South East Wales

Sustrans Cymru project tackles school run car journeys

A project to cut the number of shorter car journeys in south Wales is being launched.

About 63,000 homes in Cardiff and Penarth will be offered personalised travel advice to reduce those taking the school run and short commutes.

The £4m four-year scheme from the Welsh Government and transport charity Sustrans Cymru will eventually extend to Barry, Caerphilly and Pontypridd.

Organisers say even cutting car use for one day a week makes a big difference.

The scheme will encourage use of public transport, cycling and walking as alternatives.

'Make changes'

The launch at Ysgol Melin Gruffydd, Cardiff is timed to start with the autumn school term, which has led to a surge in peak-time traffic across Wales.

One in five cars on the road at 08:50 on a weekday is doing the school run, according to sustainable transport charity Sustrans Cymru.

Director Lee Waters said: "Many pupils are driven from their front doors to the school gates yet the average journey to school for primary aged pupils is just 1.6 miles (2.5km).

"Given the right information about alternative ways to travel, more people could leave their cars at home.

'Realistic'

"We'll work with people at school, work and home, helping them to make changes to their daily travel choices when and where it suits them.

"If each family replaced one car journey a week with a more sustainable alternative it can make a big difference."

After working with Cardiff council and the Vale of Glamorgan council - in Penarth - in the first phase of the project, the intention is then to deliver it to Barry, Caerphilly and Pontypridd.

It will then be taken to other sustainable transport centres in Wales, beginning with Mon a Menai in the north west next year.

Eventually, it will reach more than 100,000 households across Wales, as well as workplaces and schools.

Local Government and Communities Minister Carl Sargeant said: "We are fully committed to delivering a truly sustainable transport system across Wales and by providing people with realistic and enjoyable alternatives to the car we can change people's attitudes towards transport".

He added that the benefits of using sustainable transport are wide-ranging, from "enjoying healthy exercise as you walk or cycle to work to reducing congestion in our towns and cities".

Lisa Ford, executive member for traffic and transportation at Cardiff council, said the council was proud to be involved and hoped the project would "help people consider how they travel and as a result will use forms of sustainable travel for more journeys."

Sustrans says it has already seen great results from similar projects elsewhere in the UK, typically seeing a cut in car trips by around 10%.

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