UK National Infrastructure Assessment criticised due to lack of cycleways

By Fiona Twisse / Updated: 23 Jul 2018


The UK's first ever National Infrastructure Assessment, published in July 2018 by the National Infrastructure Commission, has come under fire due to its few recommendations that target active travel. The Assessment will not be reviewed for another five years - and recommendations made in the current document will receive a formal response from the UK Government. The assessment has been written to provide "recommendations for how the identified needs and priorities of the country should be addressed".

The assessment includes a range of recommendations on low carbon energy, digital technology, the future for the nation's roads, encouraging the growth of cities, tackling floods and cutting waste. The key recommendations for the future of the nation's roads are that: "Government work with councils and private companies to deliver a national network of charging points for electric vehicles and ensures that the impacts of connected and autonomous vehicles are taken into account when planning for the next rail control period and road investment strategy".

An article by Carlton Reid in Bikebiz magazine titled "National Infrastructure Assessment does not call for cycleways for all" points out that while the assessment considers the preparedness for increased electric vehicle (EV) traffic in detail, none of the recommendations adequately addresses the needs of the active transport modes, such as walking and cycling. Instead, recommendations discuss high-capacity transport options (such as buses, metro lines and trams) as the main alternative to private passenger cars to make the best use of the limited space in urban areas. Whilst the assessment recommends a less car-focused approach to urban transport planning, and that "...better, safer provision for cycling and walking" are required, the document remains light on infrastructure recommendations specific to cycling and walking, in spite of the impacts that infrastructure can have to encourage the uptake of active travel modes. 

Image source: © Dom J /

United Kingdom
Urban mobility planning
Policy and research
Walking and cycling
Collective passenger transport
Clean and energy-efficient vehicles