New ‘Scorecard’ ranks cities for car dependency

12.00 | 18 December 2014 | | 1 comment

Peterborough, Colchester and Milton Keynes are the hardest places in England to live if you don’t have access to a car, while London, Manchester and Liverpool are the easiest, according to the Campaign for Better Transport.

The 2014 Car Dependency Scorecard, produced by Campaign for Better Transport, compares how different towns and cities measure up in areas including public transport provision, facilities for cycling and walking, and land use planning policies that support sustainable transport.

Stephen Joseph, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, said: "To be good places to live and work, towns and cities need good transport.

“The most successful places in our research give people a choice in how you get around. They have good quality public transport, plan new development thoughtfully and make it easy and safe for people to cycle and walk."

The Scorecard shows that London’s extensive public transport network and policies that encourage alternatives to driving make it the least car dependent city in the survey.

Manchester and Liverpool rank very highly, reflecting policies to increase urban density by focusing development on brownfield sites, and providing support for walking, cycling and public transport.

At the opposite end of the table, the Scorecard shows the “longstanding difficulty” that New Towns have with car dependency. Milton Keynes comes last in many of the metrics as a result of its spread out, low density planning, and a road system much better suited to car use than public transport.

Similarly, Peterborough has “weaknesses in its public transport infrastructure and heavy reliance on cars”, while Colchester ranked lowest for accessibility and planning.

Stephen Joseph continued: "What emerges strongly from the research is that local control often goes hand in hand with smarter policies and better targeted investments.

“More devolution to English cities could mean more integrated and greener transport networks that make our towns and cities better places."


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    Comparisons are always useful if there is something to be learnt from them. What I’m not clear on is, if your location (for example, the City of Wolverhampton) isn’t on the list does that mean it is not as good as the lowest ranked on the list, or just that it hasn’t been considered? I note without rancour that the neighbouring Borough of Dudley (which in fairness is comparable in size and population) is on the list but it would be useful if I could compare us with them.

    The thing that relly strikes me though is the suggested reasons why Milton Keynes scores so low. Wolverhampton, being a very dense urban area, is crying out for the space to be able to introduce additional infrastructure which could better provide for public transport and cycle movements. In my book “low density planning” is a nice problem to have.

    Tim Philpot, City of Wolverhampton
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