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The Brief
Published: 1 Nov 2018

New Housing Developments Trap Owners in Car Dependency

Extra

A recent report by UK association Transport for New Homes has found that new housing developments are based around the needs of the car, with government housing targets forcing construction into isolated areas where commuting by car is the only option for residents.

Many new housing developments are sold on the promise of easy access to major road networks and are even built in conjunction with the roads themselves. However, during planning, transport surveys focus on the impact the plans will have on existing traffic, rather than examining the local public transport infrastructure. The result: housing complexes with no access to bus, cycle and walking routes that disregard their impact on transport, services, employment and the environment.

Consumer concern over alternative transport options is valid; in the UK, 40,000 deaths a year are associated with exposure to air pollution (Royal College of Physicians, 2016). A recent study found that more than 12,000 of such deaths could be prevented if England and Scotland reached their walking and cycling initiative goals (Sustrans, 2017). This is also a global concern; the World Health Organisation's first Global Conference of Air Pollution and Health took place from October 30 to 1 November this year (WHO, 2018).

The government has announced a revision of its National Planning Policy, which will address infrastructure issues in future building by better integrating transport links and green spaces. Future developments would be wise to replicate the ethos of energy-positive Norwegian town Lyseparken, which is within cycling distance of the city of Os. In the meantime, this issue presents a potential opportunity for transport start-ups, which have traditionally focused on city-centric issues. Initiatives such as CityMapper's floating transport concept would help ease the current dependence on cars in housing developments.

See our Restyling Suburbia and Smart Cities reports for examples of dynamic future living concepts in urban and suburban areas.

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