Skip to main content

Interventions to increase active travel

Page Content

- Evidence grading key 
Methods & References
- Download leaflet


Active travel is used to describe walking and cycling for purposeful journeys to a destination, alone or in combination with public transport. Levels of active travel in Wales are currently low compared to other countries in Europe[1]. Increasing active travel is a key priority in Wales, contributing to the achievement of all seven of Wales’ well-being goals.[2] 

This topic evidence summary aims to identify and explore the following questions:

  1. What are the most effective universal or targeted/selective group interventions for increasing active travel in the general population?
  2. What interventions lead to a modal shift in the general population’s transport use, for example limiting or decreasing car use and/or increasing use of cycling, walking or public transport?

Statements have been compiled using evidence from 87 primary studies which met our inclusion criteria for this topic evidence summary. To be considered for inclusion they had to include an outcome measure of active travel (such as walking or cycling) for a purposeful journey to a destination, or a modal shift in transport (for example, a decrease in car use with corresponding increase in walking).

Based on data extracted from the sources identified, interventions have been categorised into those which the evidence suggests may be effective, may be ineffective and those for which the evidence is inconclusive.

To view the evidence statements, please click through to the category of interest below:

  1. Interventions in the general population and/or community 
  1. School travel initiatives 
  1. Workplace travel initiatives 


Evidence grading key



This summary is designed to:

  • Support those making decisions about national or local policies or action
  • Support exploratory conversations about interventions, programmes and services by:
    • Showcasing the types of interventions that have been researched
    • Highlighting the types of interventions that show promising results and are worthy of further-context specific exploration
    • Highlighting the types of interventions less likely to be supported by the evidence and that should be avoided at this time.


This summary is not designed to:

  • Give detailed quality and contextual assessment of the evidence base for each intervention and should not be used alone to allocate resources
  • Consider competing priorities, adaptation to local context, effect sizes nor costs
  • Cover all possible interventions.

Many of the studies identified also included other outcomes such as increases in physical activity which have not been reported on in this topic evidence summary. It is therefore suggested that if you plan on implementing any of these interventions, that you further scrutinise the evidence base to identify any unintended consequences, or any positive changes in other areas or outcomes (for example, in reducing congestion, reducing road traffic accidents or increasing overall physical activity levels).


Methods and References


Download summary

Interventions to Increase Active Travel summary



© 2022 Public Health Wales NHS Trust.  

Material contained in this document may be reproduced under the terms of the Open Government Licence (OGL) provided it is done so accurately and is not used in a misleading context.  

Acknowledgement to Public Health Wales NHS Trust to be stated.