Why walking & cycling are essential services to support recovery and help get Manchester back on its feet during Covid19

Image from @juststepsways

This is a humanitarian, as well as a health crisis.

Tens of thousands of people have died in the UK, with millions on the front line providing health care or other essential services; with unprecedented numbers relying on foodbanks and social support, and many more with no or reduced income.

Despite this only 9% of people want to go back to how it was – and high up among those things we all want to keep are the quieter & safer streets, cleaner air, and greener neighbourhoods brought about by the drastic reduction in road traffic due to lockdown.

Here’s my proposal for the critical role walking and cycling can play in our renewal – enabling us to rebuild a cleaner, greener & more inclusive future, keeping the best of what we had and leaving the worst behind.

(best viewed in presenter mode)

Published 4 May 2020

How did I give up using my car? By turning it into a protest art roadblock!

It can be hard to give up things. 

One way is to just remove temptation. 

I’d vowed last winter, after waking up to the extent of  our climate crisis, only to use my car for unavoidable journeys.

But I’d found – despite then becoming an active travel campaigner, and someone who’d always loved walking and cycling, and a big fan of trams and trains – that I still had trouble avoiding the tendency to jump in the car when it was raining, I was feeling lazy or running late.*

I decided that the easiest way to give up using my private car – was to remove it and go cold turkey.

Deciding to do something, and doing it, are also two different things (as the broken lightbulb in my hallway can testify today, a good month after it blew it).

So, when Extinction Rebellion’s Deansgate direct action rolled around this August, and fellow protestors were looking for an eye-catching protest artwork in the middle of the street… I had just the job…

Continue reading “How did I give up using my car? By turning it into a protest art roadblock!”

We have a ‘1 million trips a day’ challenge in Greater Manchester – which we can only solve if we stop driving short distances

In this in-depth post I set out compelling evidence why…

    • our climate and health crisis can only be solved with dramatic cuts to car use
    • leaving cars at home for short journeys is now critical, almost obligatory
    • we therefore need a massive programme of measures to disincentivise car use and induce behaviour change including


If Greater Manchester is to meet its environment, civic, and health commitments  – the city region’s transport challenge is very clear.

About one million MORE journeys EVERY day need to be made by foot, bike, bus, tram or train* by 2040, instead of by car.

The trouble is – no-one likes to talk about the last four words of that sentence. 

Our current strategies assume that this massive transformation of our daily habits will just ‘kinda happen’ as a result of new infrastructure, public transport investment and a bit of ‘awareness raising’. 

But a new report from the influential Transport Select Committee makes a clear set of recommendations that spell out this is a car-reduction challenge which must now be tackled head on.

Continue reading “We have a ‘1 million trips a day’ challenge in Greater Manchester – which we can only solve if we stop driving short distances”