A sustainable travel project in Worcester has seen a reduction in car trips and an increase in cycling and walking in the city.

Across three towns - Darlington, Peterborough and Worcester - there has been a 7% to 9% reductions in car trips; 26% to 30% increase in cycling trips and 10% to 13% increase in walking trips.

The results are from an evaluation of the Government’s sustainable travel towns project, which aims to showcase towns that put walking, cycling and public transport firmly in the spotlight.

Meanwhile the Government announced it was putting walking and cycling at the heart of local transport and public health strategies over the next decade.

The plans were supported by a £12.5 million investment package which will secure cycle training for half a million additional schoolchildren by 2012.

The Government wants to see access to cycle training for every child - creating a generation of new, safe cyclists according to Transport Minister Sadiq Khan.

The other aims of the strategy include:

:: Every major public sector employer to be signed up to the cycle to work initiative;

:: Cycle parking at or within easy reach of every public building;

:: Sufficient secure bike parking at every rail station;

:: Local authorities introducing 20mph zones and limits into more residential streets to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

Mr Khan said: “Active travel means a transport system where walking and cycling become the norm.

“I want to see people, instead of automatically reaching for their car keys, feeling confident enough to jump on their bike or pull on a pair of trainers. I am confident that this strategy will achieve this, making active travel a genuine and viable option for everybody.”

Public Health Minister Gillian Merron said: “Walking and cycling are two of the easiest ways for people to build regular physical activity into their daily lives - whether it’s riding to work, walking to school or simply having fun.

“This strategy demonstrates that even making small changes can bring about significant health benefits, and helps reinforce the message of the Government’s Change4Life movement, which is helping people to eat well, move more and live longer.”

The 12.5 million funding is part of the Government’s £140 million cycling budget over three years.