This campaign - EVERY JOURNEY MATTERS - aims to prompt you to think more about the way you get around Northampton - car, bus, scooter, bike or walking - and maybe change how you travel on some of these journeys.
But, why? Well, so many, even short journeys, being made by car is affecting our Town's air quality and also contributing to making climate change worse. As we now can so often read in the newspapers, climate change is leading to more extreme, often very dangerous, weather events around the world, in Europe and in the UK.
How does this happen? Both air pollution and climate heating gases come from a number of sources, but cars that use petrol or diesel are a major factor, as they produce a lot of both air polluting particles and gases, as well as climate heating gas emissions.
Of course, some people need to use a car for short journeys. Some people do not know how to ride a bike. Other folk perhaps cannot walk very well due to a disability. And, some drive to make a short journey such as taking their child to school because they need to drive on further afterwards to work.
But, given that about 40% of all journeys are less than 2 miles, how many of these could be done by foot or bike? And without the traveller being greatly inconvenienced? One in twenty perhaps? Or 1 in 10? This could perhaps mean 1000s of trip a day in Northampton not being made by car
Also, 7 out of 10 journeys are less than 5 miles - a distance many people who can already ride a bike could cycle in 25 - 35 minutes. In fact, when roads are busy, traffic can move more slowly than many people can cycle.
And, at very busy - bumper to bumper - traffic times on inner Town roads, even walking a distance of maybe a mile, can be quicker than a car making the same journey.
So, what about trying out walking or cycling for some short journeys you usually make by car? At this point, you may be thinking: "I'd like to but it's not safe"? If you are, you may like to look at our Cycling In Northampton page?
But, if you choose to try out walking or cycling for some short journeys instead of driving, you are likely to:
- help reduce car congestion on Northampton's often crowded and noisy roads.
- get physically fitter and feel better about yourself and life in general.
- save money you'd otherwise be paying out for petrol and parking.
- have the satisfaction of knowing you are doing something to help the environment - in your street, your town and beyond.
- AND... you'll be doing something small, but positive about Climate Change to protect your, your child's and your grandchild's futures.
Not everyone can walk or cycle. But if you're someone who can, there can be benefits for YOU, for OUR TOWN, and for THE PLANET.
But, if you'd like to think a bit more about the above claimed 5 benefits of walking or cycling more, there are sections below on each of them.
HOW TO: help reduce congestion on our Town's crowded and noisy roads
You may think this answer is 'cheating', but if you walk or cycle rather than drive for some shorter journeys:
* You can contribute to reducing traffic congestion (one less car!). AND, if you find you like the experience, you can tell others who now drive, and they might try walking or cycling - even less traffic!
* Try choosing a route that avoids car congestion. There will still be numerous noisy and congested roads in the town, but you won't be on one of them! Pick your route carefullyand breathe cleaner air, get fitter, notice details of town life that you don't tend to see from a car, maybe socially interact with another walker – or cyclist.
HOW TO: get physically fitter and feel better
Here are some health facts about cycling from an organisation who knows a great deal about the subject – the British Heart Foundation:-
"Cycling is a good way to improve your fitness and heart health
About 30 minutes' of daily cycling will begin to benefit your cardiovascular system. And, no need to ride far or fast to make a difference. Those 30 minutes are enough to improve your health, reduce your risk of illness, ease your stress levels and benefit your mental well-being.
Getting on a bike can make you feel young again - cycling releases invigorating bursts of endorphins, our feel-good neurotransmitters.
It's suitable for all fitness levels
It doesn't matter what shape you're in, you can go at your own pace. The bike saddle holds 70 per cent of your body weight, so pressure on your joints is very low, too. If you're new to cycling, recovering from an injury, or put off because you live in a hilly area, an electric bike may be an option.
Cycling makes you stronger
Almost every muscle is used while cycling. Leg muscles are worked the most – for pedalling – but abdomen and back muscles stabilise the body, while the shoulder-arm muscular system supports you at the handlebars. Cycling builds strength all over the body, and as your core muscles improve, so does your balance.
Benefits outweigh the risks
Don't be put off by the fear of road accidents, even if you want to be a rush hour commuter. Dr Stephen Watkins, co-chair of the Transport and Health Study Group (an independent society of public health practitioners and researchers), says: "The risks of cycling are low. The health benefits of cycling rather than driving every day are many times greater than any risk of injury."
The above health information is from is: https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/activity/cycling/10-great-reasons-to-cycle
HOW TO: save money
The simplest way to save money by choosing to make some of your smaller journeys without getting into your car, is to walk or cycle.
Going by bus has the advantage of often being less air polluting per traveller as there could be up to 30 or 40 other passengers on the bus, and hiring a scooter will have the plus of much lower emissions than a car. But, bus and scooter will cost you money, and maybe not less than what using your car will cost for that same journey.
Whereas, if you decide to walk or cycle, the energy that takes will cost you the food you need to eat to produce that energy output. But this is likely to be very little, especially as many people consume too many calories a day, and would benefit for using some of them up by walking or cycling.
Let's consider the fuel costs for short journeys of 1 to 5 miles. Choosing to travel by car will have fossil fuel costs between 14p - 19p pence per mile, electric cars 9 - 15 pence per mile (EV car costs are general AVERAGE range figures, and could vary by more depending on where the charging takes place - e.g. at home vs public super fast chargers).
So, if the journey you decide to walk or cycle rather than drive the, say 5 miles you travel to work, and you do it 10 times a week, at 17p a mile for fuel, you'll save about £8.50 a week, or £390 in a 46 week working year.
What about going for a bigger cost comparison? For example, if your household has 2 cars, but your decision to cycle to work meant you could manage OK with 1 vehicle, then...
Based on average annual car running costs, you could save the average cost of running a car which is £3,500 a year (NB: costs will vary depending on factors like the value of the car, insurance and servicing costs, vehicle excise duty and depreciation).
(Cost data in this section are taken from nimblefins.co.uk car insurance and edfenergy.com websites)
(Please Note: THIS PAGE IS STILL BEING DEVELOPED, and sections on 'helping OUR environment - e,g. air pollution', and 'taking a small step to protecting your, your child's and your grandchild's futures' will be added soon, as will more references to some of the statements made in this page - so you can check the facts for yourself, and find out even more)