Memorandum by Sustrans (TYP 3)
Sustrans welcomes this inquiry. We are a practical
charity which seeks to implement solutions to the problems of
car dependency, a dependency which is still increasing.
Sustrans was awarded £43.5 million by the
Millennium Commission to help create the National Cycle Network.
The first part of this task has been created, to time and to budget.
We now seek to grow the Network to 10,000 miles by 2005, and to
continue expansion thereafter.
We are also pioneers of the concepts of Safe
Routes to Schools, and to Stations. Our other work involves walking,
Home Zones, transport information, and Individualised Marketing
of travel choice. We have recently signed a contract with the
New Opportunities Fund to spend £7.4 million on better accessibility
in disadvantaged areas.
Much of our work involves cross-cutting themes
and objectives, such as improved safety, redesigning streets,
urban regeneration, social exclusion and rural vitality. We were
not confident that the original Plan fully addressed such issues.
Since the Plan emerged the most recent set of
National Travel Survey statistics have been published, for 1998/2000.
We draw particular attention to these, as they offer a different
perspective on travel from that of the 10 Year Plan.
More trips are made for shopping
than for journeys to work (table 4.1).
More journeys are made annually by
bicycle than by train.
Journeys to work are less than a
sixth of all trips.
28 per cent of households in Britain
have no car.
A quarter of all journeys are less
than a mile, and 80 per cent of these are walked.
40 per cent of distance travelled
was for leisure purposes, only 10 per cent for business travel.
This is not a picture one would recognise from
the Plan, which keeps stressing major road and rail infrastructure
schemes, and in 3.3 makes the misleading statement that "93
per cent of personal travel is now made by road". The Plan
has very little discussion of why people travel, and therefore
cannot truly be said to be a document addressing transport need.
Instead, there is a great emphasis on reducing
congestion by providing more highway capacity. This is unfortunate,
as the experience of the 1980s and 90sconfirmed by SACTRAis
that creating new capacity simply generates extra traffic which
fills that capacity. That is why the CPRE study done by Professor
Phil Goodwin ("Running to Stand Still?") concluded that
after all the expenditure proposed in the Plan, motorists' journey
times would improve only by seconds.
Meanwhile, real "congestion-busting"
gets little mention. Sustrans are the UK pioneers of Safe Routes
to School, and our work has helped bring about a broader appreciation
of just how adverse are motorised trips to school. These are recognised
by DTLR as being up to 16 per cent of peak-hour morning traffic.
Although we are most appreciative of the work
of the Schools Travel Advisory Group, we believe that a major
advance is needed in the whole concept of journeys to schooland,
indeed, of children's travel. All schools and parks should be
the centrepiece of 20 mph areas. Residential roads should be
re-engineered into places of quality, safety and community use.
Sustrans also believes there is a serious problem
of official under-recording of walking and cycling. With walking
this relates to the way walks under one mile are recorded in NTS
data. With cycling there is a particular problem that off-road
journeys are not recorded at all. As the National Cycle Network
grows this problem is becoming more acute and is in turn distorting
policies of funding and encouraging cycling.
Also since the Plan was published there has
been the recent report by the Commission for Integrated Transport
on "European Best Practice in Delivering Integrated Transport".
This contains a number of key relevant issues. Among
Historic lack of transport investment
in the UK.
This country is the most car dependent
Financial support for bus services
is the lowest in Europe.
"Pedestrians and cyclists are
more than twice as likely to be killed on UK roads than in Sweden
or the Netherlands" (p. 3).
"The one critical success factor
underpinning best practice in all case study areas was the introduction
of area-wide 20 mph zones".
Overall the CfIT study painted a dispiriting
study of a poorly-planned, under-funded, and unpleasant transport
system in the UK. Sustrans suggests that the 10 Year Plan be
re-examined in the light of this report, with a particular emphasis
on whether it is likely to deliver to the best standard of our
As we indicate elsewhere, we are unhappy with
the following assumptions:
That road congestion can be solved
by increasing highway capacity.
