Sustainable travel means carrying out your journey in a way that can be repeated over and over again, with minimal impact on our environment. Walking, cycling, horse and cart… all of these forms of transport are kind to our natural world, however, thanks to the introduction of technology, we are now able to travel from A to B much faster, but at what cost to our health and our planet?

Cars cough out carbon emissions and are a leading contributor to local air pollution. The Army and Navy Roundabout and the A12, which runs through Chelmsford, are air pollution hot spots. It isn’t surprising considering the high volume of cars on the road, particularly in rush-hour that can be crawling along filling the air around the roads with smog.  A large proportion of our inner city car journeys are less than 5km, many even less than 2km, and although taking the car can be convenient, but when considering the risk of getting stuck in traffic and having to pay for parking, surely there must be greener, cheaper and healthier methods of travel?

A12 Boreham
Walk, cycle, use public transport or car share. Let’s travel sustainably

Walking can burn up to 300 calories in a 30-minute journey as well as offering a whole range of benefits for your physical and mental wellbeing.  Chelmsford is privileged to have so much green space which are bursting with birdsong and waterways, even in our urban City Centre. Take the Chelmer Valley Nature Reserve or Admirals Park for example, both are inaccessible by motor vehicle and can offer a delightful short cut to the High Street, Chelmsford Market and Anglia Ruskin University.

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Cycling or ‘peddle-power’ is also carbon- free, a fantastic form of exercise and an efficient mode of transport. In Chelmsford, we have a good cycle network that runs through our City Centre and connects parishes, such as Broomfield to Galleywood as well as Writtle to Boreham. This network not only provides for easy and safe commuting to and from work, but for leisure too. Our cycling infrastructure is constantly improving to connect more.

central park cyclist
Two feet and two wheels

Public transport is a great alternative to travelling by car and offers additional benefits too, such as freeing up time to prepare for a work meeting, to catch up on emails, to read a book, listen to music or watch your favourite TV shows.

There are more than 270 local bus services from Chelmsford, so you can be chauffeured in, out and across Chelmsford easily, whilst reducing your carbon footprint. There are designated bus lanes to help speed up your journey during busy times, and of course you don’t need to worry about car insurance or paying for parking either.

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Trains offer a low carbon form of transport when compared to travelling by car, and they can improve our local air quality and reduce road congestion too. There are three train stations in the borough. The busiest, is located in Chelmsford’s City Centre, on Duke Street. The other two are located in Battlesbridge on Hawkhill, and South Woodham Ferrers on Hullbridge Road. All of which, are usually no more than a 50-minute journey to and from London. A fourth railway station located at Beaulieu , is due to be built by 2026. This will be the first railway station to be built on the Great Eastern mainline for over 100 years.

chelmsford city centre bus stop
Public transport in Chelmsford

If you do need to travel by car, car sharing with friends or colleagues can reduce the cost of your journeys and benefit the environment. Travel together and share conversations, perhaps form a pop group by singing along to the radio, all whilst sharing fuel costs, reducing road congestion and carbon emissions.

If you’d like to make your car journeys a little more interesting, check out the Essex Car Share scheme.  Here, you can match up with potential car sharing partners even if you don’t drive yourself. Once matched, you can choose to share with as many people as your car can legally hold, as often as you like.

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To help improve air quality in our City Centre, Chelmsford offers two Park and Ride services, one at Chelmer Valley and the other at Sandon. The Park and Ride sites offer residents, visitors, and commuters a cost-effective solution to travel in the City Centre without paying high parking prices or the risk of getting help up in traffic. Both sites in Chelmsford are powered by wind turbines too, helping to create a more sustainable future for us all.

There is now a new way of using the Park & Ride facility called Park & Pedal. Take your bike with you in the car or keep it in a locker at the Park & Ride site and cycle to the city on designated cycle ways.

Chelmsford bike chained up
Car sharing and Park & Ride

There’s plenty more help out there to support you on your journey to choosing more sustainable travel options, here’s just a few places to start:

Active Travel Around Chelmsford

Chelmsford Park and Ride

Chelmsford Cycle Map

Cycle to Work Scheme 

LoveToRide Programme

StopSwapGo Campaign 

Chelmsford pedestrian street sign
Useful links and resources

If you don’t have the money or the ability to make the changes we talk about on this page, please don’t worry, the weight of the world is not on your shoulders. It’s important to point out that with all environmentally friendly choices that your best is always enough. This is not to say that we don’t all have a responsibility to make changes, but if your financial situation is your limiting factor then it’s okay that waste reduction and recycling is not your priority.