Birmingham City Council is committed to correcting “concrete-bound mistakes of the past” that put cars before people, and roads before pavements. Clare Maltby, Sustrans England Director for the Midlands and East, explains why these changes are vital and what you can do to support them.
Recent tragic road traffic collisions across the region have underlined the need to create a city where everyone is safe to get around as they choose.
Consultations, including in-person events and online questionnaires, have been taking place with plans to see a vibrant, active city come to life.
The work has culminated in the Birmingham Transport Plan 2031.
The vision is of a tree-lined greenway replacing the grey ring road. For children having twice the amount of green space to play. And to increase the network of active travel routes to 200km.
Plans for 35,000 new homes and five new neighbourhoods will see Birmingham fall in line with other major European cities that have fit-for-purpose active travel and public transport connections.
At the heart of these proposals is reducing the reliance on getting about by car.
Prioritising active travel and public transport
In Birmingham, transport makes up more than a third (34%) of the city’s carbon dioxide emissions – higher than the UK average.
Motor vehicle traffic is polluting where we live, work, learn, and socialise.
If we are serious about tackling the climate emergency and getting more people to walk, wheel, cycle, and use public transport, we must take action now.
Making walking, wheeling and cycling the natural way to make short trips in the city will create healthier, connected communities and happier liveable neighbourhoods.
Public transport must be fairly distributed and more reliable, and it must make it easier for people to access jobs, educational opportunities and leisure activities.
Ensuring new housing developments are located near services and close to public transport will reduce car journeys, reduce congestion and improve air quality in the city.
Sustrans welcomes the city’s bold commitment to address the current imbalance and is excited about the ambitious vision.
Clear support for better infrastructure
In 2021, an independent, representative survey of residents in Birmingham found that more than half of residents want more Government spending for walking (58%) and cycling (52%).
67% want more funding for public transport while only 37% want to see funding for driving.
66% of residents would find it easier to walk or wheel more if there were fewer motor vehicles on the street.
66% of residents agree their area would be a better place if there were more space for socialising, walking, wheeling, and cycling.
A third of people in the West Midlands who don’t currently cycle would like to start.
This number rises to 45% among black and minority ethnic respondents.
One third of Birmingham residents drive over five days a week, while a similar number never drive at all.
People who don’t drive are equally deserving of investment, and are long overdue that investment.
of residents would find it easier to walk or wheel more if there were fewer motor vehicles on the street.
of residents want to see more Government spending on walking in Birmingham.
It’s not just in Birmingham that these issues exist.
Other UK cities must follow Birmingham in making these decisions if we want to reach our country’s environmental commitments.
We cannot risk rowing back and leaving a legacy of broken promises for future generations.
Bold changes like these are required if we want to create places fit for the future where communities can thrive without the need for a car.
Supporting these changes
Sustrans supports the actions proposed by Birmingham City Council, and we applaud their vision and resolve.
But we can all need to do our bit to make these proposals a reality.
Here's how you can actively contribute to this transformative journey:
- Share this information with your friends and family and encourage them to support the plan.
- You can pen a letter to your local councillor, expressing your support for the plan and urging its swift implementation.
- You can attend public meetings and consultations related to the plan, ensuring that your voice is heard in shaping the future of Birmingham.
- You can also share your thoughts, ideas, and feedback on social media, using the campaign hashtag #BirminghamTransportPlan.
Together, we can transform the Birmingham Transport Plan into a reality and usher in a greener, healthier future for our beloved city.
Let's embark on this inspiring journey towards a more sustainable Birmingham.