In 2014 The European Healthy Stadia Network published guidance for sports clubs and venues on how to develop effective active travel plans, encouraging greater levels of walking and cycling to sports venues amongst fans, staff and visitors. The Active Travel Guidance is supported by key organisations from sport, health and sustainable travel, including European Cyclists' Federation, Living Streets, Sustrans, World Heart Federation, and UEFA.
Sports clubs have a lot to gain from promoting walking and cycling routes and installing suitable assets such as cycle locking facilities, in particular, a healthier fan-base and more active workforce. In addition, by increasing levels of active travel to stadia, less pressure is put on car parking spaces around the vicinity of the stadium, with the added benefits of decreasing noise pollution and improving air quality around sports venues.
Commenting on the benefits of walking and cycling, Philip Insall (Health Director, Sustrans) said:
"The professional sports people performing in today's great stadia are among the fittest humans the world has ever seen. The rest of us may not approach that level of fitness, but we can live longer, and better, and have fewer chronic diseases if we include physical activity into our daily and weekly routines. So what better way than to walk or cycle to the places we go to spectate?"
The guidance document will help representatives from sports stadia involved in facilities management, operations, and communications to work with local partners to develop and promote and active travel plan as part of an overall travel strategy'. The document contains step-by-step support, including numerous examples of 'good practice' relating to active travel, a template active travel plan, and a host of links to expert resources for further information.
Key issues covered in the document include:
• Operational and health benefits for sports venues in developing an active travel plan
• Developing and communicating walking and cycling routes to sports stadia
• Installing cycle locking facilities and signposting their location
• Promotion of active travel through club communications channels
• Encouraging walking and cycling amongst fans, local communities and staff
Speaking about the active travel guidance, Peter Gillieron (Chairman of the UEFA Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee), commented:
"As part of its commitment to promoting healthy and active lifestyles, UEFA is pleased to see the publication of new guidance helping sports stadia operators to promote walking and cycling to fans, visitors and staff, and hopes that active travel plans will be adopted by many more football clubs as a result of this document."