Two jobs have been created in Chorlton as part of a year-long project to fight climate change in Greater Manchester. These ‘active travel’ experts will act as information sources to help others cut their carbon emissions by lessening their car travel. The new roles will form one part of the project which has received £200,000 funding from the National Lottery Climate Change Fund.
WalkRideGM will lead the spending of this money and in partnership with Groundwork, Sustrans and Open Data Manchester, they will gather data and people’s views on local travel and pollution, before piloting three projects designed to pave the way to a more car-free future.
To encourage citizens towards more active travel one of the pilot projects will aim to bring more shoppers to a local high street, another will work with families to introduce a safer, greener school run and one will make environmental improvements to a residential street.
The focus on active travel has been strategically chosen as the Manchester Climate Change Agency 2020 annual report shows that transport is the second-largest source of dangerous CO2 emissions in Greater Manchester.
Since Transport for Greater Manchester, in partnership with Sustrans, found that the average length of a journey is 5km, one key challenge for this community project will be learning how to turn short car rides into 20-minute bike rides. Another particular focus will be the shorter journeys as the project will attempt to find out how many local car trips are less than 2km and how many of these could be walked or taken another way.
It is hoped the knowledge generated through this project will help Chorlton lead the city region to a car-free future. Julian Tait, CEO of Open Data Manchester, said: “We are really excited about working with people in Chorlton to uncover more about the travel behaviours, pollution and carbon emissions in the neighbourhood, in order to help the community create positive, evidence-based solutions.’’
Walk RideGM already have a track record of working with the communities to make more active travel choices as they have organised car-free days in Chorlton; audited the streets to find improvements to road layouts and pavements; and during the recent lockdown, ran a bike delivery service in the neighbourhood.
Claire Stocks from WalkRideGM says “The Lottery funding will enable our community to work with three fantastic expert partners to design solutions to our traffic problems – which will mean big benefits for our community, but also our planet.”