DEVON County Council last week received £1.1 million from the Government for sustainable transport schemes.
Devon has successfully bid for the Local Sustainable Transport Funding as a one year extension for its two projects which aim to help economic growth and cut congestion across the county.
The Department for Transport is providing £910,00 for 2015/16 to go towards the County Council’s “Unlocking Growth Through Sustainable Travel” scheme.
This will aim to improve integration between sustainable modes of transport, improve bus services, and promote real time information system on the county’s bus network, as well as providing people with information on journey options available to them such as walking and cycling routes and carsharedevon.com.
The scheme will benefit further from a local contribution of £944,028, making a total funding of £1.85 million.
Devon will also receive a share of £999,119 which will enable the continuation of the “Access to Education” programme, of which Devon is the lead partner authority working with Sustrans and six other local authorities.
This project aims to tackle congestion on journeys to school and other educational institutions by enabling people to walk, cycle and use public transport more often. The programme will receive an additional £434,970 from local contributions, making a total funding of £1,43 million.
Both schemes are working to address congestion, improve air quality and promote healthy living by encouraging physical activity in key growth areas of Exeter, Exmouth, Newton Abbot and Kingsteignton. Barnstaple will now also be included for the first time.
Since the start of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund programme, in the target areas of Devon traffic volumes have reduced by an average of 3.29%, cyclists have increased by an average of 13.5%, rail patronage has increase by 19.5% and bus patronage has increased by 1%.
The County Council has welcomed today’s announcement.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: “This funding will enable us to build on our excellent track record of work through our sustainable transport schemes.
"Our projects are extending the travel options available to people to encourage them to walk, cycle, carshare or use public transport more often.
"By encouraging these alternatives we are able to manage our highway network more effectively.
"Our projects are also providing better travel information to ensure people can make informed choices on how they travel.”
Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth, said: “These ambitious schemes are helping to deliver economic growth and improving the quality of life for people in our county.
"Patronage on Devon's rail network has seen growth above the national average, with a 40% increase between Exeter and Exmouth and 72% between Barnstaple and Exeter, and we will be building on this growth through the Devon metro initiative which is expected to boost the local economy by providing access to significant areas of housing and employment.
"Funding announced today will also promote tourism to the county, as we market our flagship cycling trails including the Tarka Trail, Exe Estuary Trail and Granite and Gears routes across Dartmoor.”
The Department for Transport is providing £64 million to 44 schemes nationally in the latest round of its Local Sustainable Transport Fund.