Positive environmental changes can be made by adopting sustainable modes of transport. Central government statistics show that road transport accounted for almost 30% of Woking Borough’s total carbon emissions in 2017.
Through our climate change strategy, Woking 2050, we promote alternatives to car use such as walking and cycling, particularly for short journeys, in order to contribute to a cleaner, greener borough.
Our past track record – Cycle Woking
In 2008, Woking was awarded cycle demonstration town status and received £1.8m in government funding. The three year programme, named Cycle Woking, was delivered in partnership between Woking Borough Council and Surrey County Council. Its key aim was to enhance infrastructure and increase take up of walking and cycling, particularly for shorter journeys and to connect people with places, such as work, school, shopping and leisure.
An impressive new 26km network of off-road cycle paths were built, 13km of which runs along the Basingstoke Canal. The enhanced cycle network provided a 60% increase in dedicated cycle facilities and transformed the old disjointed network improving connectivity to key places, particularly Woking town centre and Woking Railway Station. Other infrastructure improvements included new and improved signalised cycle crossings allowing improved and safer access across busy roads and further enhancing connections across the network.
Signage and cycle parking were also improved during the programme. The network, named the ‘Planet Trails’, promotes the borough’s local connection to HG Wells, author of The War of the Worlds, which was written and based in Woking. Almost 40 km of The Planet Trails routes were signed giving travel distances in minutes to give walkers and cyclists improved journey time estimates.
Over 1,000 new cycle parking spaces were created across the borough with 286 at schools, 237 at railway stations, 200 at workplaces and 166 in Woking town centre. Later, cycling parking at Woking Railway Station was further increased with a dedicated and secure Cycle Hub offering over 200 spaces. Offering additional access to cycling, a Brompton bike hire facility was installed on the south-side of Woking railway Station.
A key aspect of Cycle Woking was to encourage the local community to take up of walking and cycling. The health and wellbeing benefits, as well as the environmental advantages of opting for cycling and walking particularly for shorter journeys, were promoted. Various events took place engaging schools, businesses and community groups including weekly bike breakfasts for commuters and a local neighbourhood bike repair and recycling workshop.
Our nationally recognised cycle status attracted the annual televised, Tour Series, cycle race to Woking town centre five times. This high profile event highlighted the profile of Woking and cycling, and attracted thousands of spectators to watch professional cyclists race around the closed town centre circuit. The annual programme of events included engaging community races bringing in participants from local schools and businesses testing out the professional circuit.
Current and future plans for cycling and walking
Additionally, Surrey County Council and Woking Borough Council have been working together to develop a Local Walking and Cycling Infrastructure Plan (LWCIP) for Woking. This follows publication of the government's Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy in 2017 that sets out an ambition to make walking and cycling the natural choices for shorter journeys (or as part of a longer journey).
Woking’s LCWIP considers walking and cycle routes in the borough and scores them in terms of safety, provision and ‘usability’. The findings have been used to identify prioritised routes and the measures and interventions that would be needed to provide for high quality safe and convenient routes to encourage increased cycling and walking in place of the private car.
Woking’s LCWIP was submitted to the Department for Transport at the end of March 2020 for consideration. If government funding becomes available, the LCWIP will help to identify which measures could be funded to enhance local cycling and walking provision in this area.