A campaign to get South Yorkshire people to leave the car at home and enjoy the benefits of ‘active travel’ launches this week.
Travel South Yorkshire is behind the ‘Little Big Changes’ campaign – which aims to encourage people across the region to choose to go by bus, train, tram, bike or on foot when travelling this summer.
“By just making a little change to their usual journey, people can make a big difference to their own lives as well as the environment – whether that’s getting fit, saving money or burning fewer fossil fuels,” said Tim Taylor, Director of Customer Service at South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE).
“Leaving the car at home, even if it is just one day a week, and getting on board public transport, or cycling or walking, can make so much difference, and we are encouraging everyone to make a little change which could have big benefits.
“Now the summer holidays have arrived, we want to encourage families to try something different this year and make a little change when they are out and about. Instead of jumping in their car, it would be great to see families creating their own little adventures by exploring more on foot, on bikes or by hopping on a bus, tram or train. By choosing a more active way to travel people could have more fun, save money and even get fitter. It will also help get more cars off the road in South Yorkshire contributing to cleaner air and making journey times quicker for everyone”, added Tim.
The benefits of active travel to health and wellbeing, as well as the environment and the bank balance, are well known. Walking as part of a return bus trip can provide half of a person’s recommended daily exercise, for example. SYPTE also wants the campaign to highlight some of the health and wellbeing benefits of active travel.
“The benefits of making a ‘Little Big Change’ this summer are endless and this sunny weather is a great reason to make a start. Any change you make now will have a lasting impact long after the summer days are behind us. Just 20 minutes’ walking a day is sufficient to reduce long-term health risks associated with inactivity, and a person who is active every day reduces their risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 20-35 per cent, and depression by 20-30 per cent. “Another thing people often don’t consider is the effect that your chosen mode of transport can have on your mental health. Research shows that 83 per cent of people feel less stressed when travelling by public transport instead of driving, and this is one of the messages we really want to drive home to the public”, explained Tim.
“We’d really like to see as many people as possible getting behind this campaign, making a pledge to get active on their journeys and seeing how little changes in their daily routine can make not only their lives better, but also those around them.”
As well as making pledges themselves, Travel South Yorkshire’s employees will be encouraging local community groups to get involved by pledging to make a ‘Little Big Change’ as a group. This could see local youth centres choosing to walk every day instead of driving, or pupils from a local primary school taking the bus instead of being driven to school.
More information on the benefits of active travel and how to get involved can be found at travelsouthyorkshire.com/activetravel