Latest £17m boost cements region’s cycling and walking ambitions

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) has been awarded a £17 million Government grant to boost active travel and make it safer for people to cycle, walk and wheel.

It will fund the delivery of 12 schemes which will form part of the Starley Network, including protected cycleways, school streets and safer crossings.

The West Midlands has bold ambitions to increase journeys taken by cycling, walking or wheeling in order to help ease congestion, clean up our air and improve the region’s health. This funding award shows the Government’s confidence in the region to deliver measures that will support its residents to take more journeys by active travel.

Latest £17m boost cements region’s cycling and walking ambitions

This is the third allocation of Active Travel Fund money awarded to the region by the Department for Transport since 2020

The projects have been developed and will be delivered by local councils working in partnership with TfWM, which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

These include cycle routes in Selly Oak as part of an extension of the existing A38 blue route, which will also  improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians around the shopping district.

Other schemes include a high-quality multi-modal corridor along the A454 between Wolverhampton & Walsall, as well as new active travel schemes in Coventry.

Earlier waves of active travel investment have delivered a wide range of projects including the West Midlands Cycle Hire scheme, which has seen over 210,000 journeys in its first year.

Safe cycleways are currently being delivered, including on Binley Road in Coventry and along the A457 corridor from Birmingham City Centre to Smethwick and free cycle racks for businesses which have supported more people to cycle to work.

Adam Tranter, West Midlands cycling & walking commissioner, said: “We know that we need to make it safer for people walking and cycling in order to help reduce reliance on cars for short journeys. This funding announcement marks yet another critical step forward in moving everyday short journeys onto foot or bike, marking clear intent in the West Midlands to ensure active travel becomes the new norm of travel in our towns and cities.

As the cycling and walking commissioner for the region, I aim to work with local partners to ensure the infrastructure that is delivered as a result of this funding is high quality and can be enjoyed by anyone. By giving people genuine choice in how they choose to travel, we hope to create a domino effect that helps improve our air quality, boosts people’s mental and physical health and aids our #WM2041 target for a net-zero carbon region.”

TfWM will be working closely on the new DfT department, Active Travel England and the Cycling and Walking Commissioner to ensure the schemes are LTN 1/20 compliant and are of the highest quality to ensure safety, inclusivity and accessibility to all.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “This new grant is testament to the ambition we’ve shown to Government for Active Travel. This extra cash for cycling and walking builds on the £254m already awarded to schemes that enable Active Travel as part of the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS).”

“Our investment in Active Travel so far has already resulted in new safe cycle routes as well as the popular West Midlands Cycle Hire scheme, but there is more to do. The way we move in our towns and cities is changing and this new money will help to make it easier for people to switch their journeys to more active modes.”

This investment will be further increased through the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS) which includes a number of cycling and walking schemes as part of a five-year transport investment programme. In total, £254m has been allocated to schemes in CRSTS that enable active travel.

Cllr Ian Ward, WMCA portfolio holder for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council added: “About four in ten car journeys are under two miles so getting more people to swap their car for a bike or a walk can make a huge difference to the traffic gridlock on our streets – improving safety and air quality.

“That is why we are committed to continuing to increase our investment in cycling, walking and of course public transport over the next few years.”

Full list of schemes included in the funding:

  • Birmingham East Side (BES) – Bradford Street
  • Birmingham: A38 - Selly Oak Local Centre
  • Black Country: Wednesbury Brierley Hill Extension (WBHE) - local connections for cycling and walking
  • Coventry: Binley Road, Coventry University to University Hospital
  • Birmingham - Places for People
  • Wolverhampton: A454
  • Wolverhampton: Wednesfield Road – A4124
  • Solihull: Walking Improvements (various locations)
  • Coventry: Earlsdon Active Travel Scheme
  • Coventry: Spon End Active Travel Scheme
  • Regional Contraflow Cycling Project
  • Regional School Streets Programme