Transport and Active Travel

Garden communities should be planned around a step-change in integrated and sustainable transport systems, which will put walking, cycling and public transport at the heart of developments. The design of neighbourhoods has significant impact on the travel choices residents make both within the community and beyond. There is clear evidence that the density, mix of uses and design of streets all play a part in encouraging sustainable transport choices as well as influencing the activity levels and resultant health of the populations. Each new garden community should make full provision for active travel (walking and cycling) and sustainable travel (public transport) so that together they account for 70% of all trips.

To reduce the need for car use, new communities should be underpinned by an integrated and sustainable transport system. The aim is to ensure that a multi-modal approach is fostered, whereby residents consider which mode of travel is best for each specific journey (rather than always relying on a car). Journeys may be undertaken using a mixture of transport modes – walking, cycling and public transport – and good design will ensure that walking and cycling are given priority. These forms of transport should be central to the design of streets so as to reflect ‘healthy streets’ principles.

A sustainable urban structure should be based around a network of houses and a community hub. This should allow residents to access most of their day-to-day needs by walking or cycling; in particular, neighbourhoods should be located no more than 20 minutes from key transport hubs, services and local centres. This will help to meet the CMO’s recommendation for each adult to take 150 minutes moderate intensity activity per week to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In accordance with the ‘Mini-Holland Guidelines’, cycle routes should have an absolute minimum width of 1.5m, or 3m for two-way tracks.

Passive provision should be made to allow infrastructure to support the anticipated future increase in demand for electric vehicles, while all neighbourhoods should be designed flexibly enough to accommodate changing models of vehicle ownership, car-sharing schemes and ‘on-demand’ services. For more information, refer to the ‘Streets and Roads’ section of this guide.

The provision of considered public transport options is imperative, with bus stops situated to maximise accessibility. Most particularly, bus stops should be an important component of community hub areas. Residential neighbourhoods should incorporate a ‘hail-and-ride’ system where practical, or else have bus stops at regular intervals; the most appropriate method should be agreed with the Highway Authority. It is essential for diversions of existing bus services into proposed developments to be designed so as to minimise the amount of extra journey time or mileage involved. Any new bus route within a development should take a suitably direct and intuitively logical route.

Highways should be designed to keep vehicle speeds at or below 20mph, with the minimum of highway design features necessary to make the streets work efficiently.

Infrastructure should be designed to be convertible and adaptable for future lifestyle demands – for example, replacing parking spaces with green driveways or incorporating passive provision for charging in response to changing uses in car ownership. Consideration should also be given to how deliveries are managed, in particular whether short-term parking areas should be incorporated into developments to enable home deliveries.

Strategic planning should seek to futureproof for anticipated changes in transport use. For example, less space may be required for parking as on-demand services grow. If a phased construction approach is taken, there should be scope for transport provision to grow and flex as the development increases, so as to meet growing demand. Passenger transport corridors should be designed to a standard that enables them to scale up to a rapid-transit solution should there be sufficient demand at a future point. This could include developing corridors incorporating public transport provision and walking and cycling routes as a multi-model transport route.

In summary, key considerations include:

  • Timely delivery of sustainable transport alongside homes and employment development.
  • Using technology and information to make best use of changing travel technologies.
  • Organising garden communities so that homes, jobs and facilities support sustainable travel and make public transport viable.
  • Inclusive, affordable and sustainable access to education, skills, jobs, shopping, healthcare, community facilities and transport hubs in each new garden community.
  • Implementing walking and cycling routes that make best use of current and future green infrastructure.
  • Minimising carbon emissions and pollutants associated with transport by supporting installation of electric charging points, cycle parking and bike-share schemes.
  • Ensuring modern, frequent and reliable public transport access and dedicated routes to surrounding major towns and cities, to serve as an attractive and sustainable alternative to car travel.
  • Supporting the function and effective operation of local and strategic transport networks – roads, public transport and rail.
  • Spaces should be multi-functional and flexible to accommodate a range of activities both formal and informal.

For higher density developments, consideration should also be given to the possibility of adopting a mobility hub approach, whereby parking for vehicles and bicycles is located in a hub which is physically separated (albeit only by a short distance) from housing. This innovative approach is underpinned by the use of smart technology to access services and could be a practical solution to providing electric vehicle charging points and solar infrastructure. For more information, refer to the ‘Parking’ and ‘Layout’ sections of this guide.

Page updated: 29/11/2019

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