Give people more flexibility to choose sustainable travel

07 Jul 21

Will flexibility and choice provide the change we need for healthier and more sustainable transport?


When I began my career in transport planning, the car was king, but there was promise of change. Twenty years on, the car is still king and according to recent reports, traffic is higher than pre-Covid levels in some parts of the country, with the Institute for Public Policy Research predicting a 11% increase in traffic by 2050.

Successive governments have tried to reduce our use of cars with policies such as maximum parking standards, car-free developments, and congestion charges, all of which have had minimal impact according to the data.

However, in the last few years, the penny appears to have dropped. Instead of telling people what to do, there is a shift towards providing people with tangible options to change to, but crucially, allowing people to choose.

Some people will always choose the car and we are fortunate that this method of travel is becoming more environmentally friendly. Nevertheless, Car Clubs are growing in popularity; helping to reduce car ownership, but still providing people with an option to drive should they choose to.

While most choices for changing how we travel will be influenced by local authorities, new development can play its part. Some developers have already committed to providing Car Club spaces throughout all their future schemes, while one housing developer has teamed up with a bicycle retailer to ensure all its proposed developments will provide residents with free e-bike use. E-Scooters look set to stay, but how many new developments provide facilities for them?

We at Iceni are continuously looking at ways to integrate new travel trends and technology into development proposals for our clients. Could more choice for people to travel set one development apart from a neighbouring scheme with less choice?

Will flexibility and choice provide the change we need for healthier and more sustainable transport? Let’s hope so.

Rob Amey Director,Transport