Memorandum submitted by Norman Andrew
Kellett, Esq (RT 10)
LIGHT RAPID TRANSIT
I am a Civil Servant, working within the
Criminal Justice system in an administrative capacity, and have
an interest in local urban public transport. I was formerly employed
by the Automobile Association, in their Head Office, managing
an information database which is utilised to provide answers to
members who telephone the AA with motor-related enquiries. I am
grateful to members of the sub-Committee for this opportunity
afforded to the public to make submissions on the subject of Light
Each of the following points will take
the form of a statement followed by a short elucidating comment;
each of these statements will need the sub-committee's concentrated
thought in order to appreciate their gravity and relevance. It
is understood that the inquiry is undertaken against the background
of the Government's Integrated Transport policy, and, in particular,
the task of promoting a modal shift transfer in selected situations
from private transport to public transport.
The immensity of the task of promoting modal
shift, and the difficulty in its realisation, must be firmly and
fully grasped before its planning is even undertaken.
Comment: Although the travel problems can
be split up into many "bite-sized" geographical locations,
the cumulative requirements of such a policy will be enormous,
and the time-scales lengthy. The main problem relating to modal
shift is that of user attitude, and a stick-and-carrot approach
is likely to be needed. The second problem is the choice of appropriate
mode, and its setting-up time. Most private transport users will
opine that an efficient and adequate public transport alternative
must be in place before they would consider a change; to
bring this about will require tremendous courage and faith, as
it requires a large financial risk to be undertaken before
any results are likely. Furthermore, experience often demonstrates
that results will be slow to comequick returns are not
normal in public transport. You build the Millennium Dome in the
faith that many will visit it, but you will not be sure until
Four decades have seen billions of pounds
poured into the highly successful roads construction programme;
similar levels of investment (upgraded to account for inflation)
will be required for the next four decadesmost of it in
the early yearsif the balance is to be redressed in favour
of public transport.
Comment: Government Policy has been heavily
biased in favour of road transport in the past, and has predictably
produced the current overheated situation. The nettle will need
to be grasped hard and longand it will sting badly. Regrettably,
this all comes at a time when the Government is ducking out, pleading
poverty and lack of cash. Private enterprise looks for high returns,
and quickly, and is reluctant to undertake such long-term and
immense investment, especially in view of shifting political influences.
HM Treasury will therefore be required to provide massive funding
over a long term "until the pips squeal" and beyond.
Furthermore, road building was considered to be a public servicepublic
transport provision must be considered in the same light.
Old adage"you get what you pay
Comment: If you are going to be parsimonious,
you will get little for it, and of low qualitycheeseparing
expenditure will only tinker ineffectively at the edges, and produce
cheapskate and inadequate results.
Politicians tend to have a view not longer
than five years (the next election); this enterprise will require
at least 20 years of committed, sustained and continuous action.
Comment: In the past, the shifting sands of
local politics have often bedevilled public transport plansinter-party
co-operation and agreement have been (and often are still) almost
always lacking. However, inter-party agreement is also a sine
qua non for this enterprise.
In order to be effective, local urban transport
needs to be. . .
. . .Cheap at point of use (the cost is lost
at journey's end)
. . .Frequent at point of pickup (short waits)
. . .Extensive in its local spread (only short
walks at each end)
. . .Reliable in its timekeeping (even if private
transport is not)
. . .Safe to use (both in reality and perception)
. . .Clean and bright (well designed and well
. . .Inspire an up-to-date image (image is vital,
but needs reality)
. . .Must provide a travel experience which at
least is comparably acceptable and congenial (but which ideally
exhibits the hallmarks of flair, brilliance and éclat,
rather than simply be not negative, or be just OKaiming
For decades the bus has had the road to itself
in terms of urban transport (except in London and Glasgow). And
we have inner city problems of congestion, noise and pollution.
Comment: Is the universal bus not, then, the
universal panacea it has been long proclaimed to be? It clearly
is the correct application in the majority of instances, but its
limitations in many instances are apparent. Nevertheless, because
it is cheap, mass-produced, and has been the subject of decades
of continuous hard lobbying, British politicians are blind to
alternatives, and will simply throw small amounts of money and
fancy titles at buses to try to make them work better. The public,
meanwhile, takes to its cars.
Modern innovative thinking, coupled with
technological improvements, has led the industry to consider modes
which are an improvement on the bus, but less expensive than the
nettle of full-blown light rail.
Comment: Examples are GLT, where a centre slot
guides an electrically driven road vehicle, monorails such as
at Sydney and in various US cities (eg Briway Transit in the UK,
now defunct), and VAL-type systems (rubber-tyred guided trains,
as at Lille). Light rail is seen as capital-intensive, and such
innovations seek to ape light rail's capabilities without incurring
its initial costs. HM Government might like to see guided buses
included within the "Light Rapid Transit" heading, but
I doubt that the Committee would consider this to be a valid application.
Having personally (as a layman) considered the
alternatives, I would suggest to the sub-Committee that it should
concentrate on light rail and tramways, as other forms of Rapid
Transit tend to have narrow and specialist applications (eg inter-terminal
fixed links at airports, cliff lifts, funiculars). Accordingly,
I am concentrating on this pair as a mode.
Does the Committee intend to look at the
subject of motor manufacturer advertising?
Comment: They seem to be pretty desperate, and
are pushing the bounds of credibility and seductivity in order
to glamourise the car, and "move metal" at any cost.
The nearest public transport got to this were the old InterCity
The image of the bus is tarnishedit
is associated with the old, the under-age, the disadvantaged,
the poor. Filthy, uncomfortable, unreliable and full of questionable
strangers, the bus is seen as yesterday's technology, incapable
of further radical development; but it also seems, alas, to be
the politicians' only answer for urban transport problems.
Comment: The politicians seem to be relying
on guided bus technology (as at Leeds and Ipswich in recent years),
and on minibuses for highly localised services. In the long term,
such remedies seem likely to avail littlethey are palliatives.
What can the guided bus do that its traditional fully-steered
original cannot do?
In 1991, the Transport Committee of the House
of Commons produced a report entitled "Urban Public Transportthe
Light Rail Option", containing 19 recommendations; in 1988
the London & South East Regional Planning Conference (SERPLAN)
produced a report entitled "Light Railsome implications
for the South East". Has the Committee seen these two publications?
Comment: The Commons report, composed by MPs
on the Committee, concentrated on certain peripheral matters,
rather than recommending or declining Ligth Rail. The SERPLAN
report concluded that Light Rail could be expected to be viable
and influential in conurbations of not less than 200,000 population,
promoting development and local employment, encouraging modal
switch and reduction in congestion, and leading to improved quality
of urban life. All these factors have been experienced in those
European and US cities which have developed light rail systems.
The subject of urban transport has many facets:
its success rate (modest at most) depends upon (a) its image with
the private transport user, and (b) its ability to deliver a superior-grade
service. Mental attitude is therefore of paramount importance
in your deliberationshow will the public see the fruits
of your report, if they are put into practice? Successful, excellent,
revolutionary? Or just the same old nostrums, covered with a shiny
new coat of paint?
Comment: In your considerations, I submit that
you will need to be visionary as well as realistic, enthusiastic
about your subject, courageous to the point of recklessness, persistent
and ruthless in ramming your message home (the more it hurts,
the more it is effective). Your report should, I believe, be incapable
of simply being noted and filed awayit should reverberate
around the Department, and the Government, to the extent that
people sit up and take notice. I work in the Civil Service I
know how difficult such an attitude is, both to cultivate and
to maintain in the face of Ministers. The alternative is to let
inertia reignto save the expense of your time and paper,
to pack up here and now and to go back to the office to do other
I wish you good luck in your quest, illuminating
deliberations in your inquiry, a Pauline conversion to light rail/tramways
in your conclusions, and a clarion call to action in your report.
