Local authorities have limited resources to promote walking, cycling and public transport. Current funding has been leveraged through existing budgets to implement travel plans or in the case of new towns, through housing developers. Many local authorities promote activities such as walking groups or cycle training schemes and provide information about alternatives to the car. Other approaches include changing the physical environment or reducing financial barriers to promote walking, cycling and public transport. Environmental changes, including changes in physical and financial factors have been used to encourage other health behaviours but these have been rarely studied with respect to physical activity or the use of alternatives to the car. NICE recently reported that stronger evidence was still required about how environmental interventions may promote physical activity.
The grant comprises three linked studies:
- ICAN-Northstowe: A pilot and feasibility RCT study of financial incentives to promote alternatives to the car
- A qualitative process evaluation with adults and children about how they experience physical and policy changes around a school in Darlington and Northstowe
- A qualitative study assessing the contexts and processes that enable local authorities to implement interventions.
Two Healthy New Town (HNT) settings provide the wider context for the studies: a new town in the East of England (Northstowe) and a deprived urban area in Darlington which has already seen sustained investment in the physical environment.
Dr Jenna Panter – University of Cambridge
Dr Jean Adams – University of Cambridge
Professor Steve Cummins – London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Dr Louise Foley – University of Cambridge
Professor Russ Jago – University of Bristol
Dr Tessa Pollard – Durham University
Professor Carolyn Summerbell – Durham University