The research into the barriers to cycling and how to overcome them has been recognised by a £10,000 award for Outstanding Impact in Public Policy in the 2016 Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Celebrating Impact Prize.
Dr Aldred’s research has contributed to Transport for London’s decision to increase investment in cycling from a few million pounds a year to a £1 billion 10-year programme as well as the adoption of new, inclusive approaches to increasing cycling participation in London and beyond.
“Without a fundamental shift in policy thinking, levels of cycling are likely to remain low,” Dr Aldred says. “What we need is to move away from seeing cycling as an individual activity, to be promoted by training and education, to seeing cycling as part of the transport system that needs to be enabled by infrastructural, political and cultural supports,” she explains.
Getting people to cycle, she insists, is not just about having the right infrastructure but also about changing cycling cultures and removing cycling stigma.
“To get everyone cycling it’s essential to have infrastructure that keeps cyclists and motor traffic apart, and along with this, to change road cultures and assumptions about cyclists,” she points out.