Parcels delivered to bus stops among ideas to reduce West Midlands traffic

Packages and parcels could be delivered to nearby bus stops in a bid to stop direct deliveries to people’s homes.

Would you go to the bus stop to collect your parcel?
Would you go to the bus stop to collect your parcel?

It is part of futuristic proposals being mooted for Birmingham and the wider West Midlands region, which also involve asking people to consider ditching their cars and having more roads closed to through-traffic.

A consultation paper from Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) states existing efforts to boost sustainable travel are not “enough to generate sufficient travel behaviour changes” to address environmental, social and economic challenges including climate change.

The papers states its current schemes “tend to make a big difference in some areas but their impacts across the wider region are more limited” and says we all need to think about changing the way we travel.

It makes a series of suggestions of possibilities residents could consider to bring about bigger changes to transport use – particularly a reduction in private vehicle use.

Problems with car use identified include increased energy consumption, carbon emissions and road wear – while the paper states in some areas “the number of local vehicles has simply exceeded the capacity to park them safely”.

Proposals will also look at ways to encourage people to leave their cars at home

In the consultation paper, residents in urban and suburban areas asked about:

  • Not having their own car and using a nearby electric car club instead

  • Using a local parcel locker at a bus/tram stop or railway station, rather than receiving deliveries at home

  • Reducing access to private vehicles on their roads and living in a low traffic neighbourhood

Meanwhile, those in rural areas are being asked about:

  • Using an electric bike/scooter to reach the nearest village if safer routes are provided

  • Using 'demand responsive transport' instead of a timetabled bus service

The paper contains a foreword by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and Councillor Ian Ward, Birmingham City Council leader and West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) portfolio holder for transport.

It states: “[…] Significant challenges remain in tackling the defining issues of our time, such as climate change, air quality, our health, and now our economic recovery from the pandemic.

“This paper poses some difficult questions about how we address these challenges. But it also offers real hope that, with a collective effort, we can create a West Midlands that leads the way in tackling these issues.

“This is the start of a conversation with residents, organisations and businesses on the kinds of changes we want to see in our transport system and the trade-offs required.”

The Conservative group on Birmingham City Council have been critical of initiatives to limit car use such as Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone – which it dubs the travel tax.

Group leader Councillor Robert Alden said: “Residents need as many options as possible to be able to make the choices that are right for them and their circumstances.

Image of possible transport options in older urban neighbourhoods. Photo: Transport for West Midlands

“If successfully elected next year we will work closely with the WMCA to ensure a common-sense joined-up approach across the region designing and investing in a transport network fit for the future.

“In particular we will be fighting to secure the new rail stations to the north and south of the city like a new station for Castle Vale.

“This is a consultation and we have always supported giving residents’ viable alternatives to cars but not by just by pricing people out of driving like the city council’s travel tax does.”

The full green paper can be found on the TfWM website, and responses to the consultation are needed before the end of August 27.

Responses will shape the updated Local Transport Plan (LTP) which will be worked on over the coming year.

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