Everyone is a transport user, and most of us live in towns or cities, but how much of what we take for granted about transport is true? This book begins with ten questions, revealing some of the myths that have influenced politicians and transport planners as well as the general public. Are governments trying to ‘get us out of our cars’? Is better public transport the solution to congestion in cities? Does Britain have a shortage of family housing?
The second part looks at solutions, using seven British and European cities as case studies: London, Brighton, Cambridge, Freiburg, Groningen, Lyon and Louvain-la-Neuve, including interviews with political leaders such as Ken Livingstone and transport planners including Sir Peter Hendy. Some of the conclusions are surprising: urban congestion can never be eradicated so let’s concentrate on problems we can solve; to make urban transport more sustainable we need to save green fields and house more people in our cities; and transport academics have been as guilty as politicians in exaggerating the economic importance of transport investment.
The final chapter asks ‘What can I do?’ from three perspectives: environmental campaigners, the foot soldiers of transport planning and in everyday life. The author, who has given up flying and driving, cycled over 5,000 miles across seven countries to gather evidence and the book finishes with a person view of the dilemmas and challenges of trying to ‘walk the talk’ in everyday life.
Melia, S. (2015). Urban Transport Without the Hot Air, Volume 1: Sustainable Solutions for UK cities. UIT Cambridge