5 million trips clocked on CityConnect routes

West Yorkshire cycling and walking programme sees more than five million total trips by bike on active travel routes.

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme has hit a major milestone, with a combined total of more than five million trips by bike counted on its cycling and walking routes across the region.

The impressive total trips figure was confirmed after collating the latest monthly user numbers from April 2021. The figures are taken from fixed route counters across the range of infrastructure delivered by the Combined Authority’s dedicated cycling and walking programme, including its flagship scheme – the 23km Bradford Leeds Cycle Superhighway, which opened in summer 2016.

It means a combined total of 5,100,136 bike trips have now been recorded across all CityConnect routes since the first route opened in 2016.

CityConnect has been working to support more people in West Yorkshire to travel by bike and on foot since 2014, aiming to open up access to cycling and walking routes and connect communities with opportunities for work, training and leisure.

This has involved investment of more than £60 million in high quality cycling and walking infrastructure, with a mix of segregated on-road routes and traffic-free canal towpaths and greenways delivered by the Combined Authority and local authority partners across West Yorkshire and York.

The Combined Authority is aiming to increase the share of active travel in West Yorkshire and reduce the numbers of cars on the roads as part of its bid to become a net zero carbon economy by 2038.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:

“I’m delighted to see the Combined Authority hit this major milestone, which shows just how many people in our region are already choosing to cycle and walk for at least some of their journeys.

“Greener and cleaner transport is absolutely key to my pledge as Mayor to improve transport options for communities in our region.

“Through these CityConnect figures we can see how many people are happy to leave their cars at home and get out on their bikes, if we only support them to do that.”

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Transport portfolio lead for West Yorkshire, said:

“These fantastic figures mark great progress in the Combined Authority’s aim to increase the share of active travel across West Yorkshire.

“We want to see walking and cycling become major forms of transport and the first choice for short journeys, so this really is just the start for active travel in our region.

“Our aim is to see communities better linked by an integrated network of local transport, walking and cycling options, and CityConnect routes will have a big role to play in making that a reality.”

The CityConnect programme has delivered high quality segregated cycle routes within Bradford and Leeds city centres, as well as a new fully accessible cycle and walking bridge, Scarborough Bridge, across the River Ouse in York.

The routes monitored for these user figures also include resurfaced towpaths on Leeds & Liverpool Canal between Riddlesden and Silsden, Rochdale Canal from Sowerby Bridge to Todmorden, Calder & Hebble Navigation and Huddersfield Narrow Canal, as well as the Castleford to Wakefield Greenway.

The latest CityConnect route was launched on 9 June, 2021, with new infrastructure along Claypit Lane in Leeds one of a package of routes delivered to increase travel choices in Leeds as coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

The £6.3 million package of more than 7km of cycling and walking routes in Leeds also includes a 3km route on Elland Road and a 1.5km section on Dewsbury Road, delivered in partnership with Leeds City Council. Both are due to open soon.

In addition to building new cycling and walking routes and improving existing infrastructure, CityConnect offers a range of free services including adult cycle training and support for businesses, schools and communities to boost the number of people travelling by bike or on foot.