Recommendations for research
The Programme Development Group (PDG) recommends that the following research questions should be addressed. It notes that 'effectiveness' in this context relates not only to the size of the effect, but also to cost effectiveness and duration of effect. It also takes into account any harmful/negative side effects.
All the research should aim to identify differences in effectiveness among groups, based on characteristics such as socioeconomic status, age, gender and ethnicity.
1. How could existing guidance on evaluating complex, population-wide interventions be most usefully adapted and applied to approaches that aim to increase rates of walking and cycling? Issues to consider include: population-level health outcomes such as pollution emissions and exposure, the impact of an intervention on risk and danger and other, wider outcomes of interest such as the impact on the local economy. Approaches should be developed to take account of the backgrounds and needs of the different professional groups involved in helping to influence walking and cycling for transport or recreation. This includes professionals working in public health, transport, environment, economic development and regeneration.
2. What key factors influence the effectiveness of population-level or whole-area approaches to encouraging walking or cycling? How do these factors interact? (Specifically, how do infrastructure changes, promotion of these changes, promotion of walking and cycling generally, the provision of individual support and approaches in specific settings interact?) How does effectiveness vary between different geographical areas?
3. How do individual and local factors influence the effectiveness of specific approaches to encouraging walking or cycling? (This includes people's level and perception of risk, the degree of connectivity for cycling trips, and the local 'visibility' of cycling or walking as a mode of transport.) How do these factors interact with personal factors (such as willingness to try walking or cycling) and how do these personal factors influence effectiveness? In particular, do local factors influence the effectiveness of cycle training and personalised travel planning?
4. What key factors ensure people continue to walk or cycle in the long term (over a year)? How do individual interventions (such as follow-up or goal-setting) interact with environmental factors (such as distance, perception of danger or provision of facilities) in encouraging people to continue to walk or cycle?
5. What key factors influence differences in walking and cycling behaviour among different groups – and what are the implications for interventions aiming to achieve population-level change and reduce inequalities? This should take into account transport-related variables such as level of car ownership.
See also the detail on the gaps in the evidence identified during development of this guidance.