The size of the problem in hand demands not less than these!
RESPONSE TO THE FOUR SECTORS OF EVIDENCE
REQUESTED BY THE SUB-COMMITTEE
3. EXAMPLES OF
UK: Tyne & Wear Metro, London Docklands
Light Railway, Manchester Metrolink, Sheffield Supertram, West
Midlands Metro, Croydon Tramlink.
World: Grenoble, Strasbourg, Paris (2), Nantes,
Montpellier, Rouen, Baltimore, Los Angeles, San Diego, Cleveland,
Hong Kong (and others). In addition, there have been, and are,
many extensions and upgrades to existing tramway and light railway
systems across the world, of which my only personal experience
Comments on UK Systems:
Tyne & Wear Metro: this was the first rapid
transit system to open in the UK (1981), and is largely based
on existing or defunct rail alignments, with new construction
to complete and infill. It displays the characteristics of a railway,
but with lightweight trains. The system was planned to assist
in the regeneration of an area of high economic poverty and deprivation,
following the demise of capital industries. It succeeded in promoting
high ridership figures, but received a setback following bus deregulation
in 1986, which allowed unrestricted competition in place of planned
integration. Extensions have since taken place, and a further
extension to and through Sunderland is in hand. Whilst figures
are difficult to interpret, the Metro is widely held to have contributed
significantly to the improvement and redevelopment of its area.
Docklands Light Railway: opened in 1987 and
promoted originally by the London Docklands Development Corporation
as part of its mission to regenerate the derelict areas around
Poplar and the Isle of Dogs, the railway was revolutionary in
its concept (and accordingly suffered well-publicised problems).
Like Tyne & Wear, it is a railway with light carriages and
a large proportion of existing and former railway formation for
its trackbed (but with tighter curves and steeper gradients than
"heavy-rail"). The actual operation of the railway is
entirely by computer and is driverless. The system has been extended
and is expecting a further extension to Lewisham to be opened
before Christmas. Despite its adverse publicity, it has contributed
very significantly in attracting business to the area, and his
relieved traffic flows and congestion to a great degree in an
area whose road network is old and constricted.
Manchester Metrolink: opened in 1992, Metrolink
utilised two existng railway lines (with life-expired electrification)
and uses the existing high platforms and railway infrastructure;
it connected the two lines by a street-running tramway across
the centre of the city, with a branch to Piccadilly. Ridership
is currently about 14 million per year (compared with the 7m of
the previous railway lines), and it is reckoned that some 2 million
car journeys are saved per year. A further extension is expected
to be opened to Salford Quays in a few months, with other proposed
extensions, covering various areas in and outside the city, having
received Parliamentary authority. Metrolink is locally regarded
as a huge success, and a significant contributor to the solution
of traffic and travel problems of a major cityimpossible
to achieve without the light rail installation. Metrolink is very
keen to provide a network, not simply a couple of lines.
Sheffield Supertram: although the first
line of this system used railway formation and derelict land,
the system is a modern tramway (of the continental type), with
much street running on later sections. Its life has been highly
controversial, and has suffered operational deficits since opening,
although, in its first year of operation by Stagecoach, these
have been reduced by 30 per cent. It is making a contribution
to the redevelopment of parts of the city, and to a reduction
in traffic, but it is facing a long uphill battle.
West Midlands Metro: this line (Birmingham-Wolverhampton)
utilises the former GWR trackbed, with street running in Wolverhampton;
extensions are planned. The line has suffered very considerable
delays and troubles, firstly as a result of several years of refusal
of government funding (although meeting all the requirements),
and more recently at the hands of the Railway Inspectorate (the
blame for which seems to lie equally with the vehicle designers
and the Inspectorate). The line was finally opened in May this
year; accordingly it is too early, by several years, to assess
its impact, but an encouraging aspect is that the line is operated
by an authority which also controls the majority of other local
transport services, and planned integration is undertaken.
