The Effects of Smarter Choice Programmes in the Sustainable Travel Towns: Summary Report

In 2004, the Department for Transport published Smarter Choices: Changing the Way We Travel (Cairns et al., 2004), which reviewed the evidence available at that time on the effect and scale of implementation of smarter choice measures, previously called ‘soft measures’. The review suggested that these measures had the potential to deliver substantial changes in travel behaviour and reductions in traffic, if implemented in a supportive policy context and on a large scale over a period of ten years. The Department then launched the Sustainable Travel Towns project to provide a ‘real-world’ test of whether it was indeed the case that intensive, town-wide Smarter Choice Programmes might have such an impact on travel behaviour and traffic. It ran from April 2004 to April 2009, with £10 million funding for the implementation of large-scale Smarter Choice Programmes in three towns: Darlington, Peterborough and Worcester. All three programmes aimed to encourage more use of non-car options – in particular, bus use, cycling and walking – and less single-occupancy car use. In 2008, the Department for Transport commissioned a study of progress in the three Sustainable Travel Towns. This summary brings together the main findings from that study. It is concluded that the Sustainable Travel Towns programme was successful in reducing travel by car, and increasing the use of other modes, and that the programme offered very high value for money. The trends in the towns were different from those in other medium-sized urban areas, with respect to car, bus, walking and cycling trips per person and also with respect to changes in traffic.

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  • Corporate Authors:

    Department for Transport, England

    Great Minster House, 76 Marsham Street
    London,   England  SW1P 4DR

    AEA Energy and Environment

    Central House
    London,   United Kingdom 


    Crowthorne House, Nine Mile Ride
    Wokingham, Berkshire  United Kingdom  RG40 3GA

    Transport for Quality of Life

    Machynlleth,   United Kingdom 

    University of the West of England

    Coldharbour Lane
    Bristol BS19 1QY,   United Kingdom 

    University of Aberdeen

    Centre for Transport Research
    Aberdeen, Scotland  United Kingdom  AB24 3UF
  • Authors:
    • Sloman, Lynn
    • Cairns, Sally
    • Newson, Carey
    • Anable, Jillian
    • Pridmore, Alison
    • Goodwin, Phil
  • Publication Date: 2010-2


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 55p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01156921
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 3 2010 1:34PM