UPDATED 13 Sept: cycle BOOM researchers win top national research award

Tuesday, 05 September 2017

RTPI-Research-Award-Winner-800x450

A team of researchers has been named the winner of the Academic Award category at the 2017 Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) Awards for Research Excellence.

The team have been recognised for the cycle BOOM research project – a three year study, led by Oxford Brookes University, which set out to investigate how older people in the UK experience cycling and how this affects independence, health and wellbeing. 

The Awards for Research Excellence are run by the RTPI to recognise and promote high quality, impactful spatial planning research from RTPI accredited planning schools, and planning consultancies around the world. 

Dr Tim Jones, Reader at the School of the Built Environment at Oxford Brookes University led the cycle BOOM study. He said: “We are delighted that the cycle BOOM study has received this recognition from the RTPI.

Our study reinforced the need for cities to plough ahead and create a dedicated infrastructure for cycling along major roads, implement slower speed zones and support the growing market of electric bikes.

Dr Tim Jones, School of the Built Environment, Oxford Brookes University

“Our research demonstrated that older people who currently cycle, or who have tried cycling, recognise the positive benefits it can make to their health and wellbeing, however they find infrastructure in the UK generally unsupportive of their needs. 

“The way our towns and cities are designed, as well as cycle technology, needs to consider the diverging capabilities of different users, if cycling is to be embedded in the lives of an increasingly older population.

“Our study reinforced the need for cities to plough ahead and create a dedicated infrastructure for cycling along major roads, implement slower speed zones and support the growing market of electric bikes. Interventions targeted at promoting older cycling will not only support healthy ageing, but also support younger cycling and help address the pressing issue of low levels of fitness and growing levels of obesity amongst the nation’s younger population.” 

Dr Michael Harris, RTPI’s Head of Research, said the cycle BOOM study was “highly relevant to planning with an interesting mixed methods approach.

"The research team’s work provides valuable insights into street design and support for older people to help more of them stay active for longer.”

Cycle-boom-800x450The cycle BOOM research team published a series of recommendations based on the research findings last year. The findings advise policy makers, and more specifically, planners, engineers and designers, health promoters and the cycle industry on the part they could play in supporting older cycling.

The winners of the RTPI Awards for Research Excellence were announced on 12 September during the 2017 UK-Ireland Planning Research Conference at Queen’s University Belfast.

‘cycle BOOM’ was funded by the Lifelong Health and Wellbeing cross-council programme, Grant No. EP/K037242/1.