First published: 02/06/2023 -

Last updated: 21/03/2024 -

Verified by our Editorial Panel

Active Travel

Walk, wheel, scoot or cycle

A little more active travel and a little less time in the car is great for your physical and mental health and is a green and sustainable way to get around.

Active travel means making a journey in a physically active way. Types of active travel include walking, wheeling (if you use a wheelchair), using a scooter or cycling 

Transport is the third largest producer of harmful carbon emissions in Wales, a major contributor to climate change. Fewer cars on the road means safer roads and cleaner air, so active travel brings huge benefits for us, our families, our communities and our planet. 

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What can we do?

We know not everyone will be able to travel in an active way all the time, but there’s always something most of us can do. Here are some ideas: 

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Start with one journey a week

In the UK, around 20% of car journeys under one mile are taken in the car. If you can, why not try leaving the car at home for shorter journeys? You could get started with one journey a week to try it out.

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Plan ahead

Think about which destinations you can walk, cycle or wheel to and plan your journey in advance, considering factors such as safety and traffic. Start with short distances and build up your journey as you become more confident. Involve friends and family in the planning if you’re travelling together. 

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Explore new routes

Find cycling and walking routes in Wales using Active Travel Network Maps. Created by local authorities in Wales, these show existing routes – current everyday routes that already meet Welsh Government active travel standards, and future routes – planned improvements to current routes and new routes proposed for the future. You can also access free active travel leaflets and maps from Sustrans.

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Walk to School

Walking, wheeling, scooting or cycling to school is a great way to keep fit, spend some time together and avoid the stress of the school run in the car. Plan your route, read these tips for walking safely and give it a try. Ask your school if they're part of an Active Journeys programme, funded by the Welsh Government, which can help tackle specific travel issues around the school area.

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Do it together

Active travel is a great way to be social with family and friends. Could you walk to school with other parents and their children or cycle to work with a colleague? Get together and plan what you can do. 

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Set your goals and track your progress

Use your smartphone, if you have one, to see how many steps you take during your everyday journeys. Give yourself a challenge and increase the number over time. Soon you’ll be walking or cycling with ease to destinations that are further away. To keep it interesting, try listening to podcasts or audiobooks. To build up your stamina, you could join a local walking or cycling group. 

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Get cycling

Explore the different e-bike hire and loan schemes in Wales, if you live in an area covered by them (for example the e-bike hire scheme in Vale of Glamorgen, or the E-Move project). You could also buy an affordable used bike from the Bike UpCycling Project in Flintshire, which revamps abandoned bikes. There are many projects like this throughout Wales, just search for one near you, or you can find bikes for sale on many second-hand sites. If you already own a bike or scooter, make sure that it’s well-maintained and has working lights. Find out what’s in your area – some charities help children with second-hand bikes for instance, or you can hire bikes by the hour in a number of towns and cities. 

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Fix it for free

Once you have your bike sorted, there are increasing opportunities to repair it on the go at bicycle repair stations, like these across the Vale.

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Combine with public transport

Walk, cycle or wheel to the bus or rail station and cover longer distances using public transport. Take advantage of Transport for Wales’ bus, rail and active travel network, which enables connected journeys to make sustainable travel easier. If you’re not able to take part in active travel, try car sharing or public transport as a green travel option.

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Make your commute to work greener

Walk or wheel to work if you can (investing in an e-bike could help with longer or uphill journeys), or share rides with colleagues to lower your emissions and the number of vehicles on the road. Organising virtual meetings and working from home when you can, can also help reduce the number of journeys you and your colleagues need to take to work.

Why take action?

Using the car less and getting active will have a positive impact on your financial, physical and mental health. Plus, it’s one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce air pollution, congestion and harmful emissions. Here are a few reasons to walk, cycle or wheel, if you can: 

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Improve your health and wellbeing

Physical activity is a healthy choice, medically proven to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and even depression and dementia. Plus, by incorporating physical activity into your and your family’s daily routine, you can avoid having to find extra time and money to exercise. 

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Check in with your family

Walking home from school, for example, gives you time to chat to your children about their day. It’s a great opportunity to connect.

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Reduce your environmental impact

According to Energy Saving Trust, reducing your car use by a quarter and choosing to walk, cycle or wheel instead could save up to £345 in fuel costs and 570kg of carbon dioxide a year – that’s the equivalent of charging 69,336 smartphones. 


Save money

Active travel is a cheaper way to get around, whether that’s walking to school, work or the shops, reducing travel costs, such as petrol, car maintenance and parking – and you don’t need to spend time looking for a parking space.

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Tackle air and noise pollution

Walk or cycle to reduce congestion, air and noise pollution – and help Wales tackle the volume of car traffic clogging up Wales, which grew by 45% between 1993 and 2019. 

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Get to know your area

You see more when you travel without your car. Explore your surroundings, discover new places and interact with people – it could all help improve your mental health and make you feel more connected to your community.

What is Wales doing?

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