Radio 2

British journalist examines whether Ghent Traffic Plan can serve as an example to Birmingham

A journalist from the UK has visited the East Flemish city of Ghent to examine whether the council’s traffic plan there can serve as an example for her home city of Birmingham. Kathryn Stanczyszyn works as a reporter for the UK public broadcaster BBC’s local radio station BBC WM. The station serves England’s second city Birmingham as well as Wolverhampton and the Black Country.       

Currently the UK’s largest municipal authority Birmingham City Council is planning to introduce a traffic plan of its own and it often cites Ghent as an example it wishes to follow. Kathryn Stanczyszyn came to Ghent to examine how the Traffic Plan had changed the city and what its impact had been on local residents and traders.

She also spoke to city officials and representatives of the small business federation UNIZO. Kathryn Stanczyszyn told Radio 2 East Flanders that “The City Council in Birmingham wants to do something to tackle traffic. The city is in fact entirely car-orientated. The City Council wants this to change and cites Ghent as an example”.

However, Birmingham itself is more than three times bigger than Ghent and it is the centre of an urban area with a population of around 3 million people (around 7 times the population of Ghent). “There are two main reasons for switching to a new transport model: the council wants to improve air quality and a solution needs to found for the traffic that is often in gridlock”.

Birmingham’s plans are still pretty vague and the City Council doesn’t plan to implement them for another decade.