LUTON’S layout means that people are ‘locked into’ using their cars, rather than choosing sustainable transport options, a new report says.
The Campaign for Better Transport’s comprehensive research, published today, showed that Luton was the third most car-dependent urban area in England, with only Milton Keynes and Peterborough ranking lower.
High car usage in Luton has caused congestion problems, the report said, especially around the M1. It described the town as “densely built-up with inaccessible areas, causing congestion problems during peak rush hours”.
The research found Nottingham was least car-dependent, closely followed by London and Brighton and Hove.
The Campaign for Better Transport’s Car Dependency Scorecard examined for the first time how dependent people are on cars in major cities and towns, using data from 17 different sources to rank the main 19 urban areas in England.
The organisation says providing sustainable transport choices would be a solution, creating a greener and less congested urban environment.
Luton Borough Council says that, once built, the new Luton-Dunstable Guided Busway will ease congestion and cut pollution in the town.
The Campaign for Better Transport says the fact that the government is considering massive cuts to local transport funding could mean the ability of towns cities to reduce dependency on the car could be harmed, with improvements in many urban areas under threat if funding is cut following the Spending Review.
The government has reassured Luton Borough Council that funding for the £90 million scheme is safe, after it was given the go-ahead by the previous Labour government.
Chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, Stephen Joseph, said: “Our report shows that for many people, car use is not a matter of choice but is due to other options just not being available.
“Factors such as lack of local facilities, poor public transport or bad conditions for cyclists and pedestrians can mean that people are reliant on a car, with congestion and pollution the result.
“City authorities must also make sure that they prioritise their remaining funding on sustainable forms of transport and ensure that planning policies protect local shops and services.”