If the world is to respond to the threat of climate change, it is clear that not only our behaviour but also the very shape of our settlements must change in order that our surroundings may help generate a more sustainable lifestyle. CILT was interested, therefore, to hear recently from Marian Marsh about the work of CoMoUK, which was previously known as Carplus and Bikeplus.
Founded in 1999, CoMoUK supports the development of shared modes –car clubs, bikeshare, 2+rideshare, on-demand buses and scooter-sharing – to enable collaborative mobility lifestyles which present an alternative to private car ownership. It does so through advocacy, research and development.
Car clubs can help policymakers reduce congestion, emissions and parking pressure and improve air quality, social inclusion, the uptake of sustainable transport modes and adoption of progressive low-emission technologies.
Bikeshare models appropriate for housing developments include self-service, on-street docked, pool bikes, bike loans and bikes in lockers. Cycle parking can be used for storage of private bikes and, where well-promoted, shared bikes. Electric bikeshare can improve air quality through ultra-low emission commuting, reduce congestion, support healthy lifestyles and open access to opportunities.
The most recent annual survey shows that car clubs yield, on average, 48 per cent less carbon dioxide emission than the average UK car, with carbon-saving up from 300 last year to 490 tonnes, while bikeshare resulted in 14 per cent of users switching their trip from car. Increasing numbers of women are using bikeshare, and people combine it with public transport.
People are more likely to switch their travel behaviour from the private car to more sustainable modes when they have another change going on in their lives, such as moving home. Network closures for infrastructure upgrades and the holding of major sporting or other events can have similar impacts.
Fifty per cent of car journeys are under three miles, which is ideal for ebikes. Research into people over 50 trialling them shows that many participants have experienced increased psychological wellbeing, fitness and cognitive ability.
As less space is needed for parking private cars, more properties can be built, enabling more redevelopment of inner-city brownfield sites which can otherwise lie undeveloped and unattractive due to lack of space to comply with parking standards. By planning for shared transport in residential developments, the built environment can be developed with less emphasis on the car. Attractive people-friendly streets can encourage more walking and cycling.
Shared transport has the potential to enhance the public realm when incorporated into a Mobility Hub with car and bike share spaces, waiting areas for integrated public transport, planting and other components according to the suitability of the site so as to increase awareness of travel options.
The Seestadt high-density development of 20,000 inhabitants in Vienna exemplifies provision of shared options near housing, with restricted movement and parking for private vehicles and provision of pedestrian-friendly spaces.
Shared mobility as a service is promoted through the Seestadt Card, and there is a strong focus on last-mile logistics including good walking and cycling routes, bikeshare, cargo-bikes and trolleys. The whole package enables streets to be designed at a human scale, with space to enjoy the experience, for children to relax and for adults to play games like petanque. The priority is for activities and interaction between people rather than traffic.
Lynda Addison writes that the messaging from politicians and the policy context are vital, but so is the professional stand that each and every one of us has to take in devising, assessing, permitting and developing new housing and other areas. There is a tendency to believe that the problem lies elsewhere and to blame others for the current situation, and that can inhibit the individual from taking action.
But unless we all accept our own responsibilities for improving the situation, nothing will change. And we all need to spread the message at every opportunity
As part of CoMoUK’s offer of free impartial support, expertise and advice on how to plan for shared mobility, a free online CPD- accredited course that can be completed in a couple of hours explores the benefits of shared transport for delivering policy aims and objectives around environmental benefits in terms of carbon dioxide emissions and air quality and positive impacts for residents living in new developments.
CILT believes that for too long our settlements have been shaped without regard to the damage caused by unrestrained mobility.
Sharing may be key to addressing climate change, and with that comes the opportunity for beneficial reshaping of how we live.
John Yellowlees, chair, CILT Scotland