This report examines how technological shifts are reshaping urban mobility and creating opportunities for non-car-dependent lifestyles. Making the case for a policy-led approach termed 'New Urban Mobility', the report outlines how planners and developers can create flexible neighbourhoods that are fit for the future.
New housing developments – which could provide a 20 per cent increase to London’s housing stock over the next 10 years – present a unique opportunity to shape people’s behaviour, embrace transport innovations and encourage people to make more sustainable journeys.
Car use and ownership in new housing developments
Yet recent housing developments are more likely than pre-existing housing to feature car parking, and their residents are more likely to own a car than average Londoner. Many residents also use their cars frequently, even in areas with excellent public transport access.
Part of the challenge is that development decisions can be based on out-of-date predictions about the travel choices and patterns of future residents. This issue is compounded by under-resourced planning and development departments in local authorities. At the same time, some developers and local authorities lack the expertise to build new homes that are sustainable and adaptable to future transport innovations.
This report argues that concerted action is needed across the sector to address these barriers and enable Londoners living in new developments to travel more on foot, by cycle or using public transport.
Strengthen local political leadership
- Local authorities should prioritise New Urban Mobility in both strategic planning and development control.
- Every London borough should designate a strategic development area as a “New Urban Mobility zone.”
Build adaptability into new developments
- The UK government, in partnership with the Mayor of London, should match-fund development receipts to support the development of mobility hubs.
- Developers and landowners should take seriously the impact that developments built with sustainable transport in mind can have on “place value.”
- Build out any barriers to adaptability. Where car parking spaces must be provided, they should be built to specifications that will allow them to be converted to alternative uses more easily
- Local authorities should encourage more adaptable developments by fast-tracking sustainable adaptations and accommodating flexibility in discretionary standards.
Unbundle parking spaces from homes
- Allow for the re-programming of residential car parks into other uses and offer alternative parking arrangements (e.g. renewable parking and charging membership) to residents of new developments, rather than ownership of individual spaces.
Improve post-completion evaluation
- London boroughs, in partnership with Transport for London, should evaluate new developments over time.