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Cycle County Active County 2021, run in partnership with the Department for Transport and Oxfordshire County Council, is the UK's established and premier networking event for public and private sector professionals tasked with enabling, designing, implementing and improving provision for active travel, and embedding its use for more short journeys and more parts of longer journeys.
As public authorities move to adopt zero carbon strategies, the reasons for placing active modes centre stage have never been more compelling. Boosting active travel is a clear winner in the current drive to deliver much-needed social and environmental benefits across the population.
Responding to climate change: boosting walking and cycling is important politically as a response to climate emergency
A focus on walking, walking indicators and walking infrastructure
The challenges of creating a quality, county-wide active travel network: hosts Oxfordshire County Council are willing to share candid examples of success and 'could do better'
A cross-cutting theme of accessibility / inclusivity
Healthy planning / place-making, and wider links to public health initiatives
Understanding the unique cycling/walking culture in the city, and what lessons can be learned from the successful normalisation of active travel
How public transport is supporting active travel
For 2021, there will be be a particular focus on cross-sector working. At a senior policy level, it is recognised that a joined-up and collaborative approach to meeting future sustainability mobility needs is necessary if the UK is to deliver nationally on its policy objectives. The event will show how local authorities, practitioners and communities are making the most of significant new opportunities for closer collaboration between transport planning, health and urban development initiatives.
With more than 60% of councils declaring a Climate Emergency, zero carbon transport networks are ideally placed to be the drivers of transition to low carbon economies. As the UK prepares for an election, political leaders are promising major spending increases and cross-departmental action, and local authorities need to be ready with plans for:
Active travel solutions for smaller cities, towns and rural areas
Managing vehicle-based travel demand
Improving community engagement, communication and input
Designing in activity and wellbeing: protecting small scale, local movements Inclusive and accessible walking and cycling
Re-booting planning and masterplanning for activity
Designing, funding and embedding behaviour change schemes
School walking and cycling schemes Investment in / funding for active travel
Building the evidence base: scheme monitoring, evaluation and toolkits
Research into practice: collaboration with academia Keeping walking and cycling central to future mobility
For 2021, both Landor LINKS as organisers, and the Department of Transport as lead sponsor, believe that there will is particular benefit in continuing to host this event in a county area such as Oxfordshire County Council. County areas have as much to contribute to the local and national economy as core cities. Smaller cities, towns and rural areas are home to a considerable proportion of the UK's population, and have their own opportunities and challenges when it comes to enabling more cycling, walking and active travel.
Oxfordshire has an impressive planning framework on the agenda, backed by considerable political will, vision and leadership from all main parties.
Initiatives such as Connecting Oxford, the introduction of a Workplace Parking Levy, and the evolving role of devolved bodies, for example England's Economic Heartland new regional strategy and devolution plans, make Oxfordshire an ideal testing ground. Plans are in progress to reduce single occupancy private car journeys in the drive to boost activity levels, improve air quality, reduce congestion and improve traveller safety. These challenges have unique drivers in small cities and county / rural areas, and Oxfordshire has proven itself to be especially innovative in rising to them.
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