Impact of COnstructing Non-motorised Networks and Evaluating Changes in Travel
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4. Unique research opportunity

Why important?

Sustrans’ Connect2 initiative ( offers a unique opportunity to address both methodological and substantive applied research problems in this interdisciplinary field, contributing new knowledge with clear potential for translation into policy and practice. Connect2 consists of a programme of projects to improve the connectivity of local walking and cycling routes at 79 sites around the UK, representing an investment of £138 million of which £50 million will come from the successful Big Lottery bid announced in December 2007.

Although detailed planning of the Connect2 programme only began in January 2008, we understand that many of the 79 schemes are primed for implementation in the period between 2009-2012. The formation of the iConnect research consortium will enable the collection of robust longitudinal data at multiple sites with which to assess, for the first time, the effects of an infrastructural intervention on outcomes of interest across the three domains of travel, physical activity and carbon — the domains in which Connect2 is most likely to have an identifiable impact and in which there is the greatest scope to develop methods for measurement and evaluation, particularly by developing instruments and outputs that transgress disciplinary boundaries. The opportunity to do this systematically across a range of locations has been missed in other recent large-scale transport projects in the UK such as the London Congestion Charge, the Sustainable Travel Demonstration Towns and the Cycling Demonstration Towns.

site by Christian Brand, ECI