Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

More people are ditching their car in favour of walking to work

More Belfast people are ditching the car to rely on their own two legs, new figures have revealed.

The latest travel survey reveals that the number of people using a car or van to get to work has dropped from 67% in 2003-2005 to 59% in 2007-2009.

That contrasts with a small increase in usage from workers in the East of Northern Ireland (up from 81% in 2003-2005 to 84%) and no real change in the West.

Meanwhile, the average distance walked by Belfast residents has increased 30% from 186 miles per year in 1999-2001 up to 242 in 2007-2009.

Outside Belfast, it’s a different picture, with no real difference in the average distance walked by people in the East and West.

Describing the survey as a “real eye-opener”, Friends of the Earth said it was shocking how little time we spend walking and how dependent we are on cars.

“It’s little wonder though, as around 80% of the Assembly’s transport budget is spent on roads and Conor Murphy, the Minister for Regional Development, has slashed the cycling budget for Belfast by a staggering 99%,” campaigner Declan Allison said.

“A shift towards active transport options, such as walking and |

cycling, would improve people’s health; reduce traffic accidents; and cut our carbon emissions — a win-win-win situation. But this can only happen if the Assembly takes the lead and invests in the necessary infrastructure.”

The in-depth Travel Survey for Northern Ireland covers the period 2007-2009 and is published by the Central Statistics and |Research Branch of DRD.

The survey found that each person made an average of 914 journeys per year, a drop from the 1999-2001 average of 978.

Those living in Belfast travelled an average of 3,760 miles per year, around 40% less than the 6,317 miles and 6,457 miles for those |living in the East and West.

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