Residents to be targeted with green travel scheme

by Published Wed 10 Jun 2009 11:08
The TravelWise team read up on their cycling skills

Thousands of Wirral residents in Merseyside are being invited to take part in a pioneering TravelWise initiative, which aims to reduce peak-time congestion on the main routes into Birkenhead and Liverpool city centre.

The TravelWise Personal Travel Planning project is set to challenge around 10,000 households in the area to opt for greener modes of travel - such as public transport, walking or cycling - instead of jumping in the car.

The project will run until the end of September. As part of the initiative, a TravelWise team will be visiting residents in Heswall, Pensby, Irby and Thingwall to offer a free personalised travel service to cut the cost, time, hassle and carbon emissions from their journeys. Participants will be offered free support, information and discounts to help them try out smarter ways to travel.

Neil Scales, Chair of the Merseyside Transport Partnership and Chief Executive and Director General of Merseytravel, believes the project will help reduce carbon emissions and congestion in the area.

He said: “Households with at least one car often have certain barriers to using more sustainable methods of transport – they tell us that they don’t know anything about bus routes, or they don’t know a lower-traffic route for cycling. Our bespoke personal travel planning approach, which will see TravelWise teams speaking to residents face-to-face, will address the individual needs of people in these areas by offering tailored support and incentives.

“Part of the challenge is to remind people who rely on their cars about the alternatives available. For example, we have some excellent bus links from Heswall, Pensby, Irby and Thingwall into Birkenhead and Liverpool, which are cheaper and faster than the driving commute. We also offer support for cyclists, in the form of access to free cycle maps which show easy cycle routes, led rides during the summer months, and cycle skills sessions.”

The TravelWise Personal Travel Planning project in Heswall, Pensby, Irby and Thingwall was set up following the success of a smaller pilot project in South Liverpool last year. This scheme saw an increase of almost 10 percent in the use of sustainable travel and a reduction in car use by more than 10 percent. It was extremely popular with residents and those participating in the scheme also cut their carbon emissions considerably.

Councillor Jean Quinn, Chair of Merseyside Transport and Planning Committee, commented: “Helping people to find travel options which are cheaper, healthier and greener is key to cutting congestion, improving air quality and making the roads safer. This TravelWise initiative is about helping people see how making some journeys by bus, train, bike or walking can be better for everyone.”

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