It is about getting us to change habits

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First published in Comment by

WE all know that York is chronically congested. The question is what to do about it.

In recent years millions of pounds have been invested in Park & Ride schemes which aim to reduce the number of cars coming into the city centre.

The council has also spent money on creating a network of off-road cycle routes and on-road ‘green lane’ cycle paths designed to encourage more cyclists. And there have been controversial schemes such as an unsuccessful attempt to bar traffic from Lendal Bridge.

Reducing congestion isn’t all about big, expensive infrastructure projects, however. Sometimes it can be as simple as persuading us to change our habits.

Over the last year or so, teams of advisers have been visiting homes in the north of York as part of the city council’s i-Travel initiative.

They have been giving simple, common sense advice to people willing to consider ways of getting about York other than the car.

It can be as simple as handing out a map of bus routes or cycle routes, suggesting people try car sharing, or finding ways to walk to work that avoid busy main roads.

There will be sceptics – those who sneer about a nanny council. But in a small city like York, many of us don’t need to use our cars as often as we do.

The advice given is practical, sensible and – provided you keep an open mind – useful. And it is not costing the council taxpayer anything – the programme is funded by the Department for Transport.

Council bosses set out to reach over 12,000 people in two years.

If even a fraction of those people change their travel habits, then i-Travel has the potential to make a real difference.

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