Active Travel is walking, wheeling and cycling

The term ‘active travel’ is not always commonly understood, so it is important to provide explanation within relevant documentation. Active Travel refers to journeys made by modes of transport that are fully or partially people-powered, irrespective of the purpose of the journey. It includes walking, people using wheelchairs, cycling (including e-bikes) to name a few. Active travel modes are at the top of the transport hierarchy and should be prioritised accordingly, with walking and wheeling considered first, followed by cycling, then the remainder of the modes, as per the Transport Hierarchy diagram.

'Walking and wheeling' represents the action of moving as a pedestrian, whether or not someone is walking or wheeling unaided or using any kind of wheeled mobility aid, including wheelchairs, mobility scooters, walking frames, prams or buggies. Wheeling is a term that many, but not all, disabled people identify with. It is important that individuals are allowed to self-identify with terms (e.g. wheeling, walking) and not assume that all people with a particular type of disability are alike and have the same needs.

‘Active travel’ can sometimes be incorrectly used synonymously with ‘cycling’, leading to the perception that active travel strategies and interventions solely relate to cycling. It is important that active travel strategies contain measures that support walking, wheeling and cycling. However, if an intervention relates to a specific mode, e.g. cycling, it is important to refer to this mode, rather than active travel.

This diagram shows the sustainable travel hierarchy that priorotises walking, cycling, public transport and shared transport options in preference to single occupancy car use for movement of people.