Memorandum from Commission for Integrated
Transport (TYP 56)|
It is important to distinguish between the current
state of the transport networks and the actions being taken by
DTLR to improve the situation. CfIT's European Best Practice report
highlighted under-investment in our transport networks. For generations
we have lagged behind our European partners. The Government's
Integrated Transport White Paper, the 10 Year Transport Plan and
the commitment to investing £180 billion over the next 10
years are welcome and positive steps. The public investment promised
represents a step change over the previous decade, spending some
50 per cent more and, when delivered, the planned improvements
will start to pull Britain up the league table. Significantly
increased private sector investment is also anticipated. But decades
of drift and under-investment will not be turned around quickly,
a continuing high priority will need to be given to transport
CfIT is fully supportive of the Government's
integrated transport agenda. The commitment to increased expenditure
is essential in order that we start to turn the ship round. And
progress is starting to come through in several areas. There has
been a step change in Local Transport Plan funding which should
bring forward a raft of local improvements including measures
to assist bus users as well as facilities for cyclists and pedestrians.
There is also a much needed boost to investment in local road
maintenance. The programme of light rail investment is moving
ahead and could become a major success story for this country.
1. What assumptions should be modified or
(i) finance: the current uncertainties in
the rail industry are not conducive to attracting private sector
investment; it is assumed in the plan that over the 10 year period
some £34 billion will be attracted and, most importantly,
that £11.2 billion of that will be in the first three years
of the Plan. There are three main routes for private sector funding:
investment by the successor
Though unquantified, the Commision's concerns
arise from two factors: uncertainty over the success or to Railtrack.
This will, inevitably, have an impact on the timing, if not on
the quantum, of investment. Also, the slow progress to date of
the re-franchising process, and the focus on two year extensions,
will have delayed the TOCs raising investment for infrastructure
improvements (though the same concern does not apply to rolling
stock capacity enhancement).
Early investment is essential to ensure that
schemes come to fruition within the lifetime of the Plan.
(ii) rail infrastructure provision: the achievement
of the Plan assumes not only that finance is forthcoming, but
that there is a mechanism to deliver the infrastructure. The target
of 50 per cent growth in rail patronage over the Plan period may
appear to fit well with the 25 per cent growth in the five-year
period leading up to Hatfield. However, some of the future growth
required to ensure that rail plays its full part in delivering
the wider integrated transport agenda will require additional
capacity. Given evidence of escalating costs of infrastructure
improvements, compounded by the current level of uncertainty in
the industry, I have concern over the delivery of these capacity
improvements on the timescale required.
(iii) economic growth: whilst economic growth
is cyclical, and a short term downturn is not necessarily a cause
for concern, low growth at the start of a 10 Year Plan period
will have a negative impact on patronage forecasts that may inhibit
(private sector) investment decisions which would come on stream
later in the period;
(iv) delivery of recommendations from multi-modal
studies: the results of these studies are subject to the normal
planning processes, and whilst that process may potentially be
speeded up by the recent Green Paper, the lead times for delivery
of major projects suggest that few would be delivered and operational
within the plan period. Smaller scale projects, however, can be
delivered more quickly, particularly through the LTP process.
In relation to rail investment the mechanism for tying recommended
rail improvements into the SRA priorities is not clear, further
(v) local charging schemes: see point two
(vi) local public transport schemes: I welcome
the increased funding going into local public transport as a result
of the 10 Year Plan. Small scale and local measures such as bus
priority measures, pedestrianisation, improved cycle facilities
and demand management can all contribute to the success of public
transport schemes in attracting people from their cars. Particularly
important are well-designed bus priority schemes which can bring
forth large benefits in terms of congestion relief and emissions
reduction. Local Authorities should be encouraged to bring forward
such schemes, where ever possible as part of a Quality Partnership
with local operators (however, see the comment under Targets).
Overall: We do not anticipate that events external
to the transport sector (such as foot-and-mouth, fuel protests
or the flooding) are likely to have a significant effect on the
achievement of the 10 Year Plan. A prolonged economic downturn
could impact both on demand for transport and on available funding.
Significant fluctuations in fuel price, though not anticipated,
would also have impacts on the demand for transport. Government
should maintain transport spending as a high priority, irrespective
of the economic cycle. We cannot return to the stop/go policies
of previous times.
We are concerned that the assumptions related
to the rail industry, both finance and delivery mechanisms and
the number of charging schemes that will be implemented may be
over optimistic. A shortfall on these assumptions would undoubtedly
hamper delivery of the 10 Year Plan objectives in terms of reduced
congestion and pollution, if not compensated by other measures.
