Here’s a fantasy metro network for the Isle of Wight

Mmmm over-ambitious metro maps. Image: David Atkinson, defacing an Isle of Wight Tourism Board map.

Here we go again: another fantasy metro map from a reader. You thought the Newport tram network was OTT? This time, we’re off to the Isle of Wight…

Hi there!

I love reading the blog – it is a highlight of an otherwise dull day. I especially love the speculative railways section and it reminded me of the time when I was a teenager with too much time on my hands and no concept of money or necessity. (Editor’s note: We feel attacked.)

I present to you the Isle of Wight Metro, complete with awful branding ideas. I did have another map where all the lines were straightened out but that seems to have been lost in the cloud and I can't find it on the Skyscapercity forum where I definitely posted it.

Feel free to mock as much as you like.

Click to expand.

In seriousness – the Isle of Wight does have a great, if expensive, bus network. But growing up on the Island I didn't quite realise how lucky we were – I just wanted trams and trains!

I hope you enjoy the maps.

Click to expand.

Regards,

David

If you have an over-ambitious rail proposal for your area, why not get in touch?

Want more of this stuff? Follow CityMetric on Twitter or Facebook


 

 
 
 
 

Tackling toxic air in our cities is also a matter of social justice

Oh, lovely. Image: Getty.

Clean Air Zones are often dismissed by critics as socially unfair. The thinking goes that charging older and more polluting private cars will disproportionately impact lower income households who cannot afford expensive cleaner alternatives such as electric vehicles.

But this argument doesn’t consider who is most affected by polluted air. When comparing the latest deprivation data to nitrogen dioxide background concentration data, the relationship is clear: the most polluted areas are also disproportionately poorer.

In UK cities, 16 per cent of people living in the most polluted areas also live in one of the top 10 per cent most deprived neighbourhoods, against 2 per cent who live in the least deprived areas.

The graph below shows the average background concentration of NO2 compared against neighbourhoods ranked by deprivation. For all English cities in aggregate, pollution levels rise as neighbourhoods become more deprived (although interestingly this pattern doesn’t hold for more rural areas).

Average NO2 concentration and deprivation levels. Source: IMD, MHCLG (2019); background mapping for local authorities, Defra (2019).

The graph also shows the cities in which the gap in pollution concentration between the most and the least deprived areas is the highest, which includes some of the UK’s largest urban areas.  In Sheffield, Leeds and Birmingham, there is a respective 46, 42 and 33 per cent difference in NO2 concentration between the poorest and the wealthiest areas – almost double the national urban average gap, at around 26 per cent.

One possible explanation for these inequalities in exposure to toxic air is that low-income people are more likely to live near busy roads. Our data on roadside pollution suggests that, in London, 50 per cent of roads located in the most deprived areas are above legal limits, against 4 per cent in the least deprived. In a number of large cities (Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield), none of the roads located in the least deprived areas are estimated to be breaching legal limits.

This has a knock-on impact on health. Poor quality air is known to cause health issues such as cardiovascular disease, lung cancer and asthma. Given the particularly poor quality of air in deprived areas, this is likely to contribute to the gap in health and life expectancy inequalities as well as economic ones between neighbourhoods.


The financial impact of policies such as clean air zones on poorer people is a valid concern. But it is not a justifiable reason for inaction. Mitigating policies such as scrappage schemes, which have been put in place in London, can deal with the former concern while still targeting an issue that disproportionately affects the poor.

As the Centre for Cities’ Cities Outlook report showed, people are dying across the country as a result of the air that they breathe. Clean air zones are one of a number of policies that cities can use to help reduce this, with benefits for their poorer residents in particular.

Valentine Quinio is a researcher at the Centre for Cities, on whose blog this post first appeared.