There is a spirit of anecdotal evangelism abroad in planning circles on Twitter, when it comes to discussing car ownership trends in UK cities. A typical comment will be along the lines of:
“Actually, good things are happening in our area on car ownership, it’s going in the right direction. You high street businesses should play your best card and try to attract cyclists, even though we planners haven’t provided you with any cycle racks for visitors.”
The logic seems to be that it is OK to misrepresent an actual trend, because if you report accurately on car ownership trends then it might possibly interrupt ongoing cycle and walking investment programs. And best to conceal any collateral damage suffered by the high street as we double-think this through.
Unfortunately, car ownership is going in the wrong direction, according to vehicle licensing statistics (more recent and more accurate than census data). The following graphs the trend in Tower Hamlets (based on postcodes E1, E2, E3 and E14):
Tower Hamlets Car Ownership Trend since 2010 (earliest available statistics)
So I might possibly have mentioned this before, but the trend is rising car ownership in London, and no London local authority has an objective to reduce or limit car ownership numbers.