Designing Developments for Active Travel: A Blueprint for Sustainable Communities

What is Active Travel?

Active travel – embracing walking, wheeling, cycling, and the use of public transport – plays a pivotal role in shaping healthier and more sustainable communities. Not just a mode of transportation, active travel is a lifestyle choice that benefits millions of residents living in housing developments across the country. The UK government’s recent £101 million funding investment to help boost cycling and walking initiatives underscores the national commitment to making sustainable travel options accessible to millions.

Creating sustainable communities requires a holistic approach that begins with thoughtful and considered urban planning and design. Here at Woods Hardwick, our expertise across architecture, planning, civil engineering, and surveying, allows us to work collaboratively to effectively integrate active travel infrastructure solutions into our client’s projects from the ground up.

Let’s explore how our expertise contributes to the development of healthier, greener, and more liveable neighbourhoods, and how we’re playing an active role in shaping the future of urban living.

Prioritising Active Travel in Planning and Design

  1. Incorporating Safe and Accessible Routes

Our architectural, civil engineering and planning teams work closely to ensure that developments feature safe and accessible routes for pedestrians, cyclists, and wheelchair users. Through meticulous site analysis and thoughtful design, we carefully plan pathways and cycle lanes that prioritise user safety and comfort. Design considerations include wide, well-lit pathways, ensuring smooth transitions between surfaces, as well as incorporating features such as kerb cuts, tactile paving, and adequate clear signage. By focusing on these elements, we promote inclusivity and accessibility, making it easier for all residents to navigate the development comfortably and safely, encouraging a connected community where everyone, regardless of mobility, can enjoy seamless access to all areas.

  1. Seamless Integration with Existing Public Transport

Our design, planning and civil engineering experts work in collaboration to locate public transport nodes within developments to ensure easy access to buses, trains, and tram routes. By integrating existing public transport infrastructure into our designs, we aim to encourage residents to choose more sustainable modes of travel for their daily commute and recreational activities, reducing their reliance on private vehicles. Promoting a more sustainable lifestyle, these strategic design approaches contribute to the overall reduction of the community’s carbon footprint, while enhancing the connectivity and convenience for all residents.

Enhancing Green Spaces and Cycling Infrastructure

  1. Designing Ample Green Spaces

Our architects prioritise the integration of green spaces into our clients’ developments, providing residents with opportunities for outdoor recreation and exercise. From pocket parks to expansive community gardens, we strategically incorporate green oases that not only promote health and well-being but also serve as communal gathering spots. These green spaces are designed to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the neighbourhood while fostering a sense of tranquillity and connection to nature. Through the design of outdoor environments, we aim to improve the quality of life for residents as well as contributing to the overall sustainability and beauty of the development.

  1. Implementing Dedicated Cycling Infrastructure

Working closely with our civil engineering team, we are also experienced in the design of dedicated cycling infrastructure across a mix of housing development sizes and scales. This comprehensive approach can include segregated bike lanes for safer commuting, secure bike storage facilities to protect bicycles, and convenient bike repair stations. Understanding the importance of active travel solutions, we aim to design infrastructure that makes it easy and safe for residents to choose cycling for both transportation and leisure, promoting a healthier and more sustainable community.

Integrating Sustainable Transport Solutions

  1. Implementing Vehicle Management Strategies

Our planning and engineering teams often work in collaboration to implement effective vehicle management strategies, helping to reduce traffic congestion, noise pollution and prioritise sustainable transport options. These strategies encompass a variety of measures, such as traffic calming installations to slow down vehicles, the inclusion of restricted parking zones to discourage excessive car use, and the promotion of car-free zones within developments to enhance walkability and environmental quality. By integrating these elements, we create safer, quieter, and more sustainable communities.

  1. Facilitating Car Sharing Initiatives

By partnering with car-sharing providers, we are also able to establish convenient car-sharing hubs for residents, fostering sustainable and community-oriented transportation solutions. These hubs provide residents with easy access to shared vehicles, which can be reserved and used as needed, aiming to significantly reduce the necessity for private car ownership, thereby easing parking pressures. Additionally, promoting the use of shared vehicles for local travel not only benefits the environment but also encourages a more collaborative and resource-efficient community.


At Woods Hardwick, our multidisciplinary approach ensures that active travel is integrated into every stage of the development process. From initial site planning to final delivery, we collaborate with our clients, local authorities, and community stakeholders to create sustainable communities that prioritise health, well-being, and resident connectivity.

Contact our team of experts to discuss active travel solutions for your next development project. Let’s collaborate to create healthier and greener communities.

Resource: Active Travel England