'Sustainable Transport for 2020 and Beyond: From Town and City Centres to the Suburbs'
At the Act TravelWise Annual Conference on Thursday 30 January 2020 in Birmingham, our theme centres on solutions specific to the geography of where people live – emphasising the need for different strategies to address the needs of town and city centres vs inner and outer suburbs.
Town and city centres have long been a focus of sustainable transport initiatives, as interventions there benefit everyone, including visitors. They're where amenities are most concentrated, where alternatives to car use are most viable, and where the highest levels of air pollution and congestion are found. The trend of repopulating city centres continues apace, led by the under-30s.
However, only 4% of the UK population lives in city centres. In our efforts to reduce car dependence and achieve our ‘net zero’ climate target, we must also focus on the places where most of us live – the suburbs. With up to 51% of the UK population living there (depending on how suburbs are geographically defined*), suburbanites deserve a larger share of attention in the sustainable transport arena. Here it is useful to distinguish between inner suburbs (which evolved around public transport corridors and stations) and post-war, car dependent outer suburbs.
In the context of ambitious government targets for new home building, we must avoid ‘building in’ car dependence in new development. This means creating higher density, mixed-use development rather than isolated housing estates with few amenities within walking distance. It also means targeting brownfield sites for new development, as this reduces the pressure for outward expansion.
The conference will bring together experts from across the sustainable transport and planning worlds to explore:
• How should sustainable transport be integrated into town and city centres as well as inner and outer suburbs?
• How can new development avoid the pitfalls of car dependency?
• What can we learn from successful strategies already in place?
* There is no ONS definition of a suburb. However the Centre for Cities has defined the town/city centre as the area within a 0.5 mile radius of the centre point in towns/cities of 135,000-550,000 residents, a 0.8 mile radius for cities of 550,000 to 4 milllion and a radius of 2.0 miles for London. Those living within these 59 towns and cities but outside that radius can be considered as suburban residents according to Paul Swinney, the Centre for Cities Director of Policy and Research – although we may more typically refer to the 'inner suburbs' as urban districts and neighbourhoods.
This year the conference will be held in one larger room, in cabaret style rather than theatre style, with a 30 minute group activity in every session. So there will be more chance to get to know your peers and share your knowledge and experience.
08:45: Registration table opens; tea/coffee; exhibitors
09:15: Welcome and Opening Presentations
• Welcome from Act TravelWise
• "Traffic Removal in the UK and Europe" (Dr Steve Melia, Centre for Transport & Society, University of the West of England)
• "Transport and New Homes: Getting it Right" (Stephen Joseph OBE, Transport for New Homes)
• Mobility Hub Game - A fun group activity illustrating successful strategies for reclaiming streets for sustainable modes (led by Richard Dilks, Chief Executive, CoMoUK; designed by partners in the SHARE-North EU Interreg project)
10:35: Refreshment break
10:50: Town and City Centres
• "Micromobility: Maximising the Benefits in Town and City Centres" (Tom Cohen, Senior Fellow (Research & Teaching), UCL Centre for Transport Studies
• "Air Quality Plan Consultation and Engagement: Examples from Sheffield and Bradford" (Paul Osborne, SYSTRA)
• "Observation of Driver and Pedestrian Behaviour in Comparable Streets Designed as Different Shared Space Typologies" (David McKenna, Urban Landscape Designer, Street Spirit Design)
• Group activity on resigning public space for people
12:20: TravelWise Week Awards Presentation
12:30: Buffet lunch
1:30: Inner and Outer Suburbs
• "Commuting Cycling Routes and Their Role in Retrofitting Suburbia: What Infrastructure Quality is Necessary to Realise Modal Shift?" (Felicia Bjersing, Traffic Engineer - Walking and Cycling, Witteveen + Bos UK)
• "School Streets: What? Where? Why" (Agnese Polonara, SYSTRA)
• "Connecting Leeds: Using Digital Tools for Engagement" (Dr David Janner-Klausner, Director of Customer Success, Commonplace)
• Group activity on the impact of population density on neighbourhood amenity levels and public transport service frequency
3:00: Refreshment break
3:15: New Development - Greenfield and Brownfield Sites
• "How Can Local Authorities Enable the Best Future Mobility Outcome from New Development?" (Fiona Coull, Future Mobility Consultant, WSP)
• "Facilitating Sustainable Mobility During a Large-Scale Workforce Relocation to MediaCity UK - A Brownfield Transit Oriented Development" (Andy Binder, Senior Transport Planner, WSP)
• "How Do We Allocate New Homes in Sustainable Places?: A Case Study from Oxfordshire" (Neil Taylor, Director, ITP)
• Group activity on prioritisation/weighting of top 10 sustainability features in new development
4:30: Conclusions and Closing Words
4:45: Pub social (Bacchus Bar, downstairs at basement level)
6:00: Transport for New Homes: Beyond Car-Dependence event (separate registration, venue: The Warehouse, 54-57 Allison Street, Birmingham B5 5TH)
Register now via Eventbrite, with free places available for presenters and Act TravelWise members sending one delegate. Feel free to contact Randall Ghent (contact info above) if you require an invoice for your conference booking.
The rates are £195 private sector, £115 public sector / third sector, £85 member - additional delegate, and £0 free for member - first delegate. Please check your membership status prior to registration.
Those staying in Birmingham the night before can meet up for a pub social at Purecraft Bar & Kitchen (30 Waterloo Street, B2 5TJ) from 7:00 pm onwards. If you have a large group coming along for a meal, please book a table via the pub's website. For just drinks, it won't be necessary.
The following evening, just after the conference, you can join us at the Bacchus Bar, just downstairs from the venue. Tables can also be booked via the pub's website.
Nearby hotels offer better deals than the hotel venue itself. Nearby budget options include the Comfort Inn, easyHotel and Ibis. You can use a booking site such as Booking.com. Search for Birmingham City Centre and use the map view to find options near New Street station and the venue (Macdonald Burlington Hotel).
The conference venue is located just next to Birmingham New Street rail station, which is the city's main station. Just walk across the tram line on Stephenson Street and enter the Burlington Arcade. The stairs are in front of you and the lifts are on the left just inside the arcade. The conference is held in the Horton Suite, one level above the Macdonald Burlington hotel reception.
For those such as exhibitors who will be driving to the conference, there's a loading/unloading bay at the bottom of Burlington Arcade on Stephenson Street, where the tram line runs, accessed from Navigation Street. This is just across from New Street Station. Parking is at NCP Birmingham New Street. It's normally £30 but it will only cost £9.50 for 24 hours if you have your ticket stamped by hotel reception. However, the discount does not work if you pre-book the parking.
All conference queries should be directed to Randall Ghent, 07960 180851, [email protected]