Commuters encouraged to leave their cars at home

We are encouraging Scarborough residents and commuters to leave their cars at home at least once a week and walk, cycle or use public transport instead to save time and money and to get fitter.

Don Mackenzie promoting scheme

Research for the County Council’s Open Scarborough initiative found that time is the most important consideration for almost two thirds (61%) of Scarborough commuters when choosing how to get to work.

But despite this, the research revealed that residents and commuters in the area can spend up to two days a year stuck in their cars.

The survey of residents and commuters in and around the town identified Seamer Road as the borough’s worst road for traffic, despite numerous more sustainable and time-effective options being available on the route.

Regardless of the town’s traffic woes, travelling alone by car was by far the most popular mode of transport (60%), while only 10% of commuters cited cycling as their principal transport method. This is despite the fact that 55% of commuters travel less than five miles a day, while one in four has an easily walkable commute of less than two miles.

With pollution within the borough coming largely from vehicles along the main arterial routes, only 2% of residents cited environmental impact as the main factor when deciding how to travel.

The Open Scarborough initiative encourages residents to opt for more sustainable transport, whether for business or pleasure.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways and the County Council’s Cycling and Walking Champion, said: “Our survey shows that time is the most important factor for Scarborough residents when they plan their travel, yet many regularly find themselves sitting in traffic queues for long periods – most likely on Seamer Road! This is despite the detrimental impact this can have on the environment, commuters’ health and their pockets.

“We are committed to working with the people of Scarborough to help them think again about their travel habits and to highlight the advantages of getting out of their cars, even for just one day a week. Small behavioural changes could have a real impact on both the environment and individual wellbeing. This is why we bid to the Department for Transport’s Access Fund to launch the Open Scarborough initiative, working with schools, businesses and residents to promote sustainable travel. By pulling together and making small changes, we can have a real impact on making Scarborough an even better place to live, visit and work.”

County Councillor David Jeffels, a member of the authority's Transport, Economy and Environment Scrutiny Committee and member for Seamer and Derwent, welcomed the initiative. He said: “It has the potential to help to solve some of the traffic congestion in Scarborough. By encouraging more people to cycle to work or use public transport it can improve their health and quality of life. If the system can be made appealing to the public it will have many benefits. I am particularly keen to see our primary schools become involved because they are probably keen to take on the initiative and in turn encourage parents and other members of their families to follow suit.”

Open Scarborough is part of the County Council’s Open North Yorkshire project. The County Council was awarded £1m from the Department for Transport’s Access Fund to deliver the sustainable travel project that aims to get more people walking and cycling in three towns – Scarborough, Harrogate and Skipton. The towns were chosen because they offer the most potential for shifting to sustainable transport based on their population, the levels of economic and residential development and the levels of congestion. The project runs until March 2020 and the emphasis is currently on Scarborough.

Find details of Open Scarborough.

This story was published 17 September 2018