Covid-19 and Brent's Active Travel Programme

Changing travel habits during COVID-19 have given us a glimpse of a healthier future, where more people walk and cycle and our air is clearer.

Transport for London (TfL) has predicted a 10-fold increase in cycle traffic and a five-fold increase in pedestrian numbers as lockdown eases.

The road to recovery

As lockdown restrictions are eased, we want to support and encourage people to adopt greener, more active forms of transport whilst socially distancing.

We have developed a plan to introduce short, medium and longer-term improvements to walking and cycling infrastructure in the borough.

This is being funded by TfL as part of their Streetspace initiative and the Department for Transport. 

Draft measures include new;

  • Brent Healthy Neighbourhoods, which discourage traffic,
  • School streets,
  • Temporary cycle lanes
  • Bike parking,
  • Pavement widening in town centres,
  • Bus priority measures,
  • Parking reviews and controls

We've also launched an interactive website where we're encouraging residents to nominate locations for potential walking and cycling easier and safer improvements in their local area.

Many of these changes will initially be temporary on a trial basis, with the option to make them permanent at a later date. Changes will be made as and when funding becomes available.

Why do we need an Active Travel Programme?

Travelling by foot or by bike is one way for people to incorporate physical activity into their everyday routine. It is also better for the environment – polluting cars and other vehicles contribute to poor local air quality. We want to encourage residents and those visiting our borough into healthier habits.

We are introducing lots of these measures now to support safe social distancing and safe travel during the current pandemic; as well as to help achieve our ambitions for improving road safety, air quality and the health of our residents in the longer-term.

Will I see changes in my local area?

We are currently introducing measures across a range of locations around the borough, with more planned. You will receive a letter notifying you of any changes if you live on an affected street. You can also check our web pages for further details of specific schemes. Measures include;

  • The installation of temporary, lightly segregated cycle lanes along the A404 Harrow Road between Wembley Triangle and the North Circular.
  • A range of footway widening and pedestrian improvement measures in key town centre locations, including Wembley, Harlesden and Kilburn;
  • The creation of Brent Healthy Neighbourhoods
  • The implementation of school streets across the borough
  • The implementing of bus priority measures along busy corridors to improve bus journey times.

How have we chosen these locations?

To help decide where the money we have received from Transport for London and the Department for Transport should be focused, a simple prioritisation process has been developed. It takes into consideration a number of socio-economic and environmental factors and the aim is to ensure that schemes address local problems and priorities as far as possible.

Details of the main criteria used are summarised below:

 Air Quality

Poor air quality poses a significant risk to health and transport is a significant contributor to this. Worsening air pollution, in particular high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulates (PM2.5 and PM10), is of growing concern in parts of the borough.

The map below shows the Air Quality Management Areas currently in place in Brent.

 The map below shows the Air Quality Management Areas currently in place in Brent.

Public Health

Obesity is a particular concern for public health in the borough - almost 55% of Brent’s adult population are overweight, 34% of whom are classified as obese with a chronic lack of physical activity. By 2050, levels of obesity are projected to reach 50% of the adult population in Brent. Similarly, the most recent figures show that over 28% of Brent children in reception are overweight, 14% of whom are classified as obese.

Map of Child obesity locations in Brent

Access to Green Space

Inequality of access to outside space and parks is a particular issue in parts of Brent – especially the busier urban areas in the south of the borough. This has wider implications for the health and wellbeing of some of our more vulnerable residents.

Map of access to green spaces

Road Casualties

Improving safety on the borough road network is a key priority for the Council. Whilst we have had considerable success in reducing road casualties in recent years, recent figures show there were some 973 reported collisions resulting in 1,158 casualties. Of these, 132 resulted in death or serious injuries.

To try and address this the Council has adopted the ‘Vision Zero’ approach to road safety with a view to seeking to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries on the borough’s roads. Key priorities include improving safety outside schools; reduce the number of pedestrian/cyclist casualties; and reducing incidences of speeding traffic.

Other Factors/Considerations

Other priority areas targeted for investment include the borough’s main Growth Areas and those areas in the borough which experience high levels of footfall/pedestrian movements – including stations/transport hubs; town centres/high streets; schools/colleges; places of worship; major employment areas (including Brent’s hospitals); and key leisure/recreation destinations.

Further Information

More detailed information can be found Brent's draft Transport recovery plan

We have also launched an interactive tool to make it easier for residents to suggest locations for making active travel easier and safer in Brent.

You can read more about each type of scheme on the following links: