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Car-dependency driven by 'deep flaws' in UK transport planning system

By Hannah Figg / Updated: 05 Nov 2018

The UK planning system has ‘deep flaws’, as new housing developments are constructed without sufficient public transport, walking and cycling connections, according to a report.  

Transport for New Homes released a report that highlighted that investment in transport infrastructure is monopolised by new road capacity, whereas little is spent on new bus infrastructure, for example. Home owners are therefore becoming ‘car-dependent’ as new housing developments cannot be sufficiently accessed using differing transport modes. This includes a lack of pedestrian and cycle links, as well as new train stations.

Jenny Ragget, a researcher at Transport for New Homes stated, ‘We were appalled to find so many new housing developments that were built around the car with residents driving for almost every journey. This is bad news for congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions.

'Many urban extensions on the edges of towns are being built with new road capacity to cope with the onslaught of new car journeys, but as those cars head for our towns and cities they clog up existing roads. Commuter times get longer and longer. Car-based living of this kind is not good for our health or quality of life. We are building in the wrong places, building developments around bypasses, link roads and distributor roads rather than walkable streets. We need a new model of development whereby new homes are built around sustainable modes rather than the car.’

Cllr Martin Tett, a transport spokesman for the UK's Local Government Association, responded to the report by adding, 'Councils have already introduced several measures to tackle air pollution, such as encouraging the use of electric vehicles with recharging points, promoting cycling, investing in cleaner buses, managing borough-wide air pollution monitoring networks, and pioneering the concept of low-emission zones.

‘Councils are determined to do more in planning for new places in ways that improve air quality and promote more sustainable forms of travel, but a lack of funding is a clear barrier to such investment.'

Article first published on 24th October 2018 

Image source: ©Christian Mueller/Shutterstock.com - no permission to re-use image(s) without separate licence from Shutterstock

Country: 
United Kingdom
Topic: 
Urban mobility planning
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