England is working to combine two of the world’s cleanest methods of transportation through a new initiative.
A handful of strongly funded programs are geared to get more people bicycling to and from rail stations in England.
James Murray from Business Green reports that England government is investing £14 million ($22.38 million) “to make it easier for rail commuters to use bicycles for part of their journey to and from work.” The announcement comes this week.
About £5 million ($8 million) will be used to create “cycle hubs” at ten major train stations. At these hubs, people will have secure bicycling parking, the option to rent bicycles, and bicycle repair services.
Another £5 million will be used to create 4,500 bicycle parking spaces (£3 million) and better bicycle access (£3 million). The final £4 million is for train companies Merseyrail, Northern Rail, South West Trains, and Virgin Trains to help them significantly improve their “Bike ‘n’ Ride” services.
Reportedly, it wasn’t only cycling advocates who got the government to put so much into this. It was also the train companies. They got the government to increase the funding for this by nearly three times, from £5m to £14m. This is probably because studies show that good bicycle access can increase ridership several times over. Additionally, urban planners are increasingly interested in “multi-modal” transportation — encouraging a greater mix and variety of transportation modes.
Lord Adonis, Transport secretary for England, says: “Although half of us own a bike and 60 per cent live just 15 minutes from a train station, only two per cent of train passengers travel to the station by bike. This is in contrast to Holland where cycling accounts for a third of all trips to and from the station.”
This announcement came days after a national survey was released stating that train usage increased by 26% in the last few years. It was at 55% this last year compared to 29% in 2006.
Increases in train ridership, funding for better bike-train connections — looks good. Hopefully, the US will take a hint and create similar programs. With the increased ridership bicycle access can provide, this would help to fuel the US’ lagging train ridership.
Image Credit 1: Norma Desmond via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 2: tsparks via flickr under a Creative Commons license