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Let's make car free travel easier

The Campaign for National Parks recent report, "National Parks for all: Making car-free travel easier" identities lots of opportunities for improving sustainable travel to National Parks. It considers ways of increasing the range of options available as well as making the existing options easier for people to use, for example, through improved information and better integration between services. It also identifies what National Park Authorities (NPAs), local transport authorities, tourism organisations and others need to do to make car-free travel easier.

The report is based on a review of existing sustainable transport initiatives ranging from traditional bus and rail services to electric bikes and innovative new ideas, such as Vamooz which offers pre-bookable shared journeys to the Yorkshire Dales.

It may not be apparent in National Parks, but there is a revolution going on in transport at the moment with advances in technology resulting in the launch of lots of new services such as dockless bike hire and app-based shared services. Most of the initiatives launched so far are aimed at commuter journeys in urban areas but we think there is significant potential for these types of on-demand services to be used to improve access for visitors to National Parks.

So we support the CNP call to set up a ‘Smarter Travel National Park’ pilot to test some of these new types of app-based shared services alongside measures which discourage car use, such as road pricing and parking charges.

We also want the pilot to include the development of sustainable travel hubs – key centres within the Parks which offer a range of activities within one location and good access to other locations nearby. These hubs would be places where it is as easy as possible to have a great holiday without needing to use a car. The learning from this pilot would provide valuable lessons for other parts of the countryside as well as National Parks.

Key recommendations…

  • NPAs should
    • Work with local partners to identify and improve opportunities for visitors to get to particular locations without a car and secure the necessary funding for those improvements
    • Provide high-quality, consistent and up-to-date information about options for car-free access
    • Actively promote and update car-free guides and initiatives
    • Work with local transport authorities, transport operators, accommodation providers and tourist attractions to tackle ‘the final mile' – the journey from the nearest station or major public transport interchange to a visitor’s final destination.
    • Develop services such as luggage transfers, shuttle bus services and integrated ticketing
  • The Government should
    • Provide funding for a ‘smarter travel National Park’ pilot to test new types of on-demand app-based shared services and the use of travel demand management measures.
    • Support the development of sustainable travel hubs

Over the next few months, we will be pushing for NPAs, the Westminster Government, the Welsh Government and others to make the changes we are calling for. Some of our recommendations are relatively easy to implement and could make a difference very quickly. Others such as the smarter travel pilot will take longer to deliver.

Read the full report here: