Leicester (United Kingdom)

Leicester is a city of 280,000 inhabitants (2001 census) on the River Soar at the edge of the National Forest in the East Midlands, England. Lying 143 km north of London, Leicester is the 10th most populous city in the UK and the eighth largest in England. The city is progressing towards a more sustainable transport system...

According to 2010 figures, the modal split of vehicles entering the city center was 36.7 percent for cars and large goods vehicles; 34.1 percent for bus; 28.7 percent for walking; 1.1 percent for bicycles; 0.3 percent for other goods vehicles; and 0.2 percent for motorcycles. The biggest modal change had been in walking, whose share rose from 21.8 to 28.7 percent from 2006 to 2010. These statistics were from the evidence base of Leicester’s Third Local Transport Plan.

Leicester’s road network runs 788 km. Car and van registrations in the city stand at 111,148 vehicles, giving an average of 2.5 residents per vehicle; 38.3 percent of households have no vehicle registered at their address.

In accordance with UK law, the city’s efforts in the field of sustainable mobility are guided by local transport plans (LTPs). The Leicester City Council organizes a plan together with the Leicestershire County Council. The first five-year plan (LTP1) was effective from 2001 to 2006 and the second (LTP2) from 2006 to 2011. The third (LTP3) took effect in April 2011.

Through the LTP2, Leicester City Council delivered measures that have helped to provide a more effective and efficient transport system. Whilst the council’s aim is to achieve the same through LTP3, the way in which it will deliver this objective will have a greater emphasis on financial resources, low-carbon outcomes and challenges presented by growth.

In a strategy to reduce traffic congestion, the council outlines several route-specific measures as well as “generic” steps to accommodate growth of overall transport while limiting the increase in journey times. The strategy calls for facilitating a modal shift from cars to bus, bicycles and walking; measures to make more efficient use of existing road space; and locating new housing where there is less need for travel. The council’s success will be limited without significant public transport improvements in the city center.

To deliver the congestion control objective, the council is likely to:


  • continue working with partners;
  • continue to undertake and support campaigns;
  • improve public transport routing particularly in the city center;
  • investigate and develop a business case for trams - mass rapid transit;
  • support and encourage public transport focused development;
  • improve on street bus stands in strategic city center locations (bus stations and interchanges);
  • prepare a business case for new bus termini and routing (bus stations and interchanges);
  • support and lobby for rail improvements serving Leicester;
  • support and encourage land-use measures that reduce congestion and journey times;
  • facilitate journey planning including working up a business case for a smarter choices company or trust;
  • develop the business case for variable message signs;
  • implement and monitor the success of a programme to make journey planning available to city residents; and
  • investigate charging (pricing) schemes including for workplace parking.

The Leicester and Leicestershire councils work with various community partnerships in the field of mobility, including the Quality Bus Partnership, Freight Quality Partnership and Cycle Forum. At a regional level there has been close engagement with the Government Office for East Midlands (GOEM). The Leicester City Council is also a partner of Walking for Health, a UK-wide initiative. In 2010 the City achieved 2nd place in the Sustainable Cities Index.


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