Northern cities’ transport networks lag behind European equivalents - CILT(UK)
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Northern cities’ transport networks lag behind European equivalents

23 March 2022/Categories: Industry News, Transport Planning


Major cities across the North are lagging behind their European counterparts in providing access to quality public transport networks, costing more than £16bn in lost productivity, research from Centre for Cities has found.

Data published shows more than 4 million people living in Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, and Newcastle are unable to travel to their city centres via public transport within 30 minutes, restricting them from employment and education opportunities.

Compared to similar-sized cities in Western Europe, including Hamburg, Marseille, Bilbao, Turin and Lille, the research shows just 35 per cent of residents in Northern cities are well connected to their centres on average, while nearly seven in ten are in their European equivalents.

Much of this disparity can be attributed to the differences in population density among these cities. The European cities have more people living in well-connected mid-rise suburbs closer to the city centre, whereas the Northern cities are more spread out, with millions living in low-rise car-dependent districts.

Among some of the key findings are:

  • Nearly 2 million people living in Manchester cannot reach their city centre within 30 minutes via public transport. This is equivalent to around 80 per cent of the population and is costing more than £9bn in lost productivity.
  • Only 38 per cent of Leeds’s population can reach the city centre in 30 minutes.
  • More than 620,000 people in Liverpool are missing out on quality public transport links, with just 36 per cent able to quickly use the network to reach their city centre.
  • In Sheffield just 35 per cent of residents can reach the centre within half an hour by public transport.
  • Newcastle outperforms its Northern counterparts in terms of connectivity with 46 per cent of residents able to reach the city centre in 30 minutes or less. However, this is still much lower than similar-sized Lille, where 70 per cent can.

Centre for Cities Chief Executive Andrew Carter said: “Last month the Government outlined its ambition to create a ‘global city’ in every part of the UK by 2030, yet our research shows that major cities across the North are lagging far behind their European counterparts in terms of connectivity and providing thriving public transport networks.

“If we want these cities to reach their global potential, we need to see more passengers living close to quality public transport links. Attempts to fix this problem by investing in transport infrastructure will fail unless substantial planning reforms are made to build new midrise neighbourhoods closer to city centres.”

 

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