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.
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.