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Transport poverty 'affecting millions'

25 October 2012 - Millions of people in England are at risk of being cut off due to the cost of fuel and the lack of transport alternatives, a UK charity has said. Transport group Sustrans' report, Locked Out, has called on the UK government to invest more in collective? transport solutions.


The report rates communities as facing a low, medium or high risk of transport poverty, and criticises the "absence of practical alternatives" to car ownership. It also states that "inadequate and expensive public transport and hostile walking and cycling environments are forcing millions of people to choose between debt and social exclusion".


Malcolm Shepherd, chief executive of Sustrans, said: "For many people, owning a car is a source of debt and poverty and this is unlikely to change in the long term with rising fuel prices”. 

Sustrans report's results are based on three indicators of transport poverty, including:

  •  Low-income areas where running a car would place a significant strain on household budgets;
  • Areas where residents lived further than a mile (1.6km) from the nearest public transport;
  • Areas where it would take longer than an hour to access essential goods and services by walking, cycling or using public transport.

For decades ministers have made decisions based on everyone having easy access to a car, forcing many people into car ownership they can barely afford and leaving others stranded.


According to DfT data, a quarter of households in England do not have access to a car. "We need a transport system that works for everyone, not one designed to best suit those who can afford a car," Shepherd continued.


The British Department for Transport said it has been investing in local transport schemes.

British Transport Minister Norman Baker said: "I recognise the importance of good local transport networks in helping people access work, training and essential services no matter where they live.


"The government's Local Sustainable Transport Fund has delivered £600m nationally for innovative local transport schemes which help boost growth and cut carbon emissions. In addition, we have invested £20m in developing the provision of community transport, which provides a lifeline to people across the country.”



Read more of the Sustrans report

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