As Easy As Riding A Bike)
Posted on January 19, 2018
What does the word ‘strategic’ mean?
The Oxford English Dictionary on ‘strategic’
Identifying long-term aims and interests – and working out how to achieve them. That sounds quite sensible, doesn’t it? Who could argue with that?
Yet I found myself having to look the word up, after Transport for the North – the organisation formed to ‘transform the transport system across the North of England, providing the infrastructure needed to drive economic growth’ – used it in a way that implied active travel is outside the remit of ‘strategic’ transport.
This might have just been some clumsy wording from the person running their social media account, but this attitude is reinforced not just in the imagery Transport for the North uses, but also in the reports it produces.
Planes, electric cars, trains, motorways – but not much sign of active travel here –
Spot the missing modes of transport
Or indeed here –
Container shipping, airports, motorways, trains, and people using a travelator, instead of active travel.
Equally, as Carlton Reid has spotted, Transport for the North’s new Strategic Transport Plan contains essentially no discussion of active travel, choosing instead to focus on road and rail connections between urban areas. This is despite Transport for the North’s remit covering journeys ‘within the North’, which will obviously include all those short trips that could be walked and cycled – in fact, the majority of the trips we make. 68% of all British trips are under 5 miles; 23% are under 1 mile.
From the latest National Travel Survey.
So what’s going on here?