Author: Transport for New Homes

Under development: the Transport for New Homes Checklist

When it comes to avoiding car-dependency, what are the various elements that make up a good housing development?

Some are obvious: the development should have easy access to direct and frequent bus routes, for instance. Others are often forgotten: cycle routes should not end at the site boundary but should join up with a wider network. Homes should have secure, easy-to-access bike storage.

Transport for New Homes is developing a Checklist that can be used to assess new housing for how well it avoids car-dependency. We hope our Checklist will be used by a wide variety of people, and at the Local Plan stage of planning, not just when applications are made. It can also be used to score existing housing developments.

As we develop our Checklist we’re appealing to our network of planners, politicians and professionals, academics, campaigners and local residents to help us make it as useful as possible. What do YOU think the checklist should include? Please take a look at the sections below and then use the form to add your comments.

Location and context

The most critical thing will be the location of the development. New housing in the wrong place, remote from existing jobs and facilities and not connected to public transport will never be sustainable. This will be at the core of our Checklist.

The Checklist will also ask about the wider planning context, for instance whether the site is identified in a spatial strategy with a transport component, which commits to coordinating and funding public transport upgrades across a wider area.

Design and configuration

Even when the location of a site is perfect, its design and configuration can encourage car-dependent lifestyles. This section of the checklist will look at the density of homes as well as what else – besides housing – can be found in the development. Housing that has shops, schools, health centres and community halls on its doorstep, as well as easily accessible employment opportunities, can be wonderfully walkable.

Transport provision

This section of the Checklist will look at walking and cycling facilities as well as public transport provision. Buses and trains are great, but are they frequent enough? Do they run seven days a week? Will they be in place by the time the first residents move in so that sustainable travel can become habitual from Day 1?

It will also ask about car parking. How many parking spaces are there per home? Does the location of parking make it hard to walk and cycle – do lots of driveways cross the pavement, for instance?

Your input is warmly invited

Please help us to make our checklist as comprehensive and as useful as possible by submitting your thoughts and suggestions using the form below. Thank you.

Feed into the Transport for New Homes Checklist

Simon Norton

In Memoriam Simon Norton

We were deeply sad to learn that Simon Norton, a supporter of Transport for New Homes since its inception, passed away in February 2019.

A passionate and thoughtful campaigner for sustainable transport, Simon Norton helped to set up Transport for New Homes and funded the project through the Foundation for Integrated Transport, a grant-making charity that he founded and chaired. Simon was a member of our steering group, and he helped to research our Transport for New Homes report, visiting a number of new housing developments and assessing their public transport provision.

Jenny Raggett, lead author of the report, accompanied Simon on some of these visits. Jenny remembers Simon’s unique approach, his humour and the extraordinary depth of his knowledge:

 I could describe the unique experience of going to Priors Hall’s Park housing estate with Simon as part of the Transport for New Homes visits. This could include the detailed knowledge that Simon had of the naming of bus stops and the exact departure times of buses at Corby station on the way, the fruitless pursuit of somewhere for tea in the enormous development without any facilities, how we got a tour in the developer’s 4×4 because he had rarely seen any pedestrians and wondered what we were doing, and how Simon designed a bus service in his head on the spot and told the developer all about it in detail. Then there was a cross country walk afterwards organised by Simon to see a nice village followed by a race across a field with a very tall crop to get the bus back, Simon waving an OS map saying that the footpath was definitely this way and that if we missed the bus there wasn’t another one that day. We did catch it…”

Simon’s work was guided by a deep concern about climate change and a core belief that good public transport is a human right. Just days after his death, the Committee on Climate Change adopted the key findings and recommendations of the Transport for New Homes report – a great tribute to Simon’s vision.

The Committee on Climate Change says:

 New developments should enable sustainable travel, which should be a primary consideration from the beginning of the planning process. This includes planning neighbourhoods around infrastructure to encourage walking, cycling, the use of public transport and electric vehicles. Walking and cycling routes should be well lit, feel safe and be segregated from busy traffic. Integrating consideration of sustainable transport into plans for new houses should ensure developments are easy to serve by public transport. Local authorities must consider where best to locate new homes to minimise the need to travel to work and amenities such as shops and schools.”

This is just one way in which Simon’s legacy will live on.

The Transport for New Homes Charter is dedicated to Simon.