The Campaign For Better Transport has ranked Brighton as the second-best place in the UK to be carfree (London came first because of all that spending on Olympics infrastructure spending. The CFBT research was published last week as a Car Dependency Scorecard examining how dependent we are on cars, using data from 19 different sources to rank 26 cities. The CFBT notes that London, Brighton and Nottingham were the top three in 2011 and 2012, but Brighton swapped place with Nottingham due to investment in transport and, in general, forward-looking travel plans. However, the news isn’t as good if you want to go carfree and live in Colchester, Peterborough or Wigan, which were at the bottom of the table – scoring poor accessibility to key services and high numbers using cars to commute to work. Interestingly, the CFBT also notes, as this blog has often commented, that “all the UK cities measured compared badly to our European neighbours on transport provision. UK cities performed badly due to poor air quality, high levels of congestion and, with the exception of Cardiff, the high cost of public transport.”
We can’t all live in London, Brighton or Nottingham, so what’s the message if you want to be carfree? Give up your car anyway – the financial and health benefits are so persuasive that there’s no need to wait for transport planners to catch up: instead, they should start to see the CFBT’s top cities as a benchmark for the rest of the UK.