2. In particular, will the expected number
of congestion charging and workplace parking levy schemes be implemented
(i) congestion charging schemes in the planning
process: within England, whilst there has been considerable interest
expressed in Local Transport Plans, we believe that only the following
schemes are being actively progressed (that is with a committed
policy) at this time:
Londoncental area scheme;
Bristolcentral area scheme;
Durhamsmall area scheme; and
Derwent Valley (Derbyshire)single
(ii) congestion charging schemes under consideration,
as trials or pilot studies (but not committed policy) include:
(iii) workplace parking levy: Nottingham
City Council is the authority which is furthest advanced, and
with a small number of large employers is the most likely to be
able to implement such a scheme. However, there appears to be
growing concern locally over its impact and appropriateness. Other
authorities have expressed an interest but few are actively pursuing
the implementation of a scheme, with many waiting to see what
There is a general concern that many employers
will not pass on the cost to employees, but may over time reduce
the number of spaces provided. As a result the effect on traffic
will be relatively small in the first instance, and additional
costs will be passed onto consumers, with little tangible benefit.
In addition, there is a substantial administrative burden associated
with the levy.
Overall: On congestion charging there is
an attitude of "waiting for London", since local politicians
do not wish to push forward a measure which they perceive to politically
very difficult (see however CfIT's annual survey, which showed
52 per cent support when the funds were pledged to public transport)
and for which success is not yet guaranteed in London. Even if
the Mayor is successful, I do not anticipate that anything like
twenty other charging and parking levy schemes would be in place
by the end of the plan period. With a fair wind Bristol and maybe
Leeds could have introduced charging (along with small scale schemes
such as those in Durham and Derwent Valley). On work place parking
Nottingham might have in place a scheme, but I see little prospect
at the moment of other schemes being introduced.
3. How important are the assumptions to the
outcome of the plan? What remedial action is necessary if assumptions
or targets need to be changed?
(i) private sector finance: is clearly vital
to the success of the rail targets and to taking some of the pressure
for growth off the strategic road system. Much depends on the
new structure for the rail industry, and on the SRA Strategic
Plan published recently.
(ii) local charging schemes: I believe
that the number of schemes assumed in the plan would contribute
significantly (maybe up to 20 per cent to 25 per cent depending
on the assumptions made) to the achievement of the congestion
reduction to be delivered by the 10 YP. The number of authorities
currently progressing such schemes is very low. Remedial action
by Government should include reinforcing the message that funds
raised locally will be in addition to those granted through the
Local Transport Plan process. More positive and overt support
from Ministers for the benefits of charging schemes is also necessary.
Potentially of greater importance, both to reduce congestion directly
and also to optimise the value for money of major capital transport
investment in urban areas, would be the linking of approval for
such investment to a thorough and rigorous assessment of the role
of charging in complementing and funding infrastructure provision.
(iii) Local public transport schemes:
whilst much is happening on LRT, and this is welcomed, the bus
is and will remain, the major carrier of public transport journeys
in the country. Authorities (with a few notable exceptions) have
been slow to progress quality partnerships, and to make the progress
in arresting (and turning round) the decline in passenger numbers
that has been achieved in certain places (eg Oxford and certain
corridors in Leeds).
(iv) timing and implementation of
recommendations from multi-modal studies and Regional Transport
Strategies: The MMS process is supported by CfIT as a key element
of an integrated method of planning (transport and land use) and
implementation. However, the plan targets are based on assumptions
about infrastructure improvements (road and public transport)
following on from the multi-modal studies. Whilst it is anticipated
that the Planning Green Paper will be the source of some improvement
in timing, the changes will not become legislation for some years.
The long lead times historically required to deliver major improvements
could prove a barrier to delivery of the necessary improvements
on the ground within the Plan horizon. It is clear that continued
action is required by the Highways Agency (already paralleling
the work of the MMSs) to ensure delivery within timescale. Further,
the current uncertainty over how approved rail improvements (flowing
from MMS) will be fitted into the SRA priorities needed to be
resolved as a matter of urgency.
Overall: the assumed levels of investment
and delivery of schemes is essential to the achievement of the
Plan. Though it is too soon to judge, continuing effort will be
necessary to streamline delivery and to resolve administrative
issues if the projected benefits are to be realised by 2010.
4. Are the skills and capacity available to
deliver the improvements suggested?
This is an area where there is much work ongoing
at present to quantify the scale of the shortfall, and to identify
(i) planning skills: almost certainly notlocal
authorