Step Ahead of the Rest (StAR)

The Department for Transport (DfT) awarded the council £1.4 million from the UK Government Access Fund for the delivery of our Step Ahead of the Rest (StAR) bid between 2017/18 and 2019/2020. Match funding was provided by the council and other bodies. In 2020 this programme was extended for 1 year with an additional £484,000 funding from the Access Fund with a further £58,700 secured.

StAR supports our strategic aim for Kent communities to feel the benefits of economic growth by being in work, healthy and enjoying a good quality of life. The projects aim to provide improved, safer access to employment, education and training in Kent. With a particular focus on increasing walking and cycling trips, in line with the Department for Transport's Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, and our Active Travel Strategy.

The StAR programmes

Cycle training

The KCC Safer Mobility Team to offer cycle training for adults seeking access to education, employment and training. The training will be delivered by partnering with the support agencies already working with individuals. Bespoke training interventions will be offered to help provide the knowledge, skills and confidence to consider cycling for their commute.

Small steps

The small steps programme is a road safety course aimed at Key Stage 1 pupils. The course covers essential skills required to cross the road safely. They are offered to children who attend schools in areas with high child casualty figures and areas of deprivation.

Youth Travel Ambassadors

The Youth Travel Ambassadors project targets the 11 to 19 age group to promote active travel for the journey to school or college, alongside encouraging safer road user behaviour.  This involves individual school projects that promote active travel, road safety and independent travel in Kent.

Brief interventions

The brief interventions project holds events to encourage a modal shift towards the use of sustainable transport. This involves a brief conversation, led by a trained practitioner with members of the public, with a view to understanding and changing their travel behaviour. Our Transport Innovations team have adapted the successful Kent Public Health programme to support active and sustainable travel for people travelling to work and education.  Events are primarily targeted at locations where capital projects have been delivered for example the Local Growth Fund walking and cycling and schemes and cycle hubs at railway stations.

Wheels 2 work

This project provided an affordable moped loan scheme to support travel to work, training or education. It has not been renewed by the most recent funding provision.

Workplace challenge

The workplace challenge engages Kent workplaces in sport and physical activity through competitions to show an increase in active travel. Employees are incentivised to change to swap their car journeys for an active and more sustainable travel alternatives.  By recording their journeys on the workplace challenge website, teams and individuals can win prizes.

Community Rail Partnership

The StAR fund contributes to the Community Rail Partnership that helps promote the use of local railway lines through workplace, school and community events. Engagement is targeted at new users to help promote and choose rail and active travel journeys as an option to access education and employment.

Community Route Champions

A project to build a new network of volunteer Sustrans Rangers reporting issues on cycle and walking routes in Kent and carrying out minor repairs. By providing a better maintained cycle network we can offer individuals the confidence to choose cycling for their commute to work or place of study.

Cycle loans

A project to supply trial use loan bikes to Kent residents to access employment or study. The aim of this is to encourage the take up of active travel commuting modes.

Park and pedal

The Park and Pedal scheme provides secure bike parking places and encourage the switch to last mile commuting to sustainable travel. Revenue measures will be used to promote and encourage the use of new infrastructure which supports the final stage of a commute to an urban centre by foot or bike.

Bicycle Recycle

The Bicycle Recycle scheme is similar to ‘Recycle a cycle’ but has a focus on the Ashford area. The local community is encouraged to donate bikes, and with our current provider, the bikes are passed to Goldwyn Special School where students work alongside experienced staff to refurbish bikes as part of their educational program.

Cycling and walking maps

This project provided Explore Kent to create district walking and cycling maps to encourage these modes of travel for both commuting and leisure. Targeted areas have new walking and cycling infrastructure which can be used for commuting.

Cycling and walking videos

The aim of the project was to encourage people to switch their commute to a more sustainable option by highlighting new possible commuter routes through the production of short videos. The videos are accessible on the Kent Connected website and distributed for use by businesses, schools, colleges and training agencies seeking to encourage employees or students to take up active travel modes.

Recycle a cycle

The recycle a cycle scheme holds community sale events to collect old, unwanted cycles. These are then refurbished and sold back into the community at a low cost. This also involves training students and event attendees in simple cycle maintenance.

Sustainable route assessments and wayfinding strategies

This project provided an analysis of the current walking and cycling networks, identifying gaps and improvements required should funding become available.