Croydon Tramlink: due to open later this
year or early in 2000, this three-line system radiating from the
centre of Croydon is a joint London Transport and Croydon Council
venture. It utilises railway formations, new partially segregated
lines and street running in the centre. Its impact and results
are awaited with keen interest, and it will attract many visits
from experts, operators and industry, both as it is the first
southern system, and as it is part of the London network. It is
essentially a modern tramway.
Worldwide: much comment has been made over
the years over numerous new tramway and light rail systems. The
European system which first attracted immense attention was that
at Grenoble (1987), a medieval French city which shoe-horned a
new tramway into a city centre, carried out many associated improvements
in the city centre and revolutionised urban travel patterns. Many
years previously, the French government had taken the initiative
by inviting a number of cities to submit plans for rapid transit
systems in order to break the spiral of decay, congestion and
environmental pollutionand offered massive finance to realise
these projects. The majority of those invited opted for light
rail, including Nantes, Grenoble, Strasbourg, and Paris; Lille
and St Etienne took the opportunity to upgrade their existing
tramways. Clermont Ferrand and Caen have opted for Guided Light
I would warmly invite members of the sub-Committee
to visit the Croydon system to learn about constructional matters,
Manchester to see a successful and expanding UK system, and Strasbourg
to observe the Gallic flair for vision, success and boldness.
General comment: although over recent years
industry has spent time and money endeavouring to develop and
implement new and innovative technology in the field of public
transport, operators and authorities have been cautious to embrace
them, faced as they are with the serious demand for substantial
ridership, total reliability, and compatability with existing
modes. In Britain, Briway Transit developed a guided, elevated
tyred system, but found no takers; elsewhere the Sydney monorail
has suffered consistent technical problems. A planned trolleybus
line for Liverpool, utilising a buried induction wire for guidance,
failed at the public enquiry stage. Caen (France) is opting for
a guided light transita rubber tyred vehicle, electrically
powered and guided by a slot (this system was tried unsuccessfully
in the 1980s in Belgium). Adelaide built a traffic corridor of
guided buses (at great expense because of soft ground), but few
further examples are in evidence across the world. A German company
(the name escapes me) is developing cable cars for use in fixed
circuits at ground level, and a number of American city centres
have Briway-type operations on elevated first-floor level circuits.
Light Rail and Tramways have enjoyed a renaissance
as appreciation and experience of their urban capabilities have
grown in the last 20 years. Although expensive, and therefore
suitable only for heavy traffic flows, their technology has been
thoroughly tried, tested and developed over many years, and there
is a world range of manufacturers prepared to design and install
bespoke systems. New systems have reported significant successes,
in that they have, with few exceptions, fulfilled their objectives.
This has been particularly so where they have been made part of
general urban traffic planning and management schemes, of which
they are a vital part. Increased ridership, hand in hand with
containment of private traffic levels, have been reported.
4. THE PROBLEMS
4.1 Prior to construction (light rail):
I realise that this is, strictly, outwith your
remit; but it is part of the overall picture of problems, and,
indeed, forms the area of greatest problem. If this area is not
radically addressed, there will be precious few systems to face
any other problems. The potential owner/operator, having done
his homework and devised the routes desired, is faced with two
immediate problemsobtaining legal authority to build, and
4.1.1 Obtaining powers, under the Transport
& Works Act, is a lengthy and very costly process. The Local
Transport Plan is currently the method of approach, and this requires
a gruelling appraisal, including proof that no other mode is suitable
at a lesser cost. Public enquiries lengthen the process. Buses
are, naturally, not subject to this process.
4.1.2 Finance is always a problem. The private
sector looks for guaranteed short-term high returns on its investmentpublic
transport is unlikely to offer this, and public transport is looked
upon as properly a public service, to be provided (like road-building)
out of the public purse. Under s.56 Transport Act the government
provided up to 50 per cent of the cost of setting up a transit
systemreluctantly. To qualify, schemes had to go through
a rigorous appraisal, which cost up to £2 million and took
a lengthy period, with no guarantee of success; once approved,
schemes had to await fundsthe West Midlands scheme was
delayed for several years in this way, and its cost of course
increased substantially during this time. The long-standing Leeds
schemes are still frustrated by central government procrastination.
