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Active Travel: Cleaner, Greener, Healthier

By White Rose Park September 2022

How do you usually commute to work? Car, bus, train? If so, now might be the time to switch to a more active means of travel.

Active travel is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. It’s getting from A to B, like to work or to the shops, in a way that requires you to be physically active, so think walking, running and cycling (or even skateboarding, rollerblading and scootering!). Around 71% of car journeys made are under five miles, showing just how big the potential is for switching to active travel for these short trips.

With plenty of foot and cycle paths from the surrounding local communities, alongside secure bike storage and shower facilities at The Park, encouraging our community to use active travel is always a priority of ours.

But why should you give active travel a go? Here’s a few reasons why embracing active travel could make a big difference, both to you and the world you live in:

Healthy body, healthy mind

It’s probably no surprise that active travel is excellent for your health, but it probably benefits your wellbeing in more ways than you may think.

According to NHS research, around 20% of adults in England report having less than half an hour of physical activity a week, which is dramatically lower than the recommended 150 minutes. So, by simply ditching the car and putting on your walking shoes, you could be meeting, and even surpassing, those guidelines, doing wonders for your physical health as a result.

On a different note, road traffic brings with it a lot of emissions, which are released into the air we breathe every single day – a huge and constant detriment to your health. Shockingly, asthma caused by air pollution is one of the biggest causes of hospitalisation worldwide, highlighting just how important it is to clean up our air.

It’s not just your physical health that’ll benefit from this swap to active travel, keeping fit is known to have an incredibly positive impact on your mental health too, especially if you do it outside.

People who travel outdoors and embrace the natural world benefit from a totally different perception of the environment around them than those who travel by car. Travelling by car, bus or train blocks various sensory outputs, but when you’re outside and can feel the wind on your face and hear the birds singing, many people feel reconnected to nature which sparks that feel-good feeling, perfect for getting you motivated for work.

A step towards sustainability

The climate crisis is here to stay, so it’s imperative that everyone tries to do their bit for the environment and make small changes towards sustainability.

Road transport is responsible for a fifth of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions, so by making tiny changes like walking to work, the difference you could make is drastic. At White Rose Park, we’re always keen for our on-site community to participate in initiatives that will benefit our environment. For example, the nationwide Cycle To Work Day that took place on August 4th and the upcoming World Car Free Day on September 22nd, as events like these could be the very ticket to helping sustain the environment around us and keep it flourishing for generations to come.

Say goodbye to traffic jams

There’s nothing more frustrating than being stuck in a traffic jam. But when you’ve walked to work, there’s absolutely nothing to hold you back.

Choosing active travel for those short journeys could save you some time in the long run, reducing urban congestion to make the roads less busy for those who can’t avoid using their car. And of course, with less cars on the road, the roads will inevitably be a lot safer. Win win!

A number of cities have proposed ideas on how to boost active travel, one such being the ‘15-minute city‘, an idea popularised in Paris. The concept is that all the amenities one could need would be within a 15-minute walk of their front door, leading to a decreased need for cars on the road. Ideas such as these show that a change is afoot, and we may well see a real decrease in congestion in the not too distant future.

Also, during the pandemic, when many people weren’t allowed to travel in ways other than a walk to the supermarket, active travel really came into its own. Reports show that around 39% of respondents walked considerably more during lockdown, 38% cycled more and finally, 94% stated that they’d be likely to continue to walk and cycle once restrictions were lifted. These promising stats show that active travel could really become part of everyday life and seen as ‘the new normal’ for many.

Save your money

It seems that just about everything is getting more and more expensive in the UK currently, with no prospect of the prices falling anytime soon. And unfortunately, one of the biggest costs at the moment is fuel prices.

Instead, walking, cycling, running, or even skateboarding will cost you absolutely nothing, perfect for saving money during this seemingly never-ending cost of living crisis. Although your 10-minute car journey might not feel like they’re breaking the bank, using active travel for these short everyday trips could actually save you around £126 a year in fuel costs alone.

Active travel at White Rose Park

There is no doubt that active travel will play a crucial part of our everyday lives in the future as we grapple with the effects of climate change and rising fuel costs. Landlords and developers will need to prioritise facilities in buildings to encourage the use of active travel and design buildings that will allow its users to make these types of sustainable choices.

Our focus at White Rose Park is on building a sustainable, accessible and well-connected campus for our community to enjoy for many years to come.

So, why not leave the car at home, get fit, save money, be sustainable and get active today.

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