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West Midlands residents are most dependent on cars

The West Midlands is the area of England most dependent on cars, while the North West is the least, according to a report published today.

Campaign for Better Transport’s Car Dependency Scorecard examined the country’s travel options, grading each region on how free it is of car dependency.

The North West received a C+ (68%), while the West Midlands only achieved an E- (43%). The South West also did badly with an E+ (49%), while every other region was graded between a D- and a D+.

Benefitting from investment

It was found that in the North West people had benefitted from investment in public transport and enjoyed a good tram network and punctual trains. The low population density of the West Midlands and the fact that the region’s trains scored lowest for punctuality and cancellations meant its residents were the most car-dependent.

The scorecard measures 34 factors affecting how difficult it is for people to avoid using their cars. The factors include:

  • People’s proximity to school, work, shops and services
  • Where new developments are built and at what density
  • The attractiveness – availability, quality and cost – of bus, rail and tram services
  • The attractiveness of walking and cycling, taking account of traffic volumes, speeds and accidents
  • Investment in public transport
  • Public perception of local transport

“Our new scorecard shows that while car dependency is a big problem it is not inevitable,” said Stephen Joseph, the group’s executive director. “In each region, there are initiatives helping to reduce car dependency. But more needs to be done.

“While car dependency is a big problem it is not inevitable.”

Stephen Joseph, Campaign for Better Transport

“We want local councils to 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.”

Campaign for Better Transport hopes to produce the scorecard every year, to monitor progress.

Who has the best travel options?

  1. North West: 68%. C+ Trams and trains are good options and traffic volumes encourage cycling
  2. Yorkshire & the Humber: 57%. D+ City streets are good for walking along but public transport fares are too high
  3. South East: 56%. D Good train and bus options but cycling could be promoted better
  4. East of England: 54%. D No need for a car to reach the office but people don’t think bus services are great
  5. North East: 54%. D Rural people are close to services but roads are full of traffic
  6. East Midlands: 53%. D- People think the bus is a good option but more innovation is needed to get people out of their cars
  7. South West: 49%. E+ Public transport is expensive and it’s hard to take a bus. But drivers are mindful of pedestrians
  8. West Midlands: 43%. E- Rural car dependency, low-density developments and heavy traffic volumes

Readers' comments (1)

  • Surely this study should have looked at smaller areas? I can't see the likes of Cumbria meeting the 68% rating of the North West.

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