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HEA6 - Delivering a safe, efficient, accessible, sustainable and health-enabling transport system


Transport planning and investment can play a significant role in delivering a healthy city and the Plan will help deliver a transport system that enables and encourages sustainable and active travel choices, provides good accessibility for the city's population to jobs and services, and supports a healthy environment.

  • Image Park Ride
  • Image Bus
  • Photo by LOGAN WEAVER
  • Photo by John Torcasio


The city will deliver a transport system that enables and encourages sustainable and active travel choices, provides good accessibility for the city's population to jobs and services, and supports a healthy environment. This will involve:

  1. Using the planning process to:
    1. deliver safe and convenient facilities for walking, cycling and public transport;
    2. address air quality, carbon emissions and noise pollution;
    3. actively promote sustainable travel choices.
  2. Designing transport infrastructure projects to take full account of the needs of all users, the wider community and place shaping needs of the area, whilst also helping to minimise air quality and noise pollution.
  3. Facilitating and encouraging walking and cycling through protecting the amenity and safety of the public realm, avoiding street clutter and other unnecessary obstructions and structures, making specific provision for people with disabilities, and maintaining and improving the Public Rights of Way network.
  4. Delivering the Strategic Cycle Network and facilities for cyclists which encourage both recreational cycling and the greater use of cycling as a primary mode of transport.
  5. Delivering a public transport system that everyone can use, including working with the bus companies to provide easier ticketing, clear journey planning and timetable information, and accessible boarding and alighting across the city.
  6. Working with public transport providers to ensure that each neighbourhood is well connected to the city's High Quality Public Transport Network offering good accessibility to key destinations.
  7. Investing in and promoting the growth of an electric vehicle charging network and continuing to work with partners to harness the benefits of alternative fuel technologies.
  8. Delivering a co-ordinated approach, through new development design and retrospective modifications, to reduce road casualties and air and noise pollution, including 20mph limits and zones where appropriate.
  9. Working with our partners, including the charitable sector, to provide community transport to enable people who cannot use conventional public transport to access health, leisure, shopping and social opportunities within the city and surrounding area.
  10. Working with regional partners, agencies and public transport operators to deliver an integrated transport system across all modes covering key locations within and adjoining the Plymouth Travel to Work Area.


This policy is supported by the Joint Local Plan which explains how the planning process will be used to deliver a health-enabling transport system.

Transport planning and investment can play a significant role in delivering a healthy city in three primary ways. Firstly, through encouraging active travel such as walking and cycling, with the significant direct health benefits that are derived from physical exercise; secondly, through making it easier for people to get to services they need for their personal well-being and the things that will help them live healthier lives; and thirdly, through designing a safer, more accessible and more environmentally sustainable transport system.

The city will continue to remove barriers to active travel (walking and cycling) and encourage walking and cycling as sustainable and active modes. The continued delivery of the city's Public Rights of Way and Strategic Cycle Network will encourage much higher levels of both walking and cycling and help to address low levels of physical activity, which will in turn help to tackle increasing levels of obesity and obesity-related illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. Active travel also promotes mental wellbeing and helps to address loneliness and social exclusion.

The design of transport infrastructure should be appropriate to the location in terms of getting the right balance between place and movement and of high quality, supporting the creation of quality places, and with a view to removing street clutter and barriers to make it easier for people to move around. For example, changes to the street environment such as dropped kerbs and removing street clutter can significantly improve mobility and accessibility for all. Increased feelings of personal safety are also an important factor for increasing levels of walking and cycling, particularly at night and this needs to be addressed through considered design.

Vehicle emissions and noise can have a significant impact on the natural environment and on human health. The city will continue to monitor and report on air quality and noise and will implement measures to address issues where appropriate. More journeys made by foot, bike and public transport will reduce the number of journeys made by car, reduce air pollution and the respiratory illnesses and premature deaths it contributes to. Investing in and promoting the growth of an electric vehicle charging network and other emerging alternative fuel technologies will also help to reduce air pollution and its health impacts.

A comprehensive network of frequent, affordable, accessible bus services is vital to ensuring access for many to the things that are essential to good physical and mental wellbeing - health services, healthy food, sport and leisure opportunities and green spaces. Equally, decisions about where to locate any new GP surgeries, health centres and services, shops selling healthy food, new sport and leisure facilities can help to improve access to them.

A key requirement of the city's sustainable transport network is that people can easily travel between neighbourhoods within the city, as well as to the city's key destinations such as the City Centre and Derriford, by the most appropriate mode of transport (as set out in the transport hierarchy diagram within the Joint Local Plan), for the length of their journey, personal needs and trip purpose. This requires an integrated, high quality, sustainable transport system. People need sufficient travel choices so that they can conveniently travel to visit friends and relatives, community facilities, and key services, across Plymouth and its urban fringe.

Between 2000 and 2015 the number of people injured in road collisions has reduced by a third through a combination of education, enforcement and engineering programmes. Additionally, speed management initiatives have played a significant role in reducing casualty numbers. There is a strong link between speed and road casualties. Reducing the average speed of traffic on a road by 1 mph leads to an expected reduction of 5 per cent in the number of collisions on that road. There is a well-understood relationship between the speed of a crash and the impact, and therefore the likely severity of any injuries. However, despite a long term continued decrease in road casualties, there were still 810 people injured on Plymouth's roads in 2015, therefore taking action on improving safety for all road users will remain of significant importance.

The fear of being injured in a traffic-related collision is a real concern for residents and the perceived danger acts as a barrier to travel for many, often deterring people from choosing to walk or cycle. Fear for safety is particularly prevalent when choosing how to travel to school, for example. Parents who drive to school often cite safety as the main reason for choosing to drive their child every day rather than walk or cycle. The city will continue to deliver a targeted approach to road safety education and awareness raising. The introduction of 20 mph speed limits in residential areas, especially near schools, will be considered on a case by case basis, in consultation with the community, mindful of the need to support efficient operation of the network overall. Alongside a prioritised asset management maintenance programme. This will make the journeys around the city by all modes safer and further encourage active travel.

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