CYCLING and public transport in Hampshire and Southampton is to get a £3m boost.

The Government cash has been handed to initiatives that encourage sustainable travel in a bid to reduce the amount of traffic on the roads and improve services for bus and bike users.

Hampshire County Council and six partner authorities have secured more than £2m from the Department for Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport fund, while Southampton City Council has been awarded nearly £1m to tackle congestion and make it safer, easier and cheaper to cycle or use public transport.

The grants come only days after cycling fever gripped the nation as the UK hosted the opening three stages of the Tour de France.

The county council is spending the money in the New Forest and South Downs national parks.

It says it will bring in integrated ticketing and WiFi on rural bus services, and ensure the commercial sustainability of travel attractions like the New Forest’s Beach Bus.

Southampton residents will be encouraged to walk and cycle for more of their regular journeys though the council’s My Journey initiative, which will now run until March 2016.

The council says it will bring environmental, health and economic benefits to communities across the city.

Councillor Jacqui Rayment, Southampton City Council's Cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “It is fantastic to know that the work of everyone involved in delivering the My Journey initiative to Southampton has been acknowledged by ministers.

"We can continue to bring healthier, cheaper and more sustainable transport options to our residents, making Southampton a great place to work and live.”

The project aims to help people make better choices when it comes to travel, encouraging the use of sustainable forms of transport.

The money will be used to implement a number of schemes to reduce traffic and increase physical activity.

This includes the development of a traffic control system, which will feed information to freight drivers to allow them to choose the optimal route for their journey.

Areas in the city suffering from deprivation, unemployment and a lack of physical activity will be the target of a community-based project to increase walking and cycling.

Meanwhile, the appearance of bus stops will be standardised and more legible maps and up-to-date timetables will be created.