That traffic reduction is not a serious
The proposed Carbon Dioxide reductions
Data collection is adequate.
There is also a clear lack of basic principles
behind the Plan. We suggest that these should include:
(a) Ensuring that we have equal access to
(b) A reduction in the need to travel long
(c) Availability of access to local facilities.
(d) Full accessibility for all those with
(e) Reducing road danger.
(f) Promoting sustainable development.
(g) Integration of transport policies with
those for Health, Education, Regeneration, Rural Vitality, Social
Inclusion and Best Value.
In essence, this would be a return to the fundamentals
of the 1998 Transport White Paper.
It is worth stressing that we point out below
serious institutional problems about delivering the Plan. Linked
to these, as the Committee notes, is the issue of "skills
and capacity". Our experience is that qualified staff able
to implement the new environmental and social perspectives of
transport planning are in extremely short supply. We draw the
Committee's attention to this as a matter of urgency. It is a
topic that might be the subject of a separate Inquiry.
Lest our comments appear too critical, Sustrans
would also like to express support for the following elements
in the existing Plan:
Better road and bridge maintenance.
Modernisation of the rail system,
especially for local services and freight.
On-street priority for bus services.
Bus quality partnerships.
The principle of congestion charging
and workplace parking levies, with proceeds hypothecated to transport
Much higher funding for the Local
Transport Plan process.
Support for Home Zones, lower speeds,
walking and the National Cycle Network.
Targeted improvements in road casualty
reduction, including a 50 per cent reduction in killed or seriously
injured levels for children.
Rural Transport Partnerships.
Targets are an important process element. Without
them, it is difficult to assess progress. Therefore it is worthwhile
looking at targets for tackling congestion. However, as we have
indicated, there are serious doubts as to whether the Plan's proposed
measures will achieve these.
At the very least, accurate modelling should
be done to examine measures needed to achieve a range of traffic
reduction targets. Meanwhile targets for increasing cycle use
under the National Cycle Strategy have served as a valuable focus
in highlighting adverse factors regarding cycle use. Targets to
increase walking would clearly have the same beneficial effect.
We have already noted the base statistical data
in the Plan do not give an accurate picture of travel in general.
We strongly suggest that existing travel patterns are examined
more thoroughly, as a first step to devising modal shift targets
for each type of journey. Tackling journey purpose is likely to
be a far more focused and practical process than merely building
infrastructure and hoping for some general results.
At the same time, more work should be done on
targets for modal shift. We highlight below under "Changing
Behaviour" the proven effectiveness of our TravelSmart work.
Were such changes to be made at a national level in, say, five
years' time, the second half of the 10 Year Plan couldand
shouldlook very different.
Since the original Plan appeared rural areas
have been devastated by Foot and Mouth disease and the subsequent
acute down-turn in rural tourism. The latter has highlighted the
very high economic value of country tourism and recreation.
This means that there is an urgent need to support
rural areas. The Countryside Agency is analysing the rural content
of Local Transport Plans, in order to estimate whether they are
robust enough. We also commend the work of GO-SW and South West
Transport Activists Roundtable in examining whether the provision
of transport, social services and other public facilities is sufficiently
Meanwhile there is a very strong case for improved
non-motorised access to the countryside. This can be done by a
continuation of national and regional walking, cycling and equestrian
routes; the better maintenance of Rights of Way; implementation
of Right to Roam; encouragement of high quality food production;
the creation of new local non-motorised routes on land taken out
of cultivation; and a much wider spread of lower speed routesvia
Quiet Lanes, rural traffic management and lower speeds resulting
from the review of Rural Road Hierarchy.
As can be seen, there are major rural problems
and opportunities, and we urge that these be addressed within
any re-formulation of the 10 Year Plan.
