Tag: Parking

New Checklist to help root out car-dependent housing developments

In the rush to build new homes, too many estates are being built without public transport, local facilities or even pavements, leading to car dependence, congestion, pollution and unhealthy lifestyles. Now Transport for New Homes, a campaign group seeking to halt the spread of such car-based development, has produced a Checklist to enable local authorities, neighbourhood groups and others to easily identify housing plans that are likely to result in car-dependent lifestyles.

Conversely, the Checklist will help good housing plans to gain recognition for giving residents real, sustainable travel choices.

The lead author of the Checklist, Tim Pharoah of Transport for New Homes, said:

“Our country desperately needs more homes, but these must be located and designed to ensure that residents do not need cars to live a full life. Our visits to recent housing developments around the country revealed that too many had been built around car use. When housing is built on green fields, far from jobs, shops and services, with inadequate public transport and poor pedestrian and cycle links, residents are forced to drive for almost every journey.

“With traffic and air pollution blighting neighbourhoods, and transport being the UK’s main contributor to climate change, banishing the scourge of car-dependent housing is long overdue.”

Developed with input from bodies representing planning and transport professionals, as well as planners, academics and neighbourhood groups, the Checklist identifies, under ten broad headings, elements that make up a non-car-dependent housing development. These include:

  • A location within or closely connected to an existing settlement that has a clear centre
  • A welcoming environment, not dominated by car parking
  • Local facilities easily accessible without a car
  • Frequent public transport services in place from Day 1 of occupation

By considering each of these criteria, users of the Checklist can rate a housing plan as either Red, Amber or Green for how well it will avoid car-dependency.

Lynda Addison OBE FCIHT MTPS, Chair of the CIHT Sustainable Transport Panel, said:

“CIHT welcomes this important contribution to the radical changes needed in the way that homes and transport are designed to ensure that people can chose to live healthier and more active lives as part of their daily routine. This complements the forthcoming advice on ‘Better planning, better transport, better places’ that is about to be published by CIHT in partnership with TPS and the RTPI.”

Written without jargon, the Transport for New Homes Checklist is intended for use by local authorities, developers and neighbourhood groups alike to root out car-dependent housing plans. The Checklist will help to identify how such plans can be improved, or why they should be rejected altogether.

How new housing developments can benefit from car clubs

Guest blog by Rebecca Townend, Co-wheels Car Club.

A car club based within a community can have a whole host of benefits for those who live there. An ideal way of introducing car club cars into a community is to mandate their inclusion in all new residential and mixed-use developments.

A car club is access to a personal vehicle without being tied to ownership, offering flexible use to book and drive. Cars are there to be used when you need them, for a long as you need them, but provide no burden the rest of the time. The upkeep of the vehicles, the insurance, fuel and logistics of a car club will all be taken care of by the provider.

Co-wheels is a car club operator based in Newcastle. It currently operates with over 600 cars UK-wide, including in new housing developments from Bournemouth to Aberdeen.

  • Stoke Quay, Ipswich. This housing development on the waterfront in Ipswich has a shared Toyota Aygo which has become essential in a lot of residents’ day-to-day lives.
  • Barns road, Oxford. The demand in this development in the South East of Oxford is enough to hold two cars – a Toyota Aygo and an Auris Hybid.
  • Aberdeen. Co-wheels have car clubs at four different small local communities in Aberdeen. These support the 25+ vehicles already located in Aberdeen City Centre.

This blog post is going to look at some of the main benefits that car clubs bring and why they can be a great addition to new residential developments:

Enabling residents to access opportunities that would have been otherwise unavailable

Typically, around 1/3 of car club members join in order to gain additional personal freedom. Car clubs provide affordable access to a car without the often-large purchase cost which for some is unaffordable. The main uses for residential car clubs are leisure, shopping and visiting friends and family.

Increasing disposable income

Car club members without a car spend no money on buying or maintaining private vehicles. Additionally, those who use car clubs as a second car or back-up option still save money. The cost of signing up and paying for a car only when you need it is notably less that having a car sitting outside your home that is not regularly used. These members therefore have more disposable income, which is often spent within local communities.

Increasing the use of electric vehicles

Buying an electric vehicle can be very costly. This, alongside the necessary charging infrastructure and electricity use can make EVs difficult to incorporate into everyday life. By using a car club and letting the provider do the hard work for them, members can enjoy electric vehicles without the hassle of private ownership. The increased use of EVs will have a positive impact on the air quality within the local community.

Combating air pollution

There are strong links between the social, economic and environmental demographics of an area and the increased rate of pollution. Rather than residents buying old, environmentally harmful cars for a low price, they could have an option to become a car club member. This saves money and stops unnecessary pollution.

Benefits to the developer

The inclusion of car club cars within a new residential site also brings significant benefits to the developer and is a valuable sales tool. Space that may have been used for personal parking or garages is freed up, providing additional outside green space for the residents. The cost of installing electric car recharging posts is significantly lower than that of providing land for parking and a car club is an attractive additional feature for prospective residents, especially when the developer also offers free membership for its residents.

The relevant local authority will often work with the developer for car club provision through Section 106 Agreements. These agreements would usually ensure that the developer provides suitable space and recharging infrastructure, and some level of pump priming to support the costs of the vehicles as they are established. Developers often recognise the benefit of subsidising membership and driving time, or an associated marketing plan.

Guest blog by Rebecca Townend, Co-wheels Car Club.

Under development: the Transport for New Homes Checklist

Sorry, the deadline for feeding into our Checklist has now passed.

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 (currently in draft form) 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 read our draft Checklist and then use the form below to tell us if we’ve missed anything.

Feed into the Transport for New Homes Checklist

Sorry, the deadline for feeding into our Checklist has now passed.