Nottingham’s innovative WPL helps keep congestion at bay

Tram Chilwell Line NG2 Business park May 2015

Government figures show that traffic levels in Nottingham have fallen by almost 40 million car miles over the past 15 years, bucking the trend for most large English cities.

The latest Department for Transport statistics reveal that the number of car miles in the city has fallen from 477,523,000 in 2000 to 439,761,000 last year. Over the same period, most other Core Cities have seen an increase in traffic, such as Bristol where car miles rose by almost 27 million to 619,232,000 last year.

The impressive reduction comes as the Campaign for Better Transport’s Chief Executive Stephen Joseph highlights Nottingham as a model of transport excellence for other cities to follow – including following its lead on implementing a Workplace Parking Levy.

In an article for the New Statesman’s CityMetric magazine, he says: “Nottingham City Council has developed a reputation for innovation and achievement in transport policy. It has implemented a tram network and a levy on workplace parking spaces, the money from which goes towards transport projects in the city. The results are becoming clear to see. Public transport use, already high, has now nudged above 40 per cent of journeys in the city, a very high percentage for the UK.

“The wider economic impacts are perhaps more interesting – all the predictions of loss of jobs and businesses have proved unfounded. Recent statistics show jobs growth in Nottingham has been faster than other cities, while traffic congestion has fallen. The levy, with the other measures, has also helped Nottingham reach its carbon reduction target a few years early.”

He goes on to urge other cities to adopt Workplace Parking Levies – with Oxford, Cambridge and others already in discussion with Nottingham City Council. In Nottingham the WPL has helped to fund the transformation of Nottingham Station, the expansion of the tram network and the Linkbus network. The City Council is also investing heavily in cycle improvements, green buses and public realm improvements between the station and Broadmarsh Shopping Centre.

Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Business, Growth and Transport, Councillor Nick McDonald, said: “These falling traffic levels in Nottingham, against increases in most of England’s large cities, haven’t come about by chance – they are a direct result of years of our progressive transport policies which aim to give people a decent alternative to the car for travelling in and around the city. It’s easy to sometimes take for granted that we have a transport system in Nottingham that’s the envy of other cities – with our main bus operators and tram system among the best in the country and boasting some of the highest public transport passenger numbers outside London.

“The Workplace Parking Levy has undoubtedly helped to get us here and will help us to continue investing in transport improvements – and despite what some people feared, it has not put businesses off investing in Nottingham or driven them out of the city. We are often speaking to representatives from other cities about how it has played a part in helping Nottingham to grow and thrive.”

The DfT figures are available here: http://www.dft.gov.uk/traffic-counts/area.php?region=East+Midlands&la=Nottingham

Stephen Joseph’s article is available here: http://www.citymetric.com/transport/why-other-cities-should-copy-nottinghams-revolutionary-parking-levy-2382

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