Others are better placed to comment on the financing
of the railway industry, but it should be noted that the public
require reliability and frequency of service rather than very
expensive high speed schemes. At the local level Rail Passenger
Partnerships have performed well, offer real value for money,
and integrate with other modes. Public and private investment
in the industry should be scrutinised to ensure that it does not
simply extend commuting journey lengths, especially to London.
Care must also be taken that rail stations in themselves do not
continue to act as major generators of motorised traffic.
We refer the Committee to the many reservations
about Multi-Modal Studies being made by all environmental groups.
Demand management, speed management, sustainability objectives
and consistent methods of appraisalall these seem to be
lacking in the Studies, which increasingly appear as artificial
constructs within the Transport system. The whole country, surely,
should be a "multi-modal study".
As for enhanced highway capacity we believe
that a closer look is required at this. It is not just a question
of "roads generating traffic" (cf SACTRA) but of what
type of journeys are causing congestion, and what kind of options
are available to tackle this.
We comment elsewhere on the need to give greater
priority to local transport in the funding process. Also there
is a need for more revenue spending and less capital.
Sustrans believes that changing personal travel
behaviour is a much quicker, more permanent and far more cost-effective
way of meeting travel needs than simply expanding highway capacity.
We are developing a major new "TravelSmart" programme,
focused on the concept of Individualised Marketing. This is a
dialogue-based approach pioneered by SocialData of Germany for
promoting use of public transport, cycling and walking as alternatives
to car travel.
Such work is based on the premise that a large
proportion of car users are constrained from making greater use
of alternative travel modes by mistaken perceptions of the options
available. Furthermore, it concentrates on an identified audience,
which has indicated an interest in alternatives. As such, it is
much more targeted than campaigns such as "Travel-Wise"
or "Are You Doing Your Bit?"
Sustrans and SocialData are already working
on two initial pilot projects, in Frome and Gloucester, and hope
to develop another six to eight across different types of area.
The work builds on the proven success in South Perth, Western
Australia. Here a project over two years resulted in a 14 per
cent reduction in car trips, and increases in public transport
use (17 per cent), walking (35 per cent) and cycling (61 per cent).
Extrapolations showed that such a programme had the potential
to wipe out two decades of traffic growth, and the further potential
to save huge sums in infrastructure spending.
It is for these reasons that Sustrans would
like to see TravelSmart as an integral part of any 10-Year Transport
Plan. A telling fact is that radical lifestyle changes are not
required. Public transport use in the UK would increase by 15
per cent if everyone made one extra trip by bus or train each
month. The Government's target of quadrupling cycle use by 2012
could be met if everyone in the country made one additional trip
by cycle each week.
We therefore strongly believe that a national
TravelSmart programme should be incorporated into the second half
of the 10 Year Plan.
Sustrans believes that there are serious institutional
problems that need addressing for any 10 Year Plan to be successful.
Ensuring Transport spending is clearly
protected and maintained within the Single Capital Pot.
Giving greater resources to revenue
spending, to ensure sufficient levels of staffing, planning and
Acquiring correct data about travel,
notably for walking and cycling.
Ending in-built bias in transport
appraisal by ceasing to recognise time savings for motorists.
Abolishing the distinction between
minor and major schemes in the LTP process.
Putting an end to inequitable rankings
under "value of time", particularly those that rate
the travel time of children and pensioners as virtually worthless.
Sustrans suggests that one of the tasks of reviewing
the 10 Year Plan should be to "Invest in Success".
There are proven winners in the transport world, and these deserve
encouragement and greater financial support.
Among these are:
Local Transport Bursaries: the £9
million invested by DTLR in 2000 produced over 100 local authority
staff positions dedicated to sustainable travel.
Company Travel Plans, including hospitals.
Rural Transport Partnerships.
20 mph zones: DTLR figures suggest
casualty falls of 60 per cent and extremely high financial rates
The National Cycle Network. In 1999
national cycle use rose 5 per cent, but 11 per cent on the Network,
which should be seen as a "spine" for strategic non-motorised
Safe Routes to School: here very
small sums invested in consultation and in the provision of high
quality bike sheds produces real modal shift.
