Tompkins Historical blog HEAT – Promoting Active Travel in Market Towns

HEAT – Promoting Active Travel in Market Towns


Active Travel

Walking and cycling is an important Active Travel of daily life, providing a range of benefits including improving our health and well-being, contributing to decarbonising our transport system and enhancing the quality of local streets. It is often seen as an easy and cost effective way to improve local air quality, safety and social interaction. The government aims to encourage more people to walk and cycle by setting out ambitious targets for England.

This project uses a mixed methodology, combining focus groups and go-along journeys to explore attitudes towards active travel among residents of market towns. The use of these methods enables us to capture a range of views, revealing underlying themes and motivations for choosing an active mode of travel.

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Previous research has shown that children and adolescents are more likely to travel actively if the environment is supportive of this mode, such as having parks or play areas on route to destinations or shops. However, the influence of such environmental characteristics has been moderated by unmeasured factors such as parents’ own perceptions and household socio-economic circumstances.

The HEAT tool allows users to enter data relating to existing and desired modes of travel and provide a standardized active travel volume for the comparison case. It is possible to adjust the calculated volumes and specify traffic conditions, with default values provided for each option. The tool also calculates proportions of existing trips that could be converted to active travel, and the proportion of trips shifted away from specific motorized modes, with further options available for single-case assessments.

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