Buses are not, naturally, subject to these considerations, particularly
as the trackway is provided free of charge by the state. Curiously,
many British cities had tramways until the 1950's, but, fashionably,
scrapped them in favour of the cheaper option of buses, destroying
the possibility of development and modernisation which was often
followed in Europe.
4.1.3 Light rail/tramways are subject to
stringent safety rules, not found on steered rubber-tyred vehicles,
and this increases the cost burden.
4.2 During construction (light rail):
4.2.1 Removal/relocation of the under-road
4.2.2 Property acquisition/demolition must,
of necessity, be kept to a minimum.
4.2.3 Provision of underground cabling for
supply, signalling control, etc.
4.2.4 Visual impact of the overhead line,
and (particularly) of the supporting poles (in the UK, Manchester
and Croydon have come in for severe criticism under this heading,
whereas continental systems appear to have achieved a satisfactory
4.2.5 Disruption to traffic in the construction
area (including contraflow, diversions, closures). These need
to be carefully planned to minimise impact, and widely explained;
they also need to be kept as brief as possible. In rebuilding
its tramway route in some places, Geneva paid compensation to
4.2.6 Construction hazardslorries,
dust, noise, vibration.
4.2.7 Sensitive handling of environment,
including design of stops, etc.
4.2.8 Unexpected demands by HM Railway Inspectors.
4.2.9 Costs of providing facilities for
4.2.10 Adverse local press (as happened
in Sheffield, where constant Press sniping and misrepresentation
appeared to reach crusade proportions).
4.3 After opening (light rail):
4.3.1 Bus competition (including obstruction
of tracks)lack of integration.
4.3.2 Vandalism of furniture (stops, etc),
4.3.3 Fare evasion.
4.3.4 Insufficiency of vehiclesSheffield
and Manchester suffered from having insufficient trams due to
initial budget cut-backs; coupled with accident damage, this has
led to an inability to provide sufficient passenger places to
meet demand, and constriction of service intervals.
4.3.5 The effects of cost-cutting and specification-paring
during planning, resulting in lower standards and lower capabilities.
An objective examination of the scenario in
which light rail and tramways are promoted, constructed and operated
will reveal a climate of difficulties and obstacles, artificially
placed by legislators, and not, unsurprisingly, applied to buses.
The result is a maximum disincentive to the promotion of such
systems, despite the worldwide evidence of the capabilities of
light rail and tramways. The basis appears to be partly a fundamental
British hostility to railed transport and partly a desire to spend
as little as possiblebut cheapskate expenditure produces
feeble results. ("you get what you pay for"). Official
encouragement at all levelsbacked with financewill
be needed, from the Secretary of State downwards. At present,
officials are dismissive of light rail. Thus problems are unnecessarily
created and compoundedour biggest problems are man-made
and self-made. This is not how the French have managed to create
several new and successful tramways over the last decadetheir
flair and élan contrasts markedly with our obfuscation
5. WHAT SUCCESSES
5.1 I have to advise that I am a layman
on this subjectyou will need to consult traffic experts
for figures and trends.
5.2 There is, however, a recurring problemif
trams attract motorists out of their cars, congestion will decrease
and road travel will become more attractiveluring the drivers
back to their cars or causing others to come in, resulting in
congestion returning to former levels (the spiral of consequences).
What is the answer?
5.3 There is a forecast of at least 50 per
cent traffic growth over the next 25 years; even if public transport
soaks this up entirely, then traffic congestion will remain at
present levels. Depressing, isn't it. It underlines the need to
adopt radical measures.
5.4 There is a logistical problem in replying
to the subject matter of this section. Although computer models
have been established using surveyed data and complicated formulae,
they can only give an "in theory" forecast or statement.