"TravelSmart": see our
comments under Changing Travel Behaviour.
Targeted rail and light rail improvements.
Many of these ideas have been pioneered by the
voluntary sector, and there is a strong case for Government giving
greater financial and policy support to this sector, in the interests
of cost effectiveness and quick deliverability.
At the same time, there have been press reports
(The Guardian, 28 December 2001) that the DTLR under-spent
10 per cent of its capital budget£735 millionin
the last financial year. At a time when Britain's road safety
record is so poor, when communities have decades-worth of traffic-calming
demands in the pipeline, and when urgent improvements to walking
and cycling networks are needed, this is a lamentable state of
affairs. We ask the Committee to investigate this issue, and to
ensure that the funding which is actually available for important
small-scale schemes, does actually get spent.
The original Plan said little about the need
to link transport, land use, development and planning. However,
since the Committee announced this current Inquiry the Government
has made major proposals concerning the Planning System and relating
to major projects.
The Planning Green Paper proposals to remove
powers from County Councils. However, as these are responsible
for Local Transport Plans there are possibilities for confusion
and a loss of integration. Even more worrying are the proposals
to allocate housing numbers and development regionally.
There are further serious concerns over the
separate proposals on Major Infrastructure Projects which, we
understand, can in principle be decided in Parliament, by Members
who will have little or no knowledge of the issues involved.
Sustrans believes that these twin proposals
could seriously weaken Transport planning in this country. We
call on the Committee to hold an inquiry into these suggestions
as a matter of urgency.
EU WHITE PAPER
The White Paper raises important issues about
decoupling economic development from transport growth, and about
internalising the costs of different modes of transport. There
are also important ideas about placing users at the heart of transport
policy. Central to this is setting the target of reducing by half
the number of fatalities on EU roads by 2010, a more ambitious
target than the UK's. Developing on from the CfIT report, it would
be useful for the UK and the Commission to bench-mark best practice
in road safety, especially as we have noted above what an unsatisfactory
situation we have in this country for non-motorised users.
Elsewhere there are proposals to continue the
development of Trans-European Networks. Sustrans believes care
should be taken with this concept. Funding should not be made
available to projects whose environmental impact is negative.
Conversely the European cycle route network, EuroVelo, should
be recognised as a TEN. A development fund for EuroVelo should
be established within the TENs budget.
CONCLUSION: A NEW
Sustrans believes that revision of the 10 Year
Plan gives us all a chance for a new way of thinking. European
best practice has been laid out for us (CfIT report) and we should
rapidly seek to learn from it. Coupled to this should be targeted
programmes of reducing car dependency, and improving travel choice.
Our highways should be re-prioritised, to give the sustainable
modes much more room and assurance.
Accompanying this should be a community-led
revision of our streets. 20 mph should be the default speed in
urban areas. Home Zones, schools, parks and transport interchanges
should be focal points for safe travel. There must be an end to
the "body count" era of road safety: environmental,
health, community and quality of life indicators must also be
used to bring sanity to our streets.
Furthermore, no Transport Plan should be complete
without a fundamental re-think on virtually all aspects of traffic
law. 50 times as many children are killed by traffic than by paedophiles
in a year. Rethinking contributory negligence by motorists could
be a powerful weapon for change. Some Continental countries presume
automatic liability by drivers in collisions with children, cyclists
and pedestriansthis is an area worthy of urgent research.
Finally, much less heavy capital spending and
far more flexible revenue spend is necessary to achieve a more
balanced system. Targeted spending is necessary at particular
types of journey. Special action needs to be taken on commuter
trips: DTLR's "Focus on personal travel" recently released
shows that these were 16 per cent longer than 10 years ago. Our
new 10 Year Plan should be one that seeks to reverse such trends,
not perpetuate them.