Over 13,000 journeys on public transport, foot and bike were logged by commuters across Northern Ireland, as part of the month-long Active Travel Challenge, aimed at encouraging healthier and more environmentally friendly commutes.
1,023 participants swapped their daily car commute for active travel during September, with staff from public and private sector organisations going head-to-head in the joint initiative organised by Translink, the Department for Infrastructure, Public Health Agency, Sustrans, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, and Belfast City Council.
In an awards ceremony at Belfast City Hall, Belfast Lord Mayor Cllr Kate Nicholl commended the winners and participants, with Allstate NI named champions once again in the largest workplace category. Conor Duffy from Belfast Health and Social Care Trust logged the most overall journeys.
The workplaces that topped the Active Travel leader board were:
- Small Workplace winner (3-19 employees) Developing Health Communities NI
- Workplace winner (20-89 employees) Jacobs Engineering
- Workplace winner (90-249 employees) Royal Mail
- Workplace winner (250-499 employees) CCEA
- Largest Workplace winner (1000+ employees) Allstate NI
Translink Group Chief Executive, Chris Conway said:
“The Active Travel Challenge is a fantastic platform to showcase the economic, social, health and environmental benefits of public transport, and we were thrilled to see so many participants choosing bus and train to make their journeys.
“By changing our travel habits for the better and choosing to walk, cycle, take the bus or train or a combination, collectively we can help accelerate positive action for the climate, improve local air quality and create a much better quality of life for all. Congratulations to all of our winners and everyone who took part.”
Sustrans Northern Ireland Director, Caroline Bloomfield, congratulated the winners and all those who took part in the Challenge:
“It has been a difficult year with Covid’s impact. However, it is fantastic to see that even with 67% of the participants in the Challenge this year working from home, people are enjoying getting active by walking, cycling and wheeling for journeys and leisure with over 13,000 journeys logged during the Challenge. Well done to all the participants this year. By triggering small changes our aim is to motivate more people to develop healthy and sustainable travel habits.”
Seamus Mullen, Strategic Lead for Obesity Prevention at the Public Health Agency commented:
“Congratulations to all who took part in the Active Travel Challenge. It offers great examples of how easy it can be to fit walking, cycling and public transport into the working day and enjoy the health benefits of doing so. The PHA encourages everyone to actively travel as much as possible and this can help contribute to meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s recommended minimum amount of physical activity of 150 minutes each week.”
Bryan Nelson, Co-Director Public Health, Belfast Health & Social Care Trust added:
“Belfast Health & Social Care Trust is delighted to continue our involvement with the Active Travel Challenge and have our staff member Conor Duffy logging the highest number of active journeys. The Active Travel Challenge is a fabulous ‘virtual vehicle’ to promote our mission of improving health and well-being across Belfast whilst encouraging an environmentally conscious approach to our work-related journeys.”