Levelling up can be achieved more effectively if connectivity is improved in cities and towns

Levelling Up could be advanced quicker by improving connectivity in the UK cities, according to a new report by Centre for Cities.

The report, Measuring up: Comparing public transport in the UK and Europe’s biggest cities, said Central and local government should do this by continuing to invest in new infrastructure-expanding public transport networks where they are needed such as in cities with congestion challenges, and reform the planning system-to facilitate shifting big cities from a low-rise to a mid-rise built form, making it easier to build mid-rise new neighbourhoods in well-connected suburbs. It also calls on councils to implement Local Development Orders to allow for the redevelopment of land near existing public transport as a tool to get more homes built.

This report examines whether intra-urban public transport plays a role in the underperformance of big British cities and sets out the implications that transport has for the levelling up agenda.

;This research systematically analyses how the urban public transport systems of nine of the biggest British cities outside of London Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Bristol, Newcastle, Nottingham, Liverpool and Glasgow – measure up to their Western European counterparts, to find that:

1. Urban public transport commutes to European city centres are easier and faster than in the UK. Approximately, 67 per cent of people in big European cities can reach their city centre by public transport within 30 minutes, compared to only 40% of the people in Britain’s big cities.

2. The low-rise built form of Britain’s big cities prevents people from living near urban public transport. Britain’s reliance on terraced and semi-detached housing means there are fewer people living close to city centres which reduces commuting by public transport and the efficiency of networks.

 3. Poor urban transport limits people’s job opportunities and effectively makes our largest cities much smaller than European competitors. This negatively impacts the productivity and economic performance of big cities, costing the UK economy more than £23.1 billion per year.

 4. To deliver European-style transport outcomes, expanding urban public transport systems must be paired with efforts to change the built form of big cities, making it easier to live near and use public transport.


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