Memorandum by the Transport Planning Society
A NEW DEAL FOR TRANSPORTBETTER FOR
The Transport Planning Society was established
on 1 October 1997 to fill an acknowledged need for an independent
multi-disciplinary forum to address transport planning issues
and is supported by the Chartered Institute of Transport, Institute
of Civil Engineers, Institution of Highways and Transportation
and the Royal Town Planning Institute. Members are practising
professionals drawn from diverse backgrounds and are united in
their professional commitment to deliver a sustainable and integrated
transport framework. Consequently, the Society has no modal, commercial
or other interest to promote.
2. THE VISION
At the root of transport policy must be an overall
vision at the national, regional and local level encompassing
the wider social, economic and environmental aims of the community.
Such a vision can only be determined by society's elected representatives
reflecting current public opinion. Effective integrated transport
provision is vital to the delivery of these goals.
Transport Planners are professionally equipped
to design integrated transport solutions and address the trade-offs
between transport and other goals, but will be prevented from
fulfilling this promise without a workable institutional framework.
The absence of suitable means for the delivery is the main obstacle
to the implementation of the integrated transport system sought.
The Society is concerned that there shall be
early establishment of the fundamental mechanisms necessary for
the planning, implementation and management of an integrated national
transport system and local sub-systems.
The Society welcomes the white paper as an excellent
definition of the overall policy context for integrated transport,
particularly given a 20 year absence of a national framework.
However, we are concerned at the lack of detail and the lack of
clarity concerning the timescale for the vital legislation.
3. A REQUIRED FRAMEWORK
Having established a national framework for
policy, delivery of many responsibilities in the white paper is
clearly delegated to Local Authorities and Regional Planning Conferences
through Local Transport Plans and regional transport strategies.
The "daughter" documents need to amplify these, by setting
a framework for planning and funding
co-ordination of transport with other
Local Authority functions;
local/regional targets within the
government's overall policies;
parameters for the successful determination
and application of policy locally/regionally.
It is important that any functions to remain
at a national government level should be identified and clearly
The range of powers required by those accountable
for delivery of the integrated solutions must include:
Traffic management, control and restraint
through congestion charging and parking restrictions at traffic
Funding through the proposed use
of the charges levied for access to urban areas, motorway and
trunk road tolls and parking licensing.
Enforcement (including those for
parking, speeding, bus lanes, red light violations and others)clearly
there is a need to encourage transfer of many enforcement powers
to local authorities as the police consider such powers to be
of low priority.
Development Control (also there may
be a need for more planning powers to influence the nature of
existing land uses and not just future uses/developments).
Land purchase (CPO, etc).
Traffic Regulation Orders.
Construction of new infrastructure.
Control of emissions and pollution
caused by transport.
It is essential that medium term plans and policies
must be supported by appropriate funding mechanisms. These require
both secure government financial support, appropriate public/private
financial partnership arrangements and an ability to apply nationally
and locally raised taxes and charges to implementing policies.
Planning cannot be rational if the associated financing is unpredictable
Establishing Methodologies for Decision Making
The Society generally welcomes the revised evaluation
framework for transport schemes applied initially in the roads
review. To ensure its relevance to the needs of practitioners
Government should consult widely on its formal implementation,
its refinement to suit local and regional situations and its consistent
application across all modes and by all agencies. This is essential
to successful implementation of the proposed solutions in support
of the above and as a guide to the allocation of resources. Clear
"good practice" guidance is needed as soon as possible
to local and regional authorities. Such a framework would provide
a basis for decisions on spending and should be compatible with
assessing and determining both private and public decisions to
allow trade-offs on spending between disparate items of capital,
investment and revenue support, for example; in both road and
Light Rail Transit systems; in Intelligent Transport Systems for
road users and public transport information; and in facilities
for pedestrians and cyclists as well as highway users.
4. CUSTODIANS OF
The Society recognises the government's case
for establishment of a Strategic Rail Authority but would prefer
a National Transport Agency, reporting to the Secretary of State,
which, in consultation with appropriate bodies, would also deliver
on the following:
determine the national interest relating
to the provision of inter-urban road and rail networks for both
passengers and freight including water transport;
devise an integrated management strategy
for those networks to meet agreed objectives;
promote and facilitate a freight
transport switch onto more environmentally-friendly modes (rail/water);
allocate resources where necessary
to fulfil a strategic need (including the making of Freight Facility
and Track Access Grants) to meet needs not met by the normal market
If we are to have purely a Strategic Rail Authority,
the government must establish a workable and identifiable structure
within the DETR for those functions which go beyond rail, for
example multi-modal information.
The Society also welcomes the role of the proposed
Commission for Integrated Transport. This should review all transport
investment and funding and issue guidance on the following:
1. Principles for economic evaluation of
schemes and spending of public funds.
2. Principles for public involvement in decision
making and monitoring of policies.
3. Checklist of responsibilities for different
policy areas and advice to the public regarding the appropriate
body for directing complaints.
4. Safety, incorporating the current transport-related
roles of the Health and Safety Executive and Traffic Commissioners.
5. Network management and priority measures
for particular traffics.
6. Quality control, including monitoring
responsibilities of the agencies.
7. Advising the government on taxing and
charging of transport.
8. Advising the government on competition
rules and where the market forces should be controlled.
The Society believes a representative of transport
planning practitioners should sit on this body.
The Transport Planning Society welcomes the
new requirement for Regional Planning Conferences (RPCs) to prepare
detailed regional transport strategies which will then set a context
for both development plans and new Local Transport Plans and for
decisions on major investment proposals including trunk road schemes.
Regional Planning Conferences will need to address items as diverse
as airports, ports, regional parking standards, the competitive
context for road user charging by individual towns, regional transport
parking management as well as handling the interfaces with RDAs.
This will place regional transport planning firmly within the
However, the Transport Planning Society is concerned
as to whether the RPCs will have the financial, technical and
administrative resources to assess, formulate, propose and deliver
such a comprehensive integrated transport strategy. RPCs will
need clear guidance from government on how to carry out their
responsibilities, including the necessary advice on methodology.
In addition, RPCs would need some of the resources
currently available to DETR and the Highways Agency for scheme
appraisal and development, including access to professional staff.
As a result of all these concerns Regional Planning Conferences
need to be put on a much firmer footing.
The White Paper places great responsibilities
on local authorities to implement its proposals, with Local Transport
Plans forming the cornerstone of the policy. These plans are a
natural extension of the current "package approach"
and the opportunity they should provide for longer-term planning
of a multi-modal transport system is clearly welcome. However,
many of the aspects of these plans are subject to further guidance
and it will only be possible to make a proper judgment when this
is available. Delivery of the agenda set by the government will
Adequate financial resources. (Additional
funding promised so far ahead of any possible income streams from
charging does not seem up to the task).
Significant staff resources.
Political will to make difficult
Co-operation between authorities
on a consistent approach to demand management (between major cities
across Britain as well as within regions).
Whilst the devolution of responsibilities to
the regional and local levels is generally welcomed, care needs
to be taken to avoid duplication and confusion of the precise
responsibility for different actions, and to promote transport
planning decision-making for cohesive areas respecting patterns
The Transport Planning Society believes that
there is a case for reviewing geographical basis for transport
planning boundaries and establishing multi-council groupings.
These could reflect, for example, common journey patterns such
as travel to work, education, health, retail, leisure and freight
movements. The use of journey patterns would ensure that factors
such as the location of major centres of industry and transport
magnets like large ports and airports were considered. However,
boundaries should coincide with those of Local Authorities and
where a majority wish to establish such a body, dissenting authorities
should be obliged to participate.
Whether transport plans are drawn up and approved
by individual councils or the combination of Local Authorities,
all interests (e.g., consumer and business representatives) should
be actively involved. In this way the social and economic priorities
for the area would be an integral aspect of a widely agreed transport
Free-standing towns and rural areas experience
a different magnitude of transport problem and different institutional
solutions could be applied. In some cases, e.g., extensive rural
areas with scattered settlement, groupings of authorities might
be appropriate, whereas in the case of free-standing towns single
authorities might operate most successfully. In the initial stages
of implementation of the integrated transport policy, demonstration
authorities might be identified/set up as a model of good practice.
To implement practical strategies at the local
level, appropriate local authority plans are the cornerstone of
As a necessary element in the new LTPs and to
allow them to operate effectively, new powers in support of their
strategies are needed, e.g:
bus regulation/franchising for their
private non-residential parking controls;
road pricing/congestion charging;
transport impact payments for development;
statutory input to trunk road planning.
The power to apply the revenues obtaining from
the above aspects to transport tasks within the area is vital,
as indicated in the White Paper. Although the above powers need
to be placed on the statute book as soon as possible, the Society
believes it is appropriate that they should only be approved for
use locally when the authority's established plan has been completed
and has been accepted by the government as in keeping with the
overall regional and national vision.
5. PRACTICAL ASPECTS
The Society is pleased to note the commitment
by Government to longer term stability and the additional funding
allocated to public transport and local transport initiatives.
However, we are concerned at the overall further reduction in
transport spending since we had hoped that a reduction in the
capital road programme would be more than matched by an increase
in other areas.
In view of the previous lack of investment in
public transport, maintenance and local transport we would urge
Government to re-consider whether further resources can be made
available. The Transport Planning Society welcomes the new autonomy
that is to be given to Local Authorities to raise additional finance
from road user charges/parking levies. However, we are concerned
that no clear date is given for the necessary legislation for
The Transport Planning Society is also concerned
that non-workplace parking (i.e., for customers and visitors to
retail and business facilities, hospitals, schools, etc.,) has
been excluded from the proposed parking levy legislation. These
areas are the ones experiencing most growth and where the provision
of large out of centre car parks encourage car dependence. The
parking levy legislation should be drawn as widely as possible
to allow its extension to non-workplace parking.
We also strongly commend to Government the potential
for substantial additional revenue and an incentive to minimise
disruption to be raised by providing powers to charge the utilities,
such as gas, water, telephone, cable, etc., for routing their
services and placing their plant within road transport corridors.
The principle is already well established through payment for
the use of canal towpaths and railway lines.
6. THE ROLE
To take forward the Government's agenda a considerable
resource of transport planning skills will be necessary. The TPS
has made a priority commitment to review the training and development
of suitably skilled individuals with both the academic institutions,
local authorities and consultants and other employers. The Society's
objectives are to promote best practice and to maintain and raise
quality and standards within the profession. The Society (together
with its sponsoring institutions) is committed to working with
the universities and employers in the field towards these aims,
providing for improvements in both academic training and continuing
professional development. Government support for such an approach
would be highly beneficial to its successful implementation.
The resource of a new generation of transport
planners would thus be made available to the authorities in the
delivery of their policies. Private agencies/advisors could have
a major role in running the transport provision (as distinct from
policy-making and control) and would build on the approach of
enabler and provider with a common professional approach.
The Society is also concerned that the voice
of transport planners is properly heard. Too often in the past
sound and sustainable transport policies and plans at both local
and national levels have not been realised, either because these
have not been presented effectively or because decision-makers
have failed to appreciate schemes' objectives and impacts. The
Society is therefore keen to ensure that MPs, locally elected
members and those officers in health, education and community
organisations are fully informed about transport planning practice.
An exercise in consultation and information will soon take placeagain,
Government support for this initiative would be highly beneficial
to its successful implementation.
The strength of the Government proposals lies
in the creation of a clear and cohesive vision and the ability
to relate the funding requirements for its delivery to appropriate
sources of revenue. Such mechanisms for funding streams must be
put in place as soon as possible to underpin the vision and to
enhance the opportunities for private finance, reducing the burdens
on the treasury.
Transport Planning has been the subject of prevarication
for too long. There has been continued debate, but no real direction.
What is now needed from government is clear leadership which can
flow into Local Authorities and other agencies responsible for
the delivery of an integrated approach.
The Transport Planning Society believes that
the only way of dealing with this is to get the powers and funding
for different levels of transport provision (national, regional,
local) in place as soon as possible.
As this submission indicates, the Transport
Planning Society believes that the White Paper has provided a
good framework. However, it needs much detailed work to ensure
that its aims can be implemented and the Society is more than
willing to play an active role in that development.