Fix Your Bike evaluation published
Research shows that £50 bike repair vouchers got more people cycling and reduced car use.
The Department for Transport has published the independent evaluation of its Fix Your Bike voucher scheme, which was conducted by Transport for Quality of Life (with The Smarter Choice Consultancy as a sub-contractor) and the University of Westminster.
During 2020 and 2021 the Fix Your Bike voucher scheme gave away, to the general public, 400,000 vouchers worth £50 towards cycle repair and serving costs. The Government hoped this would encourage people to get their bikes out and get cycling – providing them with safe, socially-distanced transport and exercise during the pandemic.
More cycling and less car use
The Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme Evaluation report suggests that, as well as attracting existing cyclists, the scheme attracted people who had previously been only occasional cyclists, or non-cyclists, who would not have otherwise got work done on their cycle.
It uses voucher recipients who did not use their vouchers as a control group, and reports that, at the time of a follow-up survey, three quarters of voucher users were, on average, cycling at least once a week – compared to just over half of non-users.
The differences in reported cycling behaviour were even greater for people who had been cycling less than once a week when they applied for their voucher – suggesting that the scheme was particularly successful in getting occasional and non-cyclists to cycle more.
The evaluation also found that the scheme switched people from car trips to cycling. 53% of voucher users reported that they had started cycling for some trips previously made by car or van, compared to 27% of non-users. On average, in the week before the survey, they had cycled 9 miles that they would previously have driven.
Overall, the high levels of satisfaction with the scheme, and the impacts reported, suggest that it was a popular and effective way of increasing cycling and reducing car use.
As with any new initiative, lessons were learnt along the way about how to more effectively design and deliver behaviour change projects of a similar nature. These are included in the evaluation report, for the benefit of active travel practitioners developing cycle repair and servicing initiatives.
Social research and evaluation
The Fix Your Bike evaluation included analysis of registration data for the 397,000 voucher recipients, a follow-up survey (which 46,000 people completed) and 30 qualitative interviews.
The Smarter Choice Consultancy’s main role in the evaluation was the design and coordination of the qualitative ‘walk throughs’ – to capture in detail the experiences of people who did, and did not, use their voucher; as well as of the participating businesses who accepted vouchers and carried out the repairs.
After conducted interviews (along with colleagues from the University of Westminster), we analysed the qualitative research findings. From this process evaluation, we synthesised the lessons learnt for effective design and delivery of similar schemes in the future. These were integrated into the final report – along with examples, quotes and case studies from the interviews, to help bring to life the findings from the registration and survey data.
In order to ensure compliance with our consortium’s ethical and statutory responsibilities for this project, The Smarter Choice Consultancy also led on the design and implementation of the evaluation’s data protection and data security requirements.
This project was completed in conjunction with Sally Cairns of Transport for Quality of Life and Tom Cohen, David Fevyer and Dawn Rahman of the Active Travel Academy, University of Westminster.
Find out more
Download the Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme Evaluation report.