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News - 20 August 2006

Getting Brightonians out of their cars

Brighton & Hove City Council has launched a project aimed at getting local people out of their cars and into more environmentally friendly modes travel. The initiative has gone off to a flying start with grown-ups learning to ride bikes and rely on buses for the first time in their lives.

In Brighton & Hove, 45% of car journeys to and from work are less than three miles. That’s 27,000 daily car trips, putting additional strain on the city's roads. If able-bodied local people use alternative means of transport the city will be less congested and more welcoming to those less able to take up the options of walking, cycling or the bus.

A team of six travel advisers are knocking on thousands of doors starting in the Portslade area and giving advice on how to cut down on car travel.

The team aim to visit 10,000 households in Portslade this summer. They are offering incentives to try and get residents to leave their cars at home and make local journeys in a cheaper, healthier and more environmentally friendly way. So far they have visited about 5,000 households and distributed some 10,000 pieces of information. They have become a familiar sight around Portslade.

By providing travel option information in a targeted way, the council is getting a better understanding of the transport issues that people have in a more comprehensive way than direct marketing is able to achieve.

The travel advisers spend their time talking through the different travel options and explaining the alternatives. Local people are provided with a personal travel plan, which shows how they can walk, cycle, or bus their favourite journeys, how long it takes and how much easier travelling without a car can be. Simply highlighting the bus stop or cycle track at the end of the road is often all it takes to make people aware about their travel options.

Travel adviser Richard Baldwin said, “We’re trying to provide travel solutions to make people’s lives easier. People know who we are now and generally seem very keen – we’ve had a really good take up. If it’s practical for them, we’re trying to get people out of their cars. I live in Elm Grove and I haven’t had a car for 10 years. My main modes of transport are my feet and a push bike and, since I started this job, the bus.”

The project, called the Personalised Travel Planning, offers residents free bus tickets, pedometers, discounts on bikes, maps, bus timetables, information about local shops and services. The team can also create a personalised travel plan for you, which can plot your individual route to work or to the shops and tell you how they could do it more quickly or more cheaply by walking, cycling or taking public transport.

A Portslade resident, Christina Cosgrove recently attended one of the free cycle training courses offered by the project. She said, “For someone like me, the trainer is really inspirational. I have learnt to cycle as an adult and feel much more confident and I’m looking forward to practising on my bike”.

Councillor Gill Mitchell, Chair of Environment Committee said, “The great thing about Personal Travel Planning is that there is no hard sell or gimmicks. Participants are provided with the information that they want to travel in the most appropriate way for their particular journey”.

The project is funded by Brighton & Hove City Council and the Cycling Demonstration Town project and will run until October. Further personalised travel planning projects will take place each year for the next three years.

Read related items on:
Staff Travel Plan
Brighton & Hove City Council

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