What is this guidance about?

This guidance aims to set out how people can be encouraged to increase the amount they walk or cycle for travel or recreation purposes. This will help meet public health and other goals (for instance, to reduce traffic congestion, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions). The recommendations cover:

  • policy and planning

  • local programmes

  • schools, workplaces and the NHS.

This guidance does not cover:

  • Environmental changes to encourage walking or cycling. (NICE's guidance on physical activity and the environment covers the physical infrastructure and planning needed to make non-motorised transport an easier option.)

  • National actions to support walking and cycling, such as fiscal measures and other policy interventions to alter the balance between active and motorised travel in terms of cost and convenience.

  • Measures to reduce the risk of unintentional injuries from walking and cycling. (See NICE's guidance on strategies to prevent unintentional injuries among under-15s.)

Who is this guidance for?

The guidance is for commissioners, managers and practitioners involved in physical activity promotion or who work in the environment, parks and leisure or transport planning sectors. They could be working in local authorities, the NHS and other organisations in the public, private, voluntary and community sectors. It is also aimed at:

  • employers

  • estate managers

  • highways authorities

  • those involved in land use planning and development control

  • private developers

  • public transport operators

  • those involved in carbon reduction or sustainability planning

  • others responsible for workplace travel, carbon reduction or sustainability plans.

In addition, it will be of interest to people who promote walking and cycling in an unpaid capacity, those who want to walk or cycle and other members of the public.

Why is this guidance being produced?

The Department of Health (DH) asked the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to produce this guidance.

The guidance should be implemented alongside other relevant guidance and regulations (for more details see sections 4 and 7 on implementation and related NICE guidance respectively).

How was this guidance developed?

The recommendations are based on the best available evidence. They were developed by the Programme Development Group (PDG).

Members of the PDG are listed in appendix A.

The guidance was developed in line with the NICE public health programme process. See appendix B for details.

Supporting documents used to prepare this document are listed in appendix E.

What evidence is the guidance based on?

The evidence that the PDG considered included: reviews of the evidence, economic modelling and the testimony of expert witnesses. Further detail on the evidence is given in the considerations section (section 3) and appendices B and C.

In some cases the evidence was insufficient and the PDG has made recommendations for future research.

More details on the evidence on which this guidance is based and NICE's processes for developing public health guidance are on the NICE website.

Status of this guidance

The guidance complements but does not replace, NICE guidance on physical activity and the environment. It supersedes recommendation 6 in NICE guidance on four commonly used methods to increase physical activity (for further details, see section 7).

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)