1930s cycle tracks

Focus of work

500 miles of Dutch-inspired cycle tracks and footways were funded by the UK’s MoT between 1934 and 1944. This project uses the history of 101 of these tracks to empower local authorities to bid for UKGOV funds to renovate the best of them.


Carlton Reid is a journalist and historian. Since 2017 he has been researching the history of road-adjacent cycle tracks and footways majority-funded by the Ministry of Transport in the 1930s and 1940s. He has identified 101 period UK schemes; these were detailed in stage one of his two-part research project and included in a 280-page report “One Hundred & One Cycle Tracks Funded by the MoT in the 1930s,” published in Spring 2022. Stage one was funded by the DfT. Leicester City Council used this research to win a £2 million DfT grant in 2022 to renovate a period cycle track on a strategic road. Other local authorities could do likewise; helping them to do so is one of the outcomes of stage two of the project. Stage one project partner John Dales of Urban Movement also produced a report for the DfT in 2022. This evaluated the upgrading potential of 12 period cycle tracks (Leicester’s track was one of them) and included engineering drawings. Stage two will produce an explanatory work to accompany “One Hundred & One Cycle Tracks Funded by the MoT in the 1930s” and end with the creation and promotion of a website publishing all findings. This website — to include the engineering drawings — will be promoted to local authorities to help them win DfT cycle track renovation bids.

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