Traffic and communities

Cyclists wearing swiming gear beside the River Ely

Local group members try to cross the River Ely

Traffic and communities

Increased traffic change the whole character of a neighbourhood for the worse. Heavy traffic is noisy, dirty and intrusive. It carves up neighbourhoods and creates fear and isolation. As traffic levels rise there is a downward spiral.

Residents use the streets as little as possible, so they are seen as unsafe and living there is less desirable. The result is less of a community and less security. A study in San Francisco, showed residents on streets with light traffic had three-times as many local friends and twice as many acquaintances as those on streets with heavy traffic.

Children and traffic

Children’s freedom to travel independently has been reduced dramatically over the last 40 years. Parents fear for their children’s safety near roads. This reduces accidents but makes children prisoners in their own homes. Nearly four times as many children went to school by car in 1990 compared to 1971.

Children now:

  • Travel less in their local area
  • Have less chance to meet friends and neighbours
  • Spend hours in cars going to school or on holiday
  • Spend more time alone in front of the TV and computer

This means many children don’t develop the social skills they need as adults.

The Government has told local councils to reduce child accident rates in their areas. Everyone supports this, but the councils have not been given any more money to do it.

Other ways to improve out lives an reduce dependance on cars include:

  • Buses
  • Cycling
  • Rail
  • Walking