Memorandum by the Pedestrians Association
INTEGRATED TRANSPORT WHITE PAPER
1. The Pedestrians Association welcomes the
White Paper and the recognition, for the first time in such a
policy document, that walking is:
(a) a form of transport in its own right,
(b) an essential part of many journeys by
bus and train,
(c) a contributor to good health, and
(d) an aspect of living that includes nearly
The Association would, however, like to draw
the attention of the Select Committee to the following unresolved
2. If walking in towns cities and villages is
to be made safer and more comfortable, it is essential to reduce
vehicle speeds. The higher the speed, the greater the threat and
noise of traffic for people on foot. And the more serious the
injury in collisions. Not surprisingly undue speed deters parents
from allowing children to walk to school and explore their neighbourhoods.
It is also a deterrent to walking for Britain's growing number
of elderly people.
3. The Association welcomes the announcement
in the White Paper of a speed limit review and improved funding
for speed cameras. But we believe that Britain ought also be developing
automated speed control.
4. The Swedish Government is spending US$9 million
on experiments in four cities with "intelligent speed adaptation".
Roadside beacons located at speed limit thresholds will engage
the engine management systems of 5,000 experimentally modified
vehiclesand slow them appropriately.
5. The Government should promote related trials
in Britain. One question to be asked is the comparative cost and
effectiveness of traffic calming by highway engineering and by
electronic speed management. Such an evaluation should look particularly
at noise, gas emissions and fuel consumption.
6. Trials of electronic speed adaptation would
begin the vital task of preparing public opinion for more rigorous
speed control; they would also hasten the day when speed is dependably
controlled by day and night, in town streets and country lanes.
Safer routes to everywhere
7. The Pedestrians Association welcomes the
Government's commitment to improve the safety and comfort of walking
to school. However it is just as important to have safe walking
routes to the shops, the high street, the hospital, the football
ground, the sports centre and other attractors of people. People
walk everywhereso safe routes are needed everywhere.
Designing cities and towns for walking
8. "Places Streets and Movement",
the DETR's newly published companion to Design Bulletin 32, sets
out how the design of groups of houses should start by making
them places for people and that access by cars should be subordinated
to such a goal.
9. The Millennium village at the Greenwich peninsula
illustrates this kind of approach. Yet it will be divided from
the adjacent Sainsbury's by a dual carriageway and a vast roundabout.
This shows how traditional highway engineering still controls
the design of major urban roads and creates places impassible
10. The objectives of the White Paper will not
be delivered if main town roads continue to be designed in such
ways. Research and trials are needed to identify new ways of designing
main town roads so that they are not barriers to movement on foot.
Changing the culture of highway and traffic engineers
11. The White Paper sets out a major change
of direction for transport policy. But things will only begin
to happen in a new way on the ground when there is a change of
thinking amongst highway and traffic engineers. What is the Government
doing to promote this change in culture? A White Paper daughter
document on walking will be published in October (the Report of
the National Walking Steering Group chaired by Glenda Jackson).
And the IHT is producing a technical handbook on design for walking.
We believe that more is needed.
Model towns that professionals can visit
12. The DETR should mount a competition amongst
local authorities to generate ideas for creating towns (or districts
in towns) that are exemplary their friendliness for people on
foot. The implementation of two or three winning entries should
be by a partnership partly financed by DETR.