Personalised travel planning to boost walking and cycling in Haringey (UK)

By News Editor / Updated: 23 Apr 2015
In summer 2014 Haringey Council, along with five other European cities, delivered Phase 1 of their PTP-Cycle project. Some 5 000 households and 500 local residents were contacted at home or at public events and offered Personalised Travel Planning (PTP) to help them switch solo car journeys to more sustainable modes.
PTP-Cycle demonstrates that PTP can be transferred to diverse implementation sites and target groups, leading to increased levels of cycling and walking, as well as public transport use and car-sharing. The project will support cities in their pursuit of reduced congestion, cleaner air, healthier citizens and reduced CO2 levels.
The London Borough of Haringey (LBH) is situated in north London. The 2011 census shows LBH’s population has increased by 18 per cent in the last 10 years, and with a growing population roads have become highly congested and in some areas unsafe, leading to a reduced quality of life. 
LBH is committed to reducing congestion, improving air quality, increasing levels of cycling, improving the health of the population and reducing the number of child road accidents through their Smarter Travel initiative.  To enhance this work LBH became a partner city in the PTP-Cycle project
Working with UK charity Sustrans to design the project delivery, LBH chose Crouch End as the target area because of the high levels of congestion and car ownership, its population’s high propensity to cycle and good transport links.  LBH used the methodology designed by Sustrans for PTP-Cycle to shape the project and train the newly recruited project team. 
In action 
PTP-Cycle in Haringey is a residential project with added elements of ‘in-the-field’ events.  An audit of the available sustainable transport information showed an excellent selection of leaflets already available from the council.  This was packaged together with a newly developed discount card for local bike shops to form a menu of information to support project participants to change their travel behaviour. A team of fieldwork staff was recruited from the local area and trained in giving travel advice through the ‘Motivational Interview’ technique.
Through Motivational Interviewing travel advisers encourage the project participants to identify journeys they usually make by car that they could change to a more sustainable mode.  From here the travel adviser asks the participant to think about the barriers they have to using this form of transport and ways in which they could overcome these barriers.  Once these solutions have been recognised the travel adviser can offer the participant local information and practical support to encourage their behaviour change.  This conversation gives the participant autonomy to change their behaviour and the knowledge to be able to do so, and is highly successful in creating positive change.
The project was promoted in the local area through posters, leaflets and press releases, as well as at local events.  Prior to travel advisers contacting households, an announcement postcard was delivered by hand to every house in the target area to let the residents know a bit more about the project and to get them ready for the travel advisers’ visit.
After the travel advice conversation, a bespoke information package is created for the beneficiary and delivered to them.  This pack contains all the information they have identified as being useful to them to overcome their sustainable transport barriers and project contact details if they need further support. 
From a target population of 5 000, 3 500 residents were contacted with 71 per cent interested in receiving travel advice leading to 2 685 information packs delivered. In addition to this, 501 people were given travel advice at local events.Baseline information was collected at the initial meeting with the participant.  The survey used to collect data was designed to aid the travel advice conversation rather than add an additional step to the process.
Short-term follow-up surveys were carried out in December 2014, three months after project-delivery ended. Long-term follow-ups are planned for summer 2015. From those who responded to the short-term follow-up, these encouraging results have been produced:
  • 15 per cent of respondents increased their number of cycling trips (the median increase was three trips per person per week);
  • 28 per cent increased their number of walking trips (six trips per person per week);
  • 19 per cent decreased their number of individual car trips (five trips per person per week);
  • 19 per cent increased their number of bus trips; (five trips per person per week);
  • 26 per cent increased their number of train trips (six trips per person per week). 
Challenges, opportunities and transferability 
Key successes of the Haringey PTP-Cycle project were the innovative use of tablet computers and the popularity of the discount card. Using tablets to capture data during the travel advice conversation was accurate, efficient and professional.  Using tablets rather than paper resulted in more accurate data on the database and reduced data entry costs.  Participant data was also kept more securely as it was password-protected from the moment the form was completed.  In addition to this, the tablets also gave travel advisers the opportunity to demonstrate useful websites and apps that participants could use for sustainable journey planning.
The discount card enabled six people from the project area to purchase bikes at a discounted rate, meaning six more cyclists as a direct result of the project. The discount card also created a hook to encourage people to take part in the project. The main challenge during PTP-Cycle in Haringey was starting conversations with people.  Travel advisors found that many people were not at home when they visited.  This challenge was overcome by the creation of ‘pop-up canvassing’.  Travel advisers set up temporary stalls in busy areas offering travel advice on the spot.  These proved very popular and enabled the project to exceed its contact targets.
The PTP-Cycle methodology has been created with transferability in mind.  It can be adopted in many different settings across Europe. Throughout phase 1 of delivery the project partners shared learning and adjusted their delivery where possible. 
In Depth 
Walking and cycling
United Kingdom
Jenn Champion-Cope
Annelien Venema
23 Apr 2015
23 Apr 2015