The Bill, which is a key transport commitment in the Programme for Government, will make it a legal requirement for local authorities to plan fully integrated transport networks.
The key aim of the Bill is to see local authorities enabling and encouraging more people to walk and cycle in Wales by connecting key sites such as hospitals, schools and shopping areas with traffic free routes and cycle lanes.
Launching the White Paper on Pont-y-Werin in Cardiff Bay, the Minister with responsibility for Transport, Carl Sargeant said:
"The White Paper for the Active Travel Bill sets out an ambitious and radical plan to dramatically increase the numbers of people walking and cycling in Wales.
"I see this Bill as a landmark step in further developing a truly sustainable transport network in Wales and reflects the Welsh Government’s commitment to green transport.
"In addition to the obvious health benefits of walking and cycling this Bill will have a positive impact on improving safety for both cyclists and pedestrians, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and reduce congestion within our towns and cities.
"We want to make walking and cycling the most natural and normal way of making short everyday journeys. I would urge people to have their say and get involved in this consultation."
In addition to raising public awareness of the routes that could already be used to walk and cycle in Wales the White Paper sets out proposals to require Local Authorities in Wales to:
- identify and map the network of routes within their areas that are safe and appropriate for walking and cycling;
- identify and map the enhancements that would be required to create a fully integrated network for walking and cycling and develop a prioritised list of schemes to deliver the network;
- deliver an enhanced network subject to budget availability and following due process;
- consider the potential for enhancing walking and cycling provision in the development of new road schemes.
Lee Waters, National Director of Sustrans Wales, said:
"More than half of all car journeys are less than five miles and one in five is less than two miles, distances that could easily be covered on foot or by bike.
"We know families are struggling with the costs of running a car and prices at the petrol pumps look set to rise even higher.
"This Bill will offer people across Wales a much cheaper alternative to getting behind the wheel; ensuring walking and cycling become safe and appealing options for more of the journeys we make everyday."
Accompanying the Minister at the launch of the Bill at Pont-y-Werin will be seven year old Steffan Rayment.
As a two year old Steffan, along with his father, handed over the original petition calling for improved cycle and walking paths across Wales to the National Assembly.
The consultation on the Bill will be open for three months and close on the 14 August.