Actual surveys of passengersquestions on board the tramare
expensive and difficult, and can only provide a snapshot in time
of a situation that (given the vagaries of human choice) may be
volatile over even a fairly short period of time.
5.5 Thus, one cannot be certain about variations
of traffic densitiesother factors may affect the driver's
choice (eg fuel price increases, roadworks, new/diverted roads,
parking problems/costs, congestion charging, insurance costs,
etc), so where a lowering of traffic density is apparent there
may be other factors at work. One can only speak on this subject
in generalitiesif the sub-Committee wants specifics it
may be asking too much, or may be supplied with data that is hedged
with if's and but's.
5.6 Manchester Metrolink claims at least
two million car journeys a year have been saved; Nantes claims
a reduction of 3,000 cars per day entering the city as compared
with 10 years previously (and the expectation of an increase in
this figure following tramway extensions). Traffic censuses, and
police traffic control-room experience over a period of years,
will show changes in traffic weight and flows, but it is more
difficult to ascribe any reductions purely to tramways, particularly
as the introduction of a tramway is usually accompanied by other
traffic management measures anyway.
5.7 It would be thought that the provision
of x thousand new passenger places on a given travel corridor
would attract car usersbut only if they find those places
highly attractive (comfortable, safe, stress-free, dry, inexpensive,
pleasant and efficient). In reality, experience would show that
some of the new passenger places would be taken up by converted
car drivers, and others by defectors from other modes of public
transport. Decades of bus operation in urban areas has shown that
they do not provide that highly attractive service, and have not
so far succeeded in kick-starting the Government's policy aims;
world experience has shown that modern tramways and light rail
are the only effective methods which have achieved this objective
at reasonable costI'm afraid that you really don't have
much choice in this matter.
5.8 Another factor, experienced world-wide,
is that the opening of a tramway/light rail line or system provides
the incentive for development of new or run-down areas, as enlightened
employers seek to attract staff to modern pleasant environments.
The new businesses themselves then provide much of the traffic,
although inevitably adequate road provision has to be made to
allow free choice.
5.9 The bottom line is that, in a modern,
complex and relatively wealthy democracy, freedom of choice is
paramount, and people will exercise that choice in quirky and
unexpected ways. In order to reduce the reliance on private transport,
a whole raft of measures is needed, but the chief of these must
be an alternative which is highly and lastingly attractivenot
simply just adequate. Can you honestly say that buses can achieve
this, and increase ridership (at car expense) by several hundred
per cent? Bus travel is often seen as a distress purchase; light
rail does not, on the whole, have this image problem, because
it provides a superior experience. Try the Geneva trams!
5.10 You may therefore find that attempting
to find an answer to this particular question may be like reaching
for the cloudsinsubstantial. If the progress towards modal
shift is to be started, you may not find the business certainties
you seek, and you may well need to make a step of faith, not backed
up by pre-planned certainty. Part of our problem in the UK seems
to be that we need to know for certain before we will do anythinghence
we do little or nothing. The Gallic approach seems to have been
different and visionaryand it has achieved the results
we need but hardly have.
6. WHETHER IT
6.1 Is it appropriate to assist the growth?
If HM Government is serious about reducing congestion and really
pushing Integrated Transport, then all options must be explored,
both stick and carrot. They have already looked at the bus option
(Quality Bus Partnerships) which is cheap, is in accord with the
roads pressure lobby, and is conventional British wisdom. As I
have indicated, buses have had the monopoly since before the War
in most cities (and since 1962 in all except London), and clearly
are not having the desired effect"flogging" and
"dead horse" come to mind. Technically, there is little
alternative to railed transport, which, actually, has a good late-twentieth
century track record of containing traffic levels in citiesbut
it needs money to be spent. So yes, it is appropriate to
examine and assist the growth of light rail schemes.
6.2 Currently, light rail/tramways are only
looked at by the Government when all other modes have been tried
or examined, and faileda solution of last resort. Authorities
are encouraged to ensure that other modes do not fail! Perhaps
the sub-Committee's inquiry is an acknowledgement that the problem
has not shown any signs of going away, and that a new direction
in approach is signalled. As a layman, I cannot see any alternative
to buses which is viable, highly (compellingly) attractive and
technically feasible, apart from light rail and tramways. Accordingly,
I recommend your sub-Committee should make recommendations to
promote this transport mode as widely as possible, in an aggressive
and unanswerable manner.
6.3 What should be done?
6.3.1 The first major step is to change
the ethos of official thinking. HM Government, from the Secretary
of State downwards, will need to be first persuaded and then convinced
that the answer will often lie with the widespread promotion of
light rail networks as the backbone of the integrated package
(no backbone, and the whole thing slumps down!). In every pronouncement
the Secretary of State and his Ministers will need to publicise
and push for tramways, to the point of evangelical enthusiasm;
we are talking here of revolution in attitude at the highest level.
6.3.2 As outlined above the two greatest
problems faced by light rail and tramways are those of obtaining
powers and obtaining financeboth of these are expensive,
unreliable and costly procedures before ever an inch of rail is
laid. Scrap the "try all other modes first" and "not
if we can avoid it" mentalitiesif light rail/tramways
are appropriate, avoid expensive and time-wasting efforts just
to eliminate other modes.
6.3.3 I would suggest a unit be set up by
HM Government, to include staff from both the DETR and the Treasury,
which should be powerful and effective (and have an adequate budget);
this unit would:
(a) Simplify, cheapen and accelerate the
process of obtaining powersdesign a "fast-track"
(b) Ensure suitable and adequate channels
of finance for schemes, from the private sector, central funding
and the EU, and ensure that where EU funding is provided, UK Government
funding is NOT reduced similarly.
(c) Encourage local authorities in as many
ways as possible to consider the appropriateness of tramways in
their own spheres of power.
(d) Design incentives for those authorities
who put tramways into operation.
(e) Establish and publicise a practical database
of information on all aspects of light rail and tramways, available
to all who wish to consider this mode.
(f) Arrange and encourage regular visits
to systems, and hold seminars.
(g) Work hand-in-hand with the industry to
establish economies of scale, standardisation in design, best
practice, and possibilities of incentives to encourage follow-on
ordering for future expansion.
(h) Arrange finance for associated schemes
(eg road improvements, environmental enhancement).
(i) Ensure that urban schools teach pupils
about the need for and desirability of public transport, along
with the need for responsible attitudes as future citizens.
(j) Encourage the opening of at least two
new tramway systems per year for the next 15-20 years.
(k) Encourage the main political parties
to agree that good transport is a common aim, and is not suitable
to be a political football perhaps via a permanent inter-party
I conclude that an in-depth, unbiased and objective
study of modern light rail and tramway systems will thoroughly
vindicate and prove their effectiveness in providing first class,
successful and attractive urban transport, and the potential to
break the current impasse in traffic problems. But they cost moneybig
money(just as the present problems were created by big
money) and there must be a deep, long-term and unwavering commitment
by all major Parties to progress the matter in unanimity.
The willingness of the sub-Committee members
to understand, accept and embrace the role of light rail and tramways,
as the only rapid transit system by which road congestion can
be contained and future travel growth catered for, is crucial
to the solving of the problems facing the city and town dweller.
The production of a report written in clear-cut and compelling
languageone which propels the Government into actionis,
accordingly, mandatory. If it offers a lifeline to John Prescott,
so much the better! The result must be positive and high-profile
action, nor do we have the luxury of an infinite amount of time
and leisure to go round and round in debate.
Accordingly, I would recommend you all, gentlemen,
to "go for it" energetically. To fail to do so would
be to miss a golden opportunity (which is unlikely to recur for
some time), to shoot wide of the marka typically British
trait in the field of public transport.