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Brent Biking Borough report

The report by MVA consultancy on Brent's potential as a "Biking Borough" was published in July 2010. We have uploaded a compressed (.zip) version of the full report to our server, and you can download it from here.

Below you will find a couple of excerpts from the report, to give you an idea of its scope and conclusions. The reader may also be interested in this bloggers' critique of the Brent Biking Borough report.

From the introductory summary:

What is a Biking Borough?
The Mayor has set a target of a 400% increase in cycling to achieve a 5% mode share by 2026. It is estimated that much of the potential for growth in cycling lies in Outer London and the creation of ‘Biking Boroughs’ will be a key mechanism for achieving this growth in cycling. The Biking Borough programme is part of a three-pronged approach to increasing cycling, alongside the Central London Cycle Hire Scheme and the creation of Cycle Superhighways.

With the ongoing evolution of the ‘Biking Borough’ concept, the London Borough of Brent has the opportunity to expand on existing cycling programmes in the borough, and to build on the legacy of promotional events such as the forthcoming proposed Skyride event. This will help Brent become an exemplar for Biking Boroughs at the forefront of a cycling revolution in Outer London.

The key output of this study is to create a platform for step-change in cycling in Brent by facilitating the creation of a trial Cycle Hub and the development of Brent as a ‘Biking Borough’.

Evidence Base
A full and thorough review of the baseline conditions that affect cycling in Brent has been undertaken, to inform judgements on future proposals in terms of their likely success and to put into context what is currently in place in the borough. This also allowed us to identify gaps in provision of cycling infrastructure that could be addressed by the schemes highlighted as part of this study. The key findings of this review were:
  • Cycle trips account for 1.2% of journeys across the Borough.
  • The highest level of cycle commute trips are in Queen’s Park, Kensal Green and Kilburn. The lowest is in Kenton, Fryent and Northwick Park.
  • Asian residents are least likely to cycle (90% never cycle) but represent nearly a third of the population
  •  52% of residents are ‘regular’ cyclists and are most likely to live in West Kilburn and Harrow on the Hill. The data also suggests there is further potential in Kingsbury and Harrow on the Hill. Census data from 2001 also identifies Willesden as an area with a higher level of cycling.
  • There were 8 cyclist fatalities between 2005 and 2009 in Brent, with a high number of collisions involving cyclists occurring along the A407.
  • Cycle theft incidents are rising; the number of thefts which took place in 2009 was almost double the number in 2001. There is also a strong geographical correlation between cycling level and level of theft, with hotspots in Kilburn and Willesden.
  • Residents in Alperton and Queen’s Park were most concerned about pollution, whereas residents in Wembley Central and Kenton were most concerned with congestion.
  • Residents in Queensbury felt parks & open spaces and Sports & leisure facilities needed improvement and this can be support by cycling infrastructure.
  • The 5-19 age group and the 30-39 age group are most likely to be high frequency cyclists, although schools data shows a lower than average level of cycling. Similarly, there is little geographic correlation between cycling level and age, as the age profiledoes not differ significantly  between wards.
  • There is a slight dip in cycling amongst those aged 20-29, suggesting potential to target this age group.
  • More affluent groups are more likely to cycle than those with lower incomes. Residents classed as high income are most likely to live in the east of the Borough, in line with current mode share and propensity to cycling levels.
  • There is a clear correlation between MOSAIC driver profiles and current (census 2001) Travel to Work.
  • Despite a slightly lower mode share than in London as a whole, level of access to a bicycle is the same (38%).
  • As the majority of school travel plan surveys have not been entered into iTRACE, monitoring levels of cycling is difficult to monitor.

Vision & Objectives of a Biking Borough
What distinguishes a Biking Borough from any other London Borough is a focus of resources and effort, political will and partnership working towards mainstreaming cycling across the borough. Primarily a Biking Borough should contribute to the Mayor’s target for a 400% increase in cycling trips to achieve a 5% cycling mode share by 2026. The study investigates the potential advantages and disadvantages of creating new cyclists in hard to reach groups, or encouraging existing cyclists to cycle more often. Our deliberations and discussions with officers have resulted in the following Vision statement:
“Brent Biking Borough will maximise the opportunities for existing and aspiring cyclists and work alongside health, education and safety & security partners to bring about a significant increase in cycling”

From the conclusions:

9.5 The Biking Borough Programme
9.5.1  The short term goals of this Biking Borough programme are to commence delivery of the Top 10 schemes as set out above and to focus investment in the Kensal Rise Cycle Hub, to raise the profile of cycling in the borough and create a catalyst for change. From the outset a clear governance structure needs to be established to create a sense of shared ownership for the programme and to provide mechanisms for delivery. One of the early priorities must also be to establish a monitoring and evaluation strategy utilising the data collected in the baseline and the framework set out in Chapter 8.
9.5.2  In the medium term the Biking Borough programme should look to continue to support and where possible expand the most successful schemes promoting cycling in the borough. Wider stakeholder engagement should be maintained to ensure buy-in to the Biking Borough strategy and to gain useful feedback on the approach. It is important that the initial success of the Biking Borough programme is built on to maintain a momentum for continued investment and the opportunity to gather in a wider pool of partners.
9.5.3  The Biking Borough Panel should have also identified ongoing priorities for investment and should use attitudinal research and feedback from the public to inform this process. During this period there should also be a refresh of the priorities of the Biking Borough and the Cycle Hubs. Gaps in policy that have been identified through the baseline policy analysis will also be systematically dealt with as these policies are reviewed. LB Brent should also look to integrate with neighbouring Biking Boroughs, sharing best practice and potentially pooling resources on cross-borough projects.
9.5.4  Looking longer term to 2026, it is hoped that the Biking Borough strategy in LB Brent will create a step-change in cycling in the borough, leading to a critical mass of cyclists and a mainstreaming of cycling throughout borough policy and activities. It is likely that there will be a number of Cycle Hubs across the borough focused around areas where the most potential to increase cycling lies. The Biking Borough strategy will also link in with key TfL initiatives such as the proposed Cycle Superhighways to provide the best opportunities and facilities for cyclists.
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