Cyclists and pedestrians are being frequently overlooked when it comes to the design of new housing developments in England, a new report has found.
The University College London report, which reviews over 140 housing developments built across England since 2007, says developers are focusing ‘too much on roads’.
When looking at active travel, the review assessed whether the streets:
- Are pedestrian and cycle friendly and designed to encourage cars to drive slowly (max 20mph) and carefully
- Are designed in a way that they can be used as social spaces, such as spaces for children to play safely or for neighbours to converse
It found that 30% of the developments had either poor (26%) or very poor (4%) facilities for pedestrians and cyclists – with 37% ranked as mediocre.
Just 32% ranked as either good (29%) or very good (3%).
The UCL report notes: “The potential for active travel, whether by foot or on a bicycle, has been a key determinant of healthy lifestyles in numerous studies.
“Turning streets from vehicle dominant to pedestrian and cycle friendly spaces involves slowing vehicle speeds (through design), designing parking to avoid conflicts, introducing cycle infrastructure and high quality pavements, and providing attractive street spaces with sufficient street furniture for rest and relaxation.”
Scotland: new housing ‘forcing car dependency’
The UCL report backs up the findings of a separate audit carried out by Living Streets Scotland.
The audit assessed three housing developments, all of which were approved following the introduction of the Scottish Government’s designing streets guidance. Published in 2010, the guidance says new housing developments should ‘increase the attractiveness of walking, cycling and the use of public transport’.
However, the Living Streets Scotland investigation concluded that none of the developments it looked at were easy to live in without at least one household car, while pedestrian design, public transport and local facilities were lacking.
As a result, Living Streets Scotland called on the Scottish Government to do more to meet the aspirations of new homeowners who want to walk more and drive less.