Generally speaking, wherever people live, they like to think they’ll have relatively easy access to the things that are important to them – shops, leisure facilities, their place of work, the hospital, etc. So the transport network is often an important factor in dictating where we live, because we need to know we’ll be able to move around the city, town or village, as well as reach places outside of it, whether in the region, country or, increasingly, around the world. What’s perhaps less acknowledged is quite how important that transport network is to making and shaping the characteristics of that place we choose to live in. It is as integral as the buildings, facilities, planning regimes, services, people, natural landscape and weather, to name but a few, and we overlook it at our peril.
Let’s consider our home city of Plymouth. A number of transport schemes are under way at the moment or have recently been completed: the Charles Cross junction improvement; the Eastern Corridor improvement; the Northern Corridor improvement; and the new Forder Valley link road to provide better access to Derriford from the A38. All of these schemes are about making it easier for people – motorists, bus users and cyclists, mainly – to get around more easily.