Birmingham is a city that frequently crops up when searching for mentions of deprivation – a large, dense city with many pockets of extreme poverty and disadvantage. Like many cities with significant levels of deprivation, local authority policy tends to be quite conscious of this. An interesting example I stumbled across recently is the ‘Birmingham Bike Revolution’.
As this BBC story explains, the £24m program aims to improve cycling rates in the city and is giving away 3000 bikes to residents in the city’s most deprived areas (on completion of courses in bike riding and maintenance).
The business case for the bid also used deprivation data to support its case, noting that 40% of Birmingham’s population live in LSOAs among the 10% most deprived nationally and that some LSOAs in the bid area are in the country’s top 1%. It points out that bikes can offer a great alternative form of transport to people in deprived areas who might not be able to afford a car or regular public transport, as well as being a cheap low-impact form of exercise. Therefore promoting cycling has the potential to reduce healthcare costs in Birmingham as well as reduce inequalities in terms of access to services and employment in the deprived areas targeted by the scheme. This is a great example of how the Indices can be used to support bids.
A deprivation map of the target area for the bid (page 23) shows how the new bike lanes proposed will target deprived areas: