Jeffrey Kenworthy

Benchmarking the Sustainability of Urban Transport in UK Cities Within a Global Framework: Problems, Prospects, Policy Implications and a Call to Action.
Roger Harrabin

Focus of work

This research seeks to position some UK cities within an international comparative framework based on the relative sustainability of their passenger transport systems. Reducing dependence on cars in cities is now a major goal in just about every city worldwide, not just for reasons of local environmental improvement, social equity, economic savings and the enhanced beauty of public spaces, but also for helping to reduce global dependence on liquid fossil fuels and mitigating climate change by reducing greenhouse gas generation. The research will establish the level of car use in the chosen UK cities, their public transport provision and use and the extent of walking and cycling and much more. Many underlying urban variables that may help explain patterns of urban mobility such as city population and job density, the degree of job centralisation, the level of freeway provision, parking, vehicle ownership, city wealth etc will be collected. And some of the impacts of mobility patterns will be documented such as air emission levels, including CO2, transport deaths and energy consumption. Each UK city will be benchmarked globally on each factor to see where they sit within a large global sample.


Getting facts rather than opinions about urban mobility patterns is critical if sound policy decisions and planning for a better future are to be achieved. This research will gather real data from cities which can then be used to suggest the most critical areas that the chosen UK cities should attend to in moving towards a more sustainable transport system and indeed a more livable and attractive urban environment overall. The work has the potential to assist communities in campaigning for better public transport, healthier and safer conditions for pedestrians and cyclists and more attractive and livable ways of urban development that simply build in less need to own and use a car. It will assist local decision-makers in making good choices for their respective communities when it comes to future transport and land use directions.

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