How do people travel in and around Beckenham?

In late 2021 Copers Cope Area Residents’ Association partnered with Bromley Living Streets to distribute a survey to better understand how Beckenham residents travel, what is currently working well, and the challenges faced for safe and sustainable travel. Flyers promoting the online survey were distributed to residents across Beckenham, and also shared via Twitter, Facebook and Nextdoor. The majority of responses were received via the flyers, for residents across three local wards: Beckenham Town and Copers Cope, Clock House, and Kelsey and Eden Park.

The survey results gave a detailed picture of the how people travel in and around Beckenham. By providing a more in-depth picture of the diverse travel needs of Beckenham residents, we aim to improve the quality of debate and deliberation over local transport issues.

The survey results will be shared across multiple blog posts due to the amount of data collected. This first blog posts presents the results on how residents travel, what currently works well, and what challenges residents face with respect to local travel, streets and public spaces.

About the survey

What did we ask?
1. How do local residents travel for work, shopping and recreation?
2. What currently works well for residents, with respect to local travel, streets and public spaces?
3. What are the main challenges faced by residents, with respect to local travel, streets and public spaces?
4. What barriers to residents face to walking or cycling more?
5. Do residents use the Albemarle Road cycle lane?
6. How do residents travel to Beckenham High Street, and what do they use it for?
7. How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted on residents’ work and travel patterns?

Who responded to the survey?
1,012 residents responded to the survey. As shown in the graph below, over-65s were strongly represented, with very few responses from residents aged under 25.

61% of respondents were in paid work and 25% of respondents worked on a fully- or partially-remote basis. 21% of responses came from families with school-age children, and 9% of respondents had health issues or disabilities which limited their mobility.

The map below shows the postcodes for which survey responses were submitted. These responses broadly spanned four wards: Penge & Cator, Clock House, Beckenham Town & Copers Cope, and Kelsey & Eden Park.

Locations of survey responses, by postcode. Each marker represents a postcode where one or more responses were completed.

How do residents travel to work, for shopping, and to visit friends and family?

There were big differences in travel habits: to commute to work, the most common ways to travel are by train or tram, working remotely, or walking. In contrast, shopping trips are mostly by walking, private car, ordering online and then by bus or tram. Trips to visit friends or family were the most likely to be taken by private car, followed by train, walking, or bus.

Retired residents are more likely to do the shopping on foot, by bus, or by private car, and less likely to go shopping by bicycle or using deliveries. Families with school-age children are more likely to use delivery services, or travel by bicycle. They are less likely to walk, drive, or travel by bus.

What currently works well for residents?

The results showed that a lot of residents were happy with the number and quality of parks and green spaces in and around Beckenham. The redevelopment of the High Street several years ago, and the temporary measures introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic were also appreciated. These included wider pavements, outdoor seating for restaurants and cafes, street trees and planters to close off on-street parking on the High Street. Parks and green spaces, as well as bus and rail services, were more important to retired residents. Families valued wider pavements and the quality of street cleaning and maintenance.

What are the main challenges faced by residents?

Overall, the main concerns were speeding, the amount of road traffic and the lack of community toilets. Retired residents are more likely to be concerned about the lack of community toilets, poorly maintained footpaths and roads, and the lack of public seating. Contrastingly, families with school-age children were more likely to be concerned about speeding, the amount of road traffic, air pollution and the lack of separated cycle lanes.

The next blog post will focus on the impacts of the reduced rail services to Beckenham since the COVID-19 pandemic.