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West Berkshire 65+ Active Travel Survey

Consultation status Results published
Start date: 2023-05-05
End date: 2023-06-16
Results 2023-10-16

Activity closed. Results published.

West Berkshire 65+ Active Travel Survey logo


To understand more about the walking behaviour of older residents, and their experience of using buses within West Berkshire, we've commissioned Stuart Michael Associates (SMA) to carry out a study of the experiences of people aged 65 and over.

As an organisation, West Berkshire Council strives to improve health and wellbeing through promoting independent living and accessibility for all. Through this study we hope to further understand the complexity of the issues affecting the ability to travel in West Berkshire, so that we can shape the services we provide and make a difference to those who use them. The information we gather from this study will therefore be used to help inform future decisions on travel-related policy for this age group, and where improvements to important facilities and services are made.

Why we want your views

If you're aged 65 and older, we'd like to know about any challenges that you may face when you travel locally, and the things that you find most helpful when walking or using buses.

We'd also like to hear your suggestions about things that might encourage or support you to walk more, and changes that might make bus services more useful, convenient and attractive.

How to take part

If you'd like to take part, please complete our survey by midnight on Friday, 16 June 2023, which should take about 5 to 10 minutes. We can enter you into a prize draw for a £150 supermarket voucher, if provide your email at the end of the survey.

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Bruce Bamber (Stuart Michael Associates) at

You can find more information on our work to support Public Health and Wellbeing on our website.

What happens next

All feedback will be collated and analysed, and we'll publish a summary of the things you've told us on this page. This information will then be used by services within West Berkshire Council to inform how we can best support and encourage active travel and bus use.

What you told us

We received 692 responses to this survey – some of which were completed via the online survey, and some via QR code on flyers that were distributed in the District. All respondents were aged 65+.

Overall, the main reason that people walked about the district was for physical health reasons, although a minority also stated that they chose to walk more for the smaller impact on the environment. It was also found that far more journeys are made by walking per week in urban areas than in rural areas.

Significant concerns about walking in West Berkshire included:
  • Vehicles parking on footways
  • Scooters and bicycles on footways
  • Footways obstructed by vegetation
  • A lack of seating or benches to allow rest stops while undertaking journeys

35% of the sample were also concerned about personal safety when walking. Concerns included trip hazards and anti-social behaviour.

In order to encourage more walking, a range of measures were supported including:
  • Keeping the footways in better condition
  • Ensure provision of services within walkable distance to homes where possible
  • Wider footways
  • Having someone to walk with

We were also interested in how we could encourage more people to use the bus service. 39% of respondents regularly use buses in West Berkshire, with more people in urban areas than rural areas using them. 71% of respondents said they could use the bus more than they currently do. Most frequently cited measures to support increased bus use were:
  • Buses being more frequent
  • Buses turning up on time
  • Buses going where people want to go
  • Longer operating hours 

What we did

This survey was conducted as part of a larger study into behaviours around active travel, amongst our residents aged 65+ in West Berkshire. This was done to help the Council understand how it can encourage more walking and bus use as not only is this good for physical and mental health, but it’s an important way of maintaining independence as we get older.

The report was finalised with a set of recommendations. The Public Health team reviewed this and shared with other teams such as Transport and Highways. Recommendations have also been presented to the Council’s Active Travel Coordination group, and are being considered for action in the 2024/25 financial year. 

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