News and Updates

Category: Community

14 May 2018

Eddington Number Challenge launched

The University of Cambridge, is launching a cycling campaign this month at its new community, Eddington, to promote sustainable travel and healthy living. Coined the ‘Eddington Number’ campaign, the initiative was devised to build upon the rising number of sustainable journeys already taking place across Cambridge and the surrounding area.  A recent survey of transport use across Eddington indicated that 47% of all trips are currently made by walking or cycling.

The campaign is based around the Eddington number for cycling – which takes its name from its inventor, Sir Arthur Eddington, who was also the astrophysicist, astronomer and mathematician that the new district is named after. Your Eddington Number is the largest number of miles you have cycled or walked for a consistent number of individual days. The days do not need to be consecutive.  For example, if you have cycled or walked five miles in a day on five separate days, you will have an Eddington Number of five.  Eddington’s own number was 84, which meant he cycled 84 miles on 84 different days.

The campaign will run from May to September and will aim to get more people cycling in the Cambridge area. All participants will be able to calculate their number and track their progress using the University’s custom-built campaign website ( and connect with other cyclists using the Strava platform. The website also includes goals for people of all abilities, with suggested target ‘Eddington Numbers’ for beginners, improvers and enthusiasts. Novice cyclists could start by aiming for an Eddington Number of 2-5, improvers might attempt reaching 6-10 and those trying to push themselves may go for 11-15 or even more!

Throughout the campaign the University will be updating the website with cycle trails and routes that will not only help people increase the amount they cycle but also encourage them to explore the surrounding area and get to know their neighbours.

Two University Pro-Vice Chancellors are supporting the campaign.

Andy Neely, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Enterprise and Business Relations is targeting an Eddington Number of 20+ and commented: “The ‘Eddington Number’ campaign is a fantastic way to get local people on their bikes and walking, getting active and promoting sustainable transport. The campaign website is brilliantly designed and very simple to use either on the computer or through Strava. I’ll be using it to track my progress throughout the summer and I’m looking forward to competing against my colleagues in the Department and across the University.”

“Healthy lifestyles are at the core of communities and that is what we are creating at Eddington. The campaign is also a way for people to get to know their new community and we are encouraging everyone participating to use #EddingtonNumber on social media to inspire others across Cambridge to get involved.”

Chris Abell, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Cambridge, who is targeting an Eddington Number of 20+ commented: “The Eddington Number is a great initiative for the University and wider community, and certainly a challenge that I will embrace. Over the summer I will be aiming to cycle and run more, working out how to fit it into my daily schedule and improve my own Eddington Number, encouraging others to make the most of the outdoors whilst they track and increase their own progress.

Heather Topel, Project Director of the North West Cambridge Development (Eddington Number Target: 10), commented: “A key aim of Eddington is to promote healthy and sustainable living. Nearly half of all trips by residents to and from Eddington are already made by walking or cycling. With the launch of our ‘Eddington Number’ campaign, we hope to encourage even more of our population and the wider Cambridge community to ride their bikes, whether they’re a keen cyclist, new to cycling or returning after a long time away. Whilst the focus is on cycling, we hope that walkers will also get involved in the challenge too. With different targets for all abilities there really is something to get everyone involved.

Eddington is being built by the University of Cambridge as a way of providing affordable homes for university staff and key workers, whilst meeting the highest standards of design and sustainability. With ample green space and public art, people are encouraged to get outside and get active.

A number of initiatives already encourage sustainable travel at Eddington.  A cycle loan scheme is on offer to university staff and their families who are residents, with the option at the end of the loan period to purchase a bike. A refresher course for those needing a confidence boost is available and there are also regular cycle clinics. Eddington itself was created with infrastructure designed specifically to encourage healthy commuting, with extensive travel planning measures taken to assist sustainable journeys, including strategic walking routes and cycle links.

Eddington’s first Traffic Monitoring Report was published in January 2018 and looked at the modes of transport used by residents to ensure that the new development keeps its sustainability targets on track. The study found that 47% of all trips are currently made by walking and cycling. 44% of post-graduate students living in Eddington cycle and 47% of pupils at the University of Cambridge Primary School travel to school by bike.

Pro-Vice-Chancellors Andy Neely and Chris Abell join the Eddington Number Challenge
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