other bodies have the capacity and skills needed to spend the funding allocations required to meet the Government’s targets (or any new ones)? If not, how can this capacity be boosted, and how quickly can CWIS spending be ramped up? What should be the role of Active Travel England? What resources will it need to fulfil this role?
  • Breakdown of funding. What should CWIS 2 funding be spent on – i.e. what programmes or initiatives should be funded? How much capital and how much revenue? How much of this capital and revenue should go to transport/highway authorities, to Active Travel England, to the voluntary sector, to Highways England and HS2 Ltd, etc, and how much should be spent by government directly? How can government maximise the opportunities for its funding allocations to leverage in additional funding from other sources?
  • Public and political acceptability. The extensive and widely reported opposition to schemes such as low-traffic neighbourhoods emphasises that interventions promoting walking and cycling are often controversial. How can consensus be built both nationally and locally to support the action required?
  • Behaviour change. The pandemic has shown how flexible people’s travel behaviour is in certain circumstances. What combination of schemes and policies will provide the basis for a substantial and lasting shift towards active travel?
  • Wider policy support. What else do DfT and other government departments need to be doing in order to maximise the impact of CWIS 2?
  • Walking as much as cycling. The differences between the two modes are significant and cycling has been shown easier to “cater to” than walking. How can CWIS 2 exploit the shared characteristics of walking and cycling whilst at the same time ensuring that both modes receive appropriate attention and emphasis?
  • Levelling up. How can CWIS 2 assist with the delivery of the levelling-up agenda? In particular, what can be done to correct the pattern that councils with a strong track record in active travel receive disproportionately large shares of the funding?
  • Justice and inclusion. Walking and cycling are the most accessible modes of transport but the profile of those travelling by these modes does not reflect this. How can the priorities of justice and inclusion be “baked in” to CWIS 2?
  • Decarbonising transport. Given the extraordinary contribution active travel can make to tackling the climate emergency, how should CWIS 2 be positioned within transport and wider climate policy? More specifically, how should CWIS 2 fit with the anticipated transport decarbonisation plan?
  • The relationship between central and local government. Given that most “on the ground” delivery will fall to local government whilst funding and oversight will lie at the centre, how can CWIS 2 provide successful mechanisms to support this? What can be done to support transport/highway authorities that may not have a strong record in promoting walking and cycling?
  • Programme and project management. Complex programmes require skilled management and certainty about funding. How can CWIS 2 help to create a culture of successful planning and delivery of investment?

You can find the report with the 26 recommendations here: APPGCW CWIS2 Report




The APPGCW gratefully acknowledges the financial support of Brompton Bicycle Ltd in enabling this inquiry.

  Theme Witness Role Organisation
Hearing 1,
2nd July
Local and central government Kamal Panchal Senior Adviser Local Government Association
Mark Frost Chair Transport Planning Society
Decarbonisation, levelling up and justice Becca Massey-Chase Co-Deputy Head, Environmental Justice Commission IPPR
Rebekah Diski Just transitions, Environment and Green Transition team New Economics Foundation
Hearing 2,
9th July
WACA perspectives Steve Edwards Acting CEO Living Streets
Roger Geffen Policy Director Cycling UK
Rachel White Head of Public Affairs Sustrans
Phillip Darnton Chairman Bicycle Association
Chris Boardman Policy adviser British Cycling
Hearing 3,
16th July
Most effective policies Dr David Ogilvie University of Cambridge
Effective programme planning and management Andy Murray Executive Director Major Projects Association
Inclusive active travel Kirsty Hoyle CEO Transport for All
Kay Inckle                         Policy & Campaign Manager                           Wheels for Wellbing
Georgia Yexley  Head of Cities (UK and Ireland) TIER Mobility