Ashden Events

Seeing is Believing

Seeing is Believing

This is a past event. If you would like to learn more you can read about our Liveable Cities programme here or please get in touch with

Tackling congestion has always been near the top of a town or city leader’s agenda. More recently, it’s been joined by significant public pressure to improve air quality. Sustainable transport initiatives can improve both these things, while reducing emissions, making people’s lives easier and healthier and improving access to employment, education and services.

There is a huge amount to learn from cities that are doing this well. Many, like Nottingham, are keen to share their experience with towns and cities that have ambitious plans of their own, helping them avoid obstacles and go further faster.

Our Seeing is Believing study tour in Nottingham was be a chance to learn first-hand about the benefits, challenges and best way forward on the four initiatives below.

Format of the day 

The day was broken into sections, with a chance to learn in-depth about each project. The focus was on the nuts and bolts of making them happen, and how they can be replicated and implemented more swiftly by learning from experience. The people sharing the work were those directly involved, ready to answer questions all day long.

Tangible and practical learning was offered, with the chance to experience Nottingham’s sustainable transport investments first hand, much of it enabled by their WPL. Other parts of the day were based in meeting rooms, but flavoured by hearing directly from project beneficiaries and the councillors whose passion helped make them happen.

Who will be there? 

Attendees included town and city leaders, transport and/or sustainability officials and councillors from local authorities around the country, offering a unique opportunity to network with your peers, and engage with the policy experts also attending.

Sustainable transport initiatives covered during the day: 

  • Nottingham workplace parking levy (WPL) – as the first of its kind in the country, the WPL has enabled Nottingham to raise money to invest in public transport, as well as aiming to tackle congestion and associated poor air quality. Since charging began in 2012 over £44 million of revenue has been generated with 100% compliance of liable employers. The WPL team operate at less than 5% of revenue, with the remainder invested in improving public transport. It has enabled a step change in transport infrastructure, more than doubling the size of the city’s tram network through a £570m extension, a £60m redevelopment of the city’s Railway Station and support for the £15m award-winning fully electric Link bus network. It has also contributed towards the development of Nottingham’s travel smartcard, as well as being used as match funding when securing external funds from Department of Transport and elsewhere.
  • Big Birmingham Bikes (BBB) – originally a Birmingham City Council initiative, now a social enterprise, has provided more than 4,000 free bikes and cycle training to residents living in deprived areas, in order to improve their mobility, health and wellbeing, as well as to increase access to workplaces, education and training. The scheme encourages people to travel by bike rather than private car, reducing congestion and pollution.
  • Liftshare – is helping fill empty car seats on the roads while offering a friendlier, greener and cheaper way to travel. By helping employers set up car sharing schemes and providing a free online national car sharing network, the organisation enables around 80,000 journeys to be taken off the road every day, which it estimates will save around 110,000 tonnes of CO2 each year. A typical commuter saves £1,000 a year and can access job opportunities they otherwise couldn’t reach.
  • Chargemaster – is putting in place the charging infrastructure needed to meet the UK’s electric vehicle ambitions. They won the contract to support Nottingham’s Go Ultra Low programme, and will be installing 230 charging points over 3 years. At least 11 will be in place within 6 months.

If you would like to learn more you can read about our Liveable Cities programme here or please get in touch with

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