LAST year saw an "ongoing increase" in the number of people using new walking and cycling routes in West Yorkshire - according to a new report.

At a meeting of West Yorkshire Combined Authority's Transport Committee on Friday, members will be given an update on how Covid 19 impacted travel in 2020.

One trend seen last year was a big increase in walking and cycling, particularly on weekends.

The report reveals that in November, the number of weekend cycle journeys on the Canal Road cycleway, between Bradford and Shipley, was up by over 90 per cent compared to November 2019.

In recent years new segregated cycle routes have been built alongside major roads in Bradford and Leeds as part of the CityConnect programme.

And last year the Government began awarding Council "Emergency Active  Travel" funding to boost walking and cycling during the pandemic - partly to help provide an alternative to public transport.

Local cycling campaign reviews Bradford's new Active Travel measures

Across West Yorkshire 15.5km of segregated cycle lanes have been created using this fund. 

The Combined Authority is currently planning for the next wave of active travel measures.

This will include new cycle lanes, improved pedestrian facilities and walking routes, and the closure of some roads to traffic.

The report says: "Although detailed monitoring and evaluation of active travel schemes in a monetised form is an emerging science, initial figures from across the UK are helpful in providing evidence that such investment provides value for money.

"The Department for Transport’s own Active Mode Appraisal Toolkit includes several worked examples to demonstrate how these various benefits, including reduced congestion, reduced emissions, public health  benefits and road traffic collision reduction, accrue.

"For example a scheme on Clifton Road in Bristol resulted in £1.80 of benefit for every £1 spent.

"These figures are heavily dependent upon the number of cyclists which use the scheme, and the increase in ridership demonstrated over the last year shows that there is appetite for a significant increase in the number of cyclists if schemes which enable safe, utility cycling for all users are implemented.

"As the Combined Authority continues to develop its local cycling and walking plans, data and monitoring information will be used to help target  interventions and support the case for investment."

The committee meets online at 11am on Friday.