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Suffolk

Suffolk is a largely rural county in the east of England on the North Sea. It shares an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex that stretches along the coast. There is a mixture of smaller settlements and market towns throughout the centre with the larger towns towards the periphery.

Across the county the modal split for travel to work is 65 percent by private car (including passengers); 11 percent by foot; 6 percent by bicycle; and 5 percent by bus. Other modes, including home working, make up the remaining 13 percent. Within the three larger towns of Ipswich (population: 122,300) Lowestoft (71,914), and Bury St. Edmunds (35,015) there is a slightly different breakdown, with the following modal splits for travel to work:
• Ipswich - 67 percent by car (including passengers); 11 percent by foot; 5 percent by bicycle; and 11 percent by bus;
• Lowestoft - 55 percent by car (including passengers); 12 percent by foot; 10 percent by bicycle; and 6 percent by bus
• Bury St. Edmunds - 74 percent by car (including passengers); 12 percent by foot; 4 percent by bicycle; and 3 percent by bus

The relatively compact and flat nature of these three towns, combined with a high level of short internal trips, makes them ideal for encouraging greater levels of sustainable forms of travel.

Suffolk County's emerging transport strategy intends to promote sustainable forms of travel as real alternatives to the car, and it is hoped that greater levels of cycling, walking, and public transport use will result. The new strategy will focus on working towards county-wide multi-agency agreed challenges that will create and support a prosperous and vibrant economy improve educational attainment and skill levels see it become the "greenest county" within the U.K. and help to create safe, healthy, and inclusive communities.

Whilst progress may have been slow, to support the ambition of reducing reliance on the car, the county has worked with partners in implementing the largest single-phased TravelSmart project in the UK, by targeting 25,000 households in Lowestoft. Meanwhile, a second TravelSmart project has begun in Ipswich targeting 17,000 households. TravelSmart projects offer local residents personalized travel information and support to enable them to choose to walk, cycle and use public transport more often.

The County Council also has an ambitious GBP 25 million sustainable transport scheme planned for Ipswich that intends a package of measures that will provide a greater, more integrated sustainable transport network. Prior to this, the council began supporting SMEs in developing travel plans and mobile ticketing, and it has also funded an urban walking journey planner within its three largest towns and surrounding areas. This tool aids users by providing pedestrian-specific directions using options that other non-walking specific journey planners provide.

Suffolk has worked with a variety of partners including Great Yarmouth and Waveney Primary Care Trust, Suffolk Primary Care Trust, local district and borough councils, Sustrans, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, Ipswich Central Business Improvement District, Sts Albans City and District Council, Exemplas, bus operators, and a variety of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Summary finalized: June 2010

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