Step by step

Step by step

From getting started to developing a vision to sifting through options and finally keeping things under review

The steps set out below apply broadly to the different types of plan. Obviously if you are producing a Workplace Travel Plan, for example, you will need to focus on engaging key members of staff rather than key people in the local community. Plan making needs to be ‘iterative’, which means you may need to change to fine-tune as you go along.

Getting started

The first steps are to: get key people in the community on board; establish a team; produce an initial programme with timescales and work out how you will communicate with each other as well as externally.

Communication is really important to ensure the community feels engaged rather than excluded and so that there is wide ownership of the final plan. Consider the following:

  • Advertise an initial event locally through posters, invitations to key people (such as local councillors) and organisations, word of mouth etc.;
  • Post agenda and minutes on a website or through Google docs (ensuring that while anyone can read not everyone can edit);
  • Keep local bodies like parish councils updated for their meetings, as well as local news sheets, councillors and other active local groups like civic societies, Women’s Institute;
  • Print out and keep copies of key documents in local library, notice board, pub resource centre etc for those who do not find it easy to use the internet;
  • Produce press releases at key stages that include a postal and email address for comments.

Develop a vision and objectives

A vision should be a bit more specific than a ‘the sun shines everyday and everybody is smiling’ approach that no one could disagree with. Be clear what you want to change or preserve from change and be ambitious yet realistic. Particularly if you are running a campaign, you may want to develop a brand, a logo and key messages, such as ‘try a different way every week’ to encourage people to change one trip per week.

Gather information (see the Partners & Information section), including relevant policies in the local plan and local transport plan for your area. Identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Consider the area you want to cover - perhaps a core area plus a wider area of influence - and possible partners. Also consider the timescales: it can be helpful to cover the short-term (next one to two years) in detail, include some content for the medium term (up to five years) and at least indicate where things may or should be going in the long term (up to twenty or thirty years).

You can then develop objectives to help you meet your vision. These should be:

  • outcome-based – focused on what we are trying to achieve or prevent, rather than on how these should be done;
  • hard-edged – to provide a clear test as far as possible, so that options can be assessed objectively, if possible, by quantifiable indicators;
  • able to generate a range of options rather than favouring a specific type of solution;
  • broad enough to be relevant to a wide range of circumstances and to stand the test of time; and
  • of a manageable number - having to come up with solutions that addressed over 50 objectives would be unwieldy.


Examples could be: increase the proportion of people travelling actively (i.e. walking and cycling) every week to improve health; increase the reliability of journey times; reduce traffic noise; increase access to local food, work and leisure opportunities; and increase people’s perception of the safety of active travel. You might want to have a higher level of goals, such as ‘reduce carbon emissions’, ‘increase equality of opportunity’ and ‘support economic prosperity’, if you are producing a big plan.

Once you have drafted a vision and objectives, run them past the community. It’s helpful to produce a summary of feedback and reasons why changes have or haven’t been made that you can send round to all those who fed in, in order to show how you have listened. You might want to draw up targets at this stage to generate ambition and enable performance to be monitored.

Staveley (see case study in poster) aimed to get 500 people to reduce their car mileage by 5%. With only 1,250 residents the figure of 500 people probably exceeded the number of drivers that there were. Encouragingly 82% of those who responded to surveys said they were thinking about changing their travel behaviour. Of course people who don’t care are the ones who are most likely not to answer the surveys.

Develop and sift proposals

You then need to come up with a range of different proposals that you can prioritise. There are lots of ideas throughout the toolkit to inspire you but the quick packages section should provide a useful start. Some of these could apply across your area, such as producing a map or promoting local shops. In relation to others, such as lower speed limits or new paths for walking and cycling, there may be a need for these in different places.

Sift through your options

This is the ‘Dragon’s Den’ moment. You will need to look at the proposals and score them to see:

  • how well they fit with objectives you’ve identified and indeed policies in local plans
  • how much impact on your objectives they are likely to have compared to their cost (see the changing travel behaviour section);
  • how deliverable they (e.g. are there big risks or uncertainties)
  • how they affect different parts of your area and people with different characteristics, such as age or disabilities, compared to the level of need there is
  • and how they may work over the short, medium and long term.


You can then list the measures you have chosen into a delivery plan, which could cover a period between one and three years, that sets out timescales, priorities and costs. Other measures that have been identified as worthwhile can be held in reserve in case there is more funding in future.

It’s worth highlighting that if you are producing a plan on behalf of a public body, such as a parish council, you must take account of the public sector equality duty to remove or minimise disadvantages (even if they have not been caused deliberately) to people with protected characteristics, such as age, sex or disability. Though it is not a requirement for other bodies, it is a good idea to pay regard to it, particularly if you are applying for funding from public bodies. For transport this could mean ensuring that your proposals include specific measures to help those such as the elderly and disabled who have more problems getting about.
Equality & Human Rights Commission - Introduction to the equality duty

It’s always difficult to know how many different measures to include, though is worth having about a third more than your budget as not everything will go ahead so fallback options are useful. Having too many risks a scattergun approach of lots of different little things that take a lot of time and effort but do not really make a real difference. On the other hand putting all your eggs - and funding - in one basket, such as a new bridge to provide a safe route over a river, road or railway could mean that lots of smaller quick wins remain unfunded. A counter argument is that something big could ‘stir the imagination’ and raise the profile of sustainable modes of travel or indeed a locality.

It’s certainly good to identify quick wins to implement early on that should not be controversial and that will build momentum. In the end it will be down to your judgement about your local area and the long term. Perhaps the best advice is to have a big project as a long term aspiration but to carefully combine other measures that complement each other, using the guidance in the changing behaviour section. When you consult on the measures it’s worth setting out some sort of rationale to help explain all this.

Monitor and review

It’s really important to build in reviews of your plan and proposals regularly, in order to keep momentum up. If you are able to show that it is working, you are more likely to be successful in applying for funding in future. So it is worth working out the ‘baseline’ is before your actions have any effect, as this will help you show how much you have achieved. The Partners and Information section has more details.

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