Active Travel… the greenest New Year’s resolution for 2022!

We’ve all made New Year’s resolutions over the years, haven’t we?

Research shows that around 80% of resolutions are abandoned by February. But we’re hoping to cut-through this figure and provide some advice on the best way to set realistic active travel resolutions that you can stick to – helping you and the environment!

Active Travel resolutions

One of the most common resolutions people make is to be more active – whether that’s to achieve a fitness goal or simply feel healthier after the festive season.

Given the climate emergency we all face and the ongoing efforts to make transport in the region greener, it’s likely many people will make more sustainable choices part of their resolutions this New Year too.

Did you know that active travel combines the two? Perfect to get 2022 off to a flying start! Active travel is a term for ‘journeys made as a result of a physical activity’ – such as walking or cycling. Other examples of active travel include travel using wheelchairs, trikes and scooters.

Research from the North East Transport Plan shows that in Central Tyneside alone, cycling:

  • Takes up to 16,000 cars off the road every day;
  • prevents 277 serious long-term health conditions,
  • saves 9,400 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions;
  • and creates £58.8 million in economic benefit.

Whether you got a new bike or a pair of walking boots this Christmas but aren’t sure where to start,  setting an active travel News Year’s Resolution committing to more active travel will help you to put these to good use.

You could start off by swopping one car journey each week to a walk or a cycle – whether that’s  for your commute, the school run or for travelling to and from social events.

By switching one journey a week, you’ll be playing a huge part in improving the region’s environment and air quality, while also reaping all of the health and wellbeing benefits that come from being more active.

Tools to keep you on track

If you’re keen to make the change, there’s lots of resources available to help…

  • Use the Go Smarter, Go Active interactive walking and cycling maps to plan journeys ahead of time. The maps show every cycling and walking route across the whole of the North East and are quick and easy to use online. The interactive tool even comes with built in public transport information – perfect for those considering making ‘multi-modal’ journeys – using a mixture of modes to get around.  Take a look at the maps for yourself.
  • If you’re looking to ease yourself into the ‘New You’- why not try a walk or a cycle with your family or friends this New Year.  Download one of our Active Travel Days out Guides There are short, medium and long routes across the North East, with many suitable for wheeled pedestrians and those bringing pushchairs. They provide brilliant inspiration for those struggling to find motivation to get started.

Turning resolutions into habits

Here are our top tips to help you turn your active travel resolutions in to new, healthy sustainable habits:

  • Set small, manageable targets
  • Plan your weekly travel target in advance i.e., how many journeys you plan to switch from car to a walk or cycle that week.
  • Gather the family or your friends and take on your active goals together
  • Use online tools to explore new areas or routes

recent psychological study found that it usually takes more than two months before a new behaviour becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact.  The longer you work on building active travel into your lifestyle, the sooner it will become habitual and before you know it, you’ll be making a massive contribution to reducing the region’s carbon footprint.

Sources:

How Long Does it Take to Form a Habit? Backed by Science. (jamesclear.com)

The Top 3 Reasons New Year’s Resolutions Fail And How Yours Can Succeed (forbes.com)

This Is The Month When New Year’s Resolutions Fail—Here’s How To Save Them (forbes.com)

Learn more…

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