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Proportion of adults who cycle or walk, and how often, in each English local authority

30 October 2023

About 2 mins to read
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  • The share of adults walking at least five times per week varies – from 58.7% in the Isles of Scilly to 18.8% in Redbridge. For cycling, it varies from 15.4% in Cambridge to as little as 0.2% in Tunbridge Wells.

Increasing physical activity and minimising the time we spend sitting down helps to maintain a healthy weight and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and depression. The NHS recommends that adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, each week.

This chart shows the share of adults who walk and cycle (also known as active transport), for any purpose, and how often, in each English local authority.

On average, relatively few people in England regularly walk and cycle. In 2021:

  • 13.1% of adults cycled once per month, but only 2.1% cycled five times per week or more.
  • 77.4% of adults walked once per month, but only 42.9% walked three times per week. A total of 31.3% adults walked five times per week or more.

Regular walking or cycling rates vary significantly in different parts of the country.

  • The share of adults cycling at least five times per week was highest in Cambridge (15.4%), Oxford (12.8%) and the Isles of Scilly (10.5%). The proportion was as low as 0.2% in Tunbridge Wells, and 0.3% in Redbridge and Rochford.
  • The share of adults walking at least five times per week was highest in the Isles of Scilly (58.7%), followed by London boroughs of Islington (45.5%) and Kensington and Chelsea (44.8%), and lowest in Redbridge (18.8%) and City of London (19.7%).

To a certain degree, these differences in active travel reflect a difference in the population age structure and urban density. However, some areas, such as Cambridge, have introduced policies to boost active transport use, including dedicated cycling lanes, speed limits and increased car parking charges.

The take-up of active transport differs considerably between local authorities. There is scope for local policy interventions to boost active transport in areas with the lowest shares of people walking or cycling.

  • The figures are based on area of residence rather than where people walk or cycle.
  • The data includes all cycling and any walking over 50 yards.

Source: Health Foundation analysis of Department for Transport, Walking and cycling statistics, 2021.

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