The current cycling network across the West Midlands includes over 342 miles of canal towpath, greenways, National Cycle Network as well as on-road segregation. To increase levels of cycling quantity and quality, and safer routes, need to be developed with best practice design.
The West Midlands Cycling Charter outlines the key principles all its partners have adopted to deliver the required changes to cycling provisions:
- Leadership and Profile
- Cycling Network
- Promoting and Encouraging
A detailed Action Plan outlines the key activities that will be undertaken to achieve the target of increasing cycling levels to 5% of all trips by 2023. Some of the work that we be delivering to improve provisions for cycling in the region includes:
Leadership & Profile
We will use the unique opportunities to deliver a legacy of improvements to cycling provisions provided by unprecedented growth in the region including HS2 and the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Through engagement and consultation with partners and stakeholders we will work to ensure that cycling and walking are included as part of plans and strategic frameworks.
The Starley Network
With partners we will work to achieve a high quality cycling network by engaging with public health, housing as well as transport bodies to ensure the network is designed and planned for the beginning, middle and end of each journey.
To ensure uptake and use of the West Midlands Cycle Design Guidance, four training events will take place in 2018 at the constituent local authorities as well as partners at Midland Metro Alliance and HS2.
In partnership with the seven constituent West Midlands Combined Authority local authorities, We have worked closely together to develop an extensive Cycling and Walking Network that will now be known as the 'Starley Network', named after the Coventry-based Starley family, widely considered to be the innovators of the modern cycle.
The Cycling and Walking Network plan is a first for the region that will provide safer and well connected routes. The cycle routes and core walking zones will serve the busy environment of the West Midlands, integrating with the unprecedented growth, redevelopment and transport investment which is transforming our region.
Cycle parking facilities are provided at rail stations and interchanges including state of the art cycle hubs. We will continue to work with West Midlands Railway to invest in improved cycle facilities at stations.
West Midlands Cycle Hire
A new cycle hire scheme is due to launch across the West Midlands in 2021, offering more people the chance to cycle around our towns and cities.
Serco will initially provide 1500 Bikes, through a combination of 150 e-bikes and 1350 pedal bikes, within the West Midlands. The service contract with Serco is for an initial term of five years with a possible three-year extension exercisable at WMCA’s discretion. Serco will provide the infrastructure and a high-quality maintenance regime for cycles and docking stations over the contract period.
The infrastructure is comprised of docking stations, which require no electricity inputs as the e-bikes are powered by interchangeable batteries. The cycles are the latest generation of Pashley Cycles, which have been adapted to the West Midland’s topography by including 3 gears. Advantageously, the docking stations can be easily relocated for large scale events, such as the Commonwealth Games or we have the facility to use Geo-Fenced areas for short term overflow requirements like festivals.
Serco will work with TfWM to integrate with Swift from the initial trials of the scheme, enabling Swift customers to access the cycles using their Swift app.
Serco will deliver 25 new jobs to the region, providing local job opportunities.
There will be opportunities to add further value to the scheme, through social and technological innovations, such as air quality monitoring or cycles for a variety of user’s needs like cargo bikes or tricycles.
Visit West Midlands Cycle Hire for further information and to register interest.
There will be a trial of 25 bikes in Sutton Coldfield from 8 February 2021. Potential users will be invited to be part of the trial; they will not be charged to take part but will be expected to give feedback on the ease of using the bike and control system.
The scheme will be rolled out to Coventry on the 8th of March 2021 and the remaining bikes to Sutton Coldfield to fulfil it their requirement of 50 bikes. The other authorities follow over the next 5 months, by August all 1500 bikes will be out in all 7 authorities.
Promotion & Encouragement
The co-ordinated delivery of high quality behaviour change programmes will play a significant role in increasing cycling across the West Midlands. We will look to develop with colleagues in transport and public health, interventions that are evidence based and customer focused.
We are continuing to work with partner organisations to encourage cycling and walking across the region. With Cycling UK we plan to develop community cycling clubs and through Living Streets we will engage with schools to encourage walking to school.
The award-winning Cycle Crime Action Plan focuses on five key areas - enforcement, engagement, education, environment and evaluation. This includes bike marking sessions in partnership with the Safer Travel team, the sale of d-locks and the deployment of decoy tracker bikes.
We are launching Cycle Parking for Organisations supported by Park That Bike to help organisations across the West Midlands by providing them with free cycle parking. The scheme is aimed at encouraging more cycling and people to use their bikes to get around by offering to deliver free bike racks to up to 100 businesses, education centres, hospitals and community organisations.
Our aim is to increase investment in cycling to £10 per person per year to give a total ten year investment of £283m. We will continue to work with partners to deliver the improvements to cycling provisions and build business cases for future cycling investment in the region.