On 12th October Birmingham City Council’s cabinet will vote on closing roads to through traffic and introducing a fleet of zero-emission buses and building additional cycleways.
The Birmingham Transport Plan (BTP), which sets out the vision for transport investment for up to 2031, is centred around several key principles, including the change in the allocation of road space away from single-occupancy private cars, and the transformation of the city centre by creating a network of pedestrian streets and public spaces.
The report also states that where development potential exists, for example where land is currently being used for car parking, it will be put to "more productive use". According to the Birmingham City Council, the plan will also support the creation of jobs, inward investment and be good news for the environment.
According to the Council’s cabinet, the way that people and goods move through Birmingham city centre needs to change fundamentally.
“Without change in our approach, these opportunities and benefits will be constrained by poor air quality in our city, a lack of transport capacity and further adverse social and environmental impacts.”
"We know that our over-dependence on private motor cars is bad for the health of ourselves and our families, bad for our communities and bad for business, and bad for the future in terms of transport's contribution to carbon emissions, which accelerate the climate emergency.”
The investment into the city’s transport system and the implementation of schemes to prioritise people over cars will help develop a cleaner, greener, healthier and more sustainable environment for the people of Birmingham. To convert people to cleaner and healthier forms of transport, Birmingham, including the central area, will be split into seven zones. Rather than driving directly between zones, motorists will be diverted via the A4540ring road.
“We’re one of the original motor cities,” said Birmingham city council’s member for transport and environment, Waseem Zaffar.
However, like many UK cities, Birmingham suffers from an excess of single-occupancy car journeys, with 25% of the city’s car journeys being one mile or less.
Earlier in the year, Birmingham City Council launched its Clean Air Zone (CAZ) which requires drivers of older cars, vans and trucks to pay a daily fee to enter the city’s centre. The CAZ applies to all vehicles that fail to meet the minimum emissions standards of Euro 6 for diesel, Euro 4 for petrol and restrictions are on all roads within Birmingham’s A4540Middleway Ring Road, except the ring road itself. The CAZ is operational 24hours a day, seven days a week, including bank holidays.
Aside from the positive impact, these changes will have on the environment and the city’s sustainability, there are also hopes that the investment will allow Birmingham to continue to grow and prosper.