Headlines: September 14th, 2009

People living in the North West of England have the best travel options and the greatest opportunity to move away from being dependent on their cars according to comprehensive research published today. The study by the Campaign for Better Transport looks in detail at reliance on cars and what might be done about it.

It has produced a Car Dependency Scorecard, which gives a regional picture and shows people have different reasons for car dependency. It also sets out what the Campaign believes is needed in each region to give people greater choice in how they travel. In launching the Scorecard the Campaign is calling on local authorities to improve transport options.

Today’s study gives the North West a score of 68 per cent – or C+ – and says tram and train services are good and that traffic volumes encourage cycling. At the other extreme the West Midlands scores just 43 per cent – E+ – because of high levels of car dependency in its rural areas, low density developments and heavy volumes of traffic.

The Scorecard is based on 34 factors covering issues such as how quickly people can get to school, work, public services and amenities without driving, and whether planning policies are improving this; the affordability of public transport; the quality of public transport provision and whether walking or cycling are good options. The study does not include London.

The Campaign hopes to produce the Scorecard annually so that progress can be measured. Its executive director, Stephen Joseph, said: “We want local councils to take action in their upcoming local transport plans and spend on projects that will make it easy for people to get out of their cars, and we want the Government to set policies and funding so that car dependency is reduced.”