Cycle and Stride
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) received funding from the London Marathon Charitable Trust (The Trust) to develop and deliver a 3-year Sustainable Active Travel Resource for a range of community hubs in Greater Manchester. The aim was to help address some of the barriers people encounter when participating in, and sustaining, physical activity. The project seeks to increase walking and cycling in local communities and empower local communities to facilitate positive change to active travel facilities. This is to be achieved through led cycles and walks, cycle training, community grants and projects led by Community Travel Champions. Such activities take place through local ‘hubs’, such as schools, religious centres and community centres, with up to 20 groups expected to be engaged in the project, per year, and a target of reaching 10,000 participants across the whole programme.
TfGM required the 3-year project to be monitored and evaluated, using an approach that would enable a diverse, typically ‘hard to reach’ audience to be engaged with, many of whom were likely to be challenging to access as a result of language or technological barriers.
SYSTRA devised an approach to monitor the 3-year project over time, and to provide a qualitative, holistic, person-centric evaluation of the programme.
To determine the most appropriate approach, we engaged with key stakeholders and leaders of the groups receiving the funding, through depth interviews, early in the project, to discuss our proposed approach and to test materials. The feedback from this shaped the approach to designing the monitoring and evaluation materials.
A two-part approach was established to collect data. Firstly, an online ‘group leader’ feedback form was devised for group leaders to provide feedback on how they have delivered sustainable travel interventions, and to identify any successes and challenges. Secondly, an online ‘group participants’ survey was developed, designed for those participating in the activities. This survey collects information on participants’ current travel behaviour and their experiences with the groups. They will be re-contacted in a future survey to establish whether there has been any modal shift in their travel.
SYSTRA also devised a continual reporting approach, allowing TfGM to access up-to-date information on monitoring metrics on a monthly basis, using an online dashboard.
We undertook a number of measures to maximise our reach of ‘hard to reach’ groups. All surveys were written in plain English, with consideration given to minimising burden in terms of completion time and complexity. The online survey forms were also made available in a printed version, and resources were made available for translated surveys and for completion via telephone.
Group leaders were provided with a guidance document to help them assist participants with completion of the feedback form; maximise response rates to the participant survey (including providing text content for social media/newsletters); handle GDPR issues, and get further support from the project team.
SYSTRA provided TfGM with mid-year and annual reports, summarising progress against key metrics and objectives.
An important aspect of the project is building links, relationships and lasting positive changes to physical activity in the local communities. As such, the evaluation aspect of the project will encompass ‘lessons learnt’ workshops, depth interviews with participants, and creation of case studies to demonstrate the wider impact the project has had on individuals and the target communities.