How often have we heard that our cities need to “Balancing the needs of all transport users”, when all this really means is that they are only thinking of car drivers – a strategy which can only mean that even they can’t be satisfied. What if Balancing the needs of all transport users actually meant what it said? This is easy enough to determine by looking at outcomes, and then working out how cities got there.

On the left, there are cities where less than 25% of journeys are by car – and oh yes, although the Swiss capital Bern has an amazing tram network, it’s also an admirable performer for cycling, even with all those hills! Yet if we’re going to look for places with an even mix, it’s better to look at somewhere that has bars which are as close as possible to equal in length – that’s Dresden, where just over 60% of journeys are made on foot, by bike or by public transport (nowhere has an exact 4 x 1/4 split, but Dresden is closest to this).

Then towards the right, we have the car dependent cities – Coventry is already well to the right, but look further still and find Liverpool, the city we are using as a model to remove our bus lanes!

I’ll let the graph do the rest of the talking.



  • Table taken from Wikipedia page on overall mode share – some of these dates are old, but this is the best data I can get hold of.
  • Coventry and Liverpool have been added, using latest available figures.
  • The original table contained some cities in North America and Australasia – I have removed these to enable easy comparison.


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