Beat the Street – the innovative walking and cycling initiative that transformed Milton Keynes into a giant game earlier this year – has helped get thousands of residents walking and cycling according to a newly released report.
For seven weeks during February and March, Milton Keynes was transformed into a giant game with hundreds of beeping and flashing sensors called Beat Boxes were placed on lampposts across the city. Almost 13,000 residents raced across Milton Keynes to swipe as many Beat Boxes as possible in order to earn points and win prizes.
The walking and cycling challenge saw participants travel 85,000 miles in just seven weeks; however, a newly released report from Intelligent Health – who delivered Beat the Street on behalf of Milton Keynes Council – shows how the game helped increase walking, cycle and tackle inactivity.
The aim of the game was to encourage people to use the Milton Keynes Redway system of walking and cycling lanes and to increase active travel and exploration throughout the town. In a follow-up survey conducted immediately following the game, Beat the Street was shown to have had a positive impact for the town:
Seven out of ten of participants said that it had helped them in some way.
The proportion of people reporting frequently walking for travel increased from 54% before Beat the Street, to 67% immediately after.
The proportion of people who did no walking for travel decreased from 12% before the game to just 3% by the end.
The proportion of players who said they did not cycle for travel decreased from 59% before Beat the Street, to 49% immediately after.
The proportion of people reporting using the Redway system every day, or on most days, increased from 52% before Beat the Street, to 57% immediately after.
The proportion of adults meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s physical activity guidelines of 150 minutes of exercise per week increased from 49% before Beat the Street to 65% immediately afterwards.
The National Institute of Health Care Excellence Return on Investment tool indicates Beat the Street will provide £1.5m in savings locally over the next two years.
Following the end of the game, Beat the Street is continuing to keep people moving locally by working with local organisations and signposting residents to events and activities to help them stay active. A further survey will be conducted in six months’ time to see if the changes made during Beat the Street have been maintained.
Councillor Liz Gifford, cabinet member with responsibility for transport said, “ I am delighted that so many people took part in this great event which was a healthy, fun way to get about the city without a car. MK has so many fantastic places to visit on foot or by bike and our unique redway network allows people to explore these safely.”
“I hope that all those who took part will continue to get out and about as much or even more!”