The Better Journey Project has been working with a team of dedicated volunteers to monitor commuter traffic in a disciplined and consistent manner on specific days for over a year now. Since April last year they have recorded over 66,000 journeys and now we can compare last year to this.
Barrie Duerden, who leads the traffic monitoring explains “We are immensely grateful to the 45 volunteers that have stood roadside during the morning commute to compile this valuable data over the last year or so. When we compare a Friday last June to a Friday with almost identical weather this June, we see almost identical number of journeys and consistent numbers of public service and commercial vehicles but there is some very encouraging news for those that want to see less congestion, a healthier population and reducing carbon emissions. While total car journeys are down 6%, motorcycle, bike and pedestrian traffic are all up more than 20% over the year.”
More recently, the results for July confirm this shift in habits. Commenting on the reasons for this, Mark Smith of BJP commented “We cannot know for sure, but we think that the principal reasons for this significant change are twofold.
First, islanders are feeling the pinch, so are looking at cutting down expenses. When you add it up, cars are expensive to buy and run; particularly on a small island where we make small journeys. There are alternatives that are much cheaper in the long run.
Second, we believe that islanders are increasingly thinking about their health and carbon footprint and are choosing to plan their journeys more carefully as a result. After all, electric bikes are a gamechanger, the bus service is very good and; just like sea swimming; walking and cycling are fun and are good for you”.
Alex Costen of the Health Improvement Commission adds “During the island games we have seen a massive increase in cycling. It’s clear that many islanders have bicycles and will use them when facilities are made available and they are asked to do so…in this case by the Island Games organisers. Let’s hope that one of the legacies of the games is a permanent shift towards islanders planning their journeys and choosing healthier and more environmentally friendly options if and where they are able.”