Brighton & Hove has won Europe’s top environmental award for policies to promote clean transport.
It was named as City of the Year in the CIVITAS Awards 2014, today (Friday September 26).
The prize is awarded each year to the city which best demonstrates implementation of ambitious sustainable transport policies. These must show active involvement of local people, overcome challenges and help meet CIVITAS goals on cleaner, better transport in European cities.
The city council scored heavily with policies to promote cycling and bus travel, as well as offering schools, businesses and residents advice on smarter transport choices with “personal travel planning”.
Bus initiatives have included electronic real-time boards at bus stops linked to satellite tracking which show exactly when the bus will arrive, plus smartcard and smartphone ticketing,
Improved cycle infrastructure includes reconfiguring dangerous junctions such as Seven Dials and the Vogue Gyratory and a ‘floating’ bus stop on Lewes Road which prevent buses having to cross the path of bikes. The council has also promoted cycle priority and ‘head-start’ lights for bikes at junctions and built cycle lanes to segregate bikes from fast traffic on main routes.
Elsewhere in places such as North Laine, cycle contraflow lanes have been created, meaning bikes can go either way along one-way streets, shortening journeys.
On public engagement, the council said it had consulted almost 85,000 people on Phases 2 and 3 of its roll-out of 20mph speed limits, proven to reduce the severity of accidents. Some 70,000 people had been visited at home and offered advice on personal travel planning since 2006.
The council says such policies have led to continued growth of bus travel, with 46.4 million passenger journeys being made per year. Numbers of people cycling to work have doubled in ten years. Where the council has installed new segregated cycle lanes and floating bus stops on Lewes Road, in 2013, cycle journeys had increased by 14 per cent. Road safety had improved with a yearly decline in the number and severity of accidents.
Lead councillor for transport Ian Davey said: “These award-winning initiatives are not novel to Brighton & Hove – instead they represent best practice all across Europe. However the difference we have made is in actually delivering best practice in Brighton & Hove, instead of the city lagging behind Britain and Europe.
“It’s immensely satisfying to have this recognised by a judging panel of renowned transport experts from the UK and abroad – and to have it recognised that we have involved huge numbers of residents in these decisions.”