“Lots of people making a small change can make a significant contribution to repairing our climate”
North Central Hertfordshire Growth and Transport plan puts improvements for car users as lower priority than walking, cycling and public transport, supporting local residents to switch to more sustainable transport. This month we are sharing some ideas on how each of us can follow the councils lead and start to reduce our reliance on the car.
Shorter journeys, those of a mile or less, are the ones where it is often easiest to change transport mode. If you can plan in a little more time for these journeys they can often be made on foot. For slightly longer regular trips why not shorten the car journey by stopping early and walking the last part of the journey? For trips with busy final destinations, this can bring an additional benefit of reducing the stress and cost of parking.
Letchworth is the North Hertfordshire town with the highest reliance on the car for the school run, with 31% of journeys made by car. If parents and carers can walk some or all of the journey to school this will alleviate congestion around school gates and make it a safer environment for everyone.
We have all heard the messages that walking or cycling can improve our health and fitness levels. Using the car a bit less is good for the budget as well. If you are keeping a car just as a little runabout you may eventually decide it’s not worth it, and you would be financially better off using a taxi on the odd occasion it’s not possible to use sustainable transport.
Peter Willcox, who is the current chair of Transition Town Letchworth has explained his journey to reducing his reliance on the car. “Personally, I avoid taking the car whenever I can, and have done for decades. If you look, it’s amazing how many places you can actually get to on public transport. If a journey is too far to walk and public transport proves too problematic, I work hard to find someone with whom to share transport. The result of these decades of limited car use is that I think carefully about each trip, sometimes even concluding that, actually, I don’t need to make the trip.”