According to the latest census figures, over a third of households in Brighton & Hove do not own a car.
Car ownership is the lowest (per household) in the South East and the seventh lowest in England and Wales. Fewer than 20% of households now own more than one car, compared to 40% in the South East and 32% in England and Wales.
The figures for the 2011 census also reveal the city’s residents, employers and employees are embracing sustainable modes of transport.
Brighton and Hove has the highest proportion of people walking to work in the South East, the second-highest for the percentage of people travelling to work by bus, minibus or coach; and the highest growth rate in cycling to work outside of London.
Councillor Ian Davey, chair of the city’s transport committee, said:
“These figures show that in Brighton and Hove people are choosing to travel by bus, bike or on foot and the council has an important part to play in supporting those making sustainable travel choices by providing improved facilities.
“Better pedestrian and cycling networks, for example, makes it more attractive to walk or bike to work. Leaving the car at home also saves money, helps keep you fit and reduces carbon emissions.
“We are committed to investing in improving walking and cycling routes, and working with public transport operators to make it easier and even more attractive to travel sustainably for business, pleasure, education and to essential services such as hospitals.”
Twice as many people travel to work by bus in Brighton and Hove than in England and Wales as a whole. The percentage of people travelling to work by bus (14%) is the second-highest in the South East, just behind Oxford (16%).
Cllr Gill Mitchell, leader of Labour and Co-operative, said: “It’s good to see people becoming steadily less reliant on the car and this is largely down to the city’s fantastic bus service and the council’s foresight years ago to put in the main bus-lane network, utilising road space freed up when the by-pass was opened. Looking forward, it will be essential to continue to support the city’s economy by enabling the growing numbers of visitors and workers from outside the city to travel here on more efficient public transport. This is one of the reasons why Labour is fully supporting the campaign for a second Brighton main rail line.”
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The percentage of people walking to work has risen from 17% in 2001 to 21% in 2011.
Cycling to work has shown a growth rate of 6.3% a year, and the percentage of people using this means has risen from 3% to 5%
Cllr. Graham Cox, Conservative spokesperson for transport, said:
“Overall this news is welcome. Measures to reduce pollution and make the city centre in particular a more welcoming area for pedestrians seem to be bearing fruit. Most of us use all types of transport – car, bus, taxi, bike and foot – and seeking a sensible balance between them will always involve a degree of compromise.”
Brighton & Hove bucks the national trend with decreasing car ownership levels compared to increases in the South East and for England and Wales as a whole. The average number of cars or vans per household reduced from 0.87 (2001) to 0.86 (2011) in the city, whilst that average increased from 1.30 to 1.35 in the South East and 1.11 to 1.17 in England and Wales.
The proportion of workers using a car to travel to work (whether as a driver or passenger) fell from 56% to 41% between 2001 and 2011.