The search is now on to appoint Sheffield City Region’s first Active Travel Commissioner to work together with Mayor Dan Jarvis to deliver his transport vision.
The Commissioner will be an expert on aspects of Active Travel such as walking and cycling, and will work closely with the Mayor to make his ambitious transport vision a reality. Individuals or organisations that fit the detailed brief are now being invited to submit their proposals.
Mayor Jarvis said: “Here in the Sheffield City Region, we will build a transport system that works for everyone. A vital part of this is enabling people to travel in a more active way, whether by foot, bike or public transport. By prioritising active travel, we can improve people’s health, cut carbon emissions and reduce congestion.
“Through my Mayoralty, we now have a clear vision. In December, I launched my Vision for Transport, which has active travel at its heart. We have also submitted funding proposals to the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund for four active travel schemes across South Yorkshire.
“Action is already being taken; but I’m stepping up efforts by seeking an Active Travel Commissioner to take the lead on this important work. I look forward to appointing the Commissioner and, together, delivering an ambitious plan that makes real improvements for residents, businesses and visitors to our region.”
British Cycling policy manager, Nick Chamberlin, said: “As we have already seen in places like London and Manchester, Active Travel Commissioners play an absolutely vital role in spearheading change and mobilising support for cycling and walking schemes.
“We have been really encouraged by Mayor Dan Jarvis’s commitment to making it easier for more people to walk and cycle journeys that they would otherwise make by car.
“We look forward to working with him and the new Commissioner to help bring the Vision for Transport to life in the coming years.”
The Active Travel Commissioner will work with organisations such as local authorities, the Passenger Transport Executive, community groups and public health professionals, as well as with national Government.
He or she will also be responsible for overseeing all aspects of the Active Travel schemes that will be delivered across the region, should the bid to the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund be successful.
Earlier this month, six active travel and public transport schemes were put forward to Government for consideration under the Transforming Cities Fund.
In total, the Sheffield City Region (SCR) has bid for £9.3m from Government, to go alongside £6.3m in match funding. The total value of the six schemes is more than £15m.
Four of the schemes are to promote active travel in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield respectively. This includes the creation of cycle lanes, new cycle and pedestrian crossings, and a series of cycling and walking improvement works.
Together, the proposed works aim to enable people to choose affordable, greener and healthier forms of travel. The schemes will better connect homes, transport interchanges, employment and recreational opportunities using safer, more direct and convenient routes.
Mayor Jarvis added: “Our current transport system in the Sheffield City Region is not fit for the 21st century. If we don’t act now, it’s not going to improve.
“Since my election in May I have made improving our transport system central to my mission. As the recruitment of my new Commissioner demonstrates, I am leading from the front, taking decisive action and working to make a real difference for communities across our region.”
Jack Windle from Love To Ride South Yorkshire said: “We know from talking to the public – to steelworkers, doctors, teachers and call centre staff over the last ten years – that people from all kinds of backgrounds want better ways to get around South Yorkshire, ways that are good for them, good for the economy and good for the health of the region.
“The vision from Mayor Dan Jarvis is moving the powers that be in the right direction. Love to Ride will work closely with the new Commissioner and continue to support companies and individuals who want to make the changes we all need for a healthier, happier, greener South Yorkshire and a growing modern economy.”
Projections show that by 2026 there will be an extra 500,000 journeys on our transport system. Without action now, congestion will get worse, more people will choose to stay out of our town and cities, businesses won’t invest or grow and hotspots of poor air quality won’t improve.
The Active Travel agenda will be supported by funds from the Transforming Cities Fund, subject to forthcoming approval by Government.