Getting from A to B more healthily

The benefits from, and opportunities for more walking, cycling, wheeling, and running are huge – whether journeys are for practical or leisurely purposes. It is time to accelerate the UK’s innovative active travel market.

To kick this off, Connected Places Catapult launched the first ever Active Travel Routemap at the Active Travel Summit.

What do we mean by Active Travel?

Let’s take a ride!

Active Travel is often seen as the collective term for cycling and walking. For the purposes of this Routemap, we think more broadly and inclusively, to take in all human-powered mobility as well as sustainable freight.

Think beyond your typical image of everyday walking and cycling, to consider the full diversity of pedal-powered designs

What do we mean by ‘accelerate innovation in the active travel market’?

  • We want innovators in the UK market to design and develop the active travel products and services, that meet the changing needs of people and places.

These should be inclusive and accessible, providing attractive and seamless active travel experiences for people of all ages and abilities.

  • We want to see increased investment in Collaborative Research & Development in knotty active travel challenges and opportunities.

This means designing places, products and services in ways that are good for people, planet and profit.

  • We want commercial developers, asset owners and authorities to clearly see the long-term trends towards more healthy and active travel, which unlocks investment.
  • We want political and place leaders at all levels to look to the market, trialling new active travel solutions in this rapidly changing ecosystem.

Ultimately, this is about spurring the creation of environmentally and socially sustainable active travel jobs and growth – together delivering the welldocumented societal benefits that are there for the taking

The Size of the Prize

We know a lot about the market for cycling, not least because it revolves around a single core product.

HM Government’s report, ‘Gear Change: One Year On’

told us that the value of the UK’s cycling market in 2020 is estimated at £2.31bn, a 45% increase compared to 2019. The volume of pedal cycle sales increased by 18%, reaching an estimated 3.1 million units.

In a paper published in June 2018, the Bicycle Association and consultancy Transport for the Quality of Life sought to quantify the wider economic contribution of the UK cycle industry, concluding that it would contribute £5.4bn per year and support 64,000 jobs. We can reasonably imagine that this number is much higher in 2021

Levelling up Active Travel

The vision – It is easy and attractive for everyone to choose active travel

Signals of progress (Examples)

  • The uptake of active travel by those people who might, for whatever reason, not consider themselves to be a ‘cyclist’, ‘walker’ or ‘runner’
  • New active travel options (e.g. pay per cycle) for user groups to whom affordability is a barrier
  • A greater variety of well-designed active travel products and services tailored to the needs of older people and those with visible or invisible disabilities.


Active Travel is a market that is already delivering high financial, economic, societal, and environmental returns, and with a ton of latent potential for more.

With the climate and health crises top of mind, a sustainable, resource-efficient, net-zero economy is a must and not a nice-to-have.

Further reading can be found at Accelerating The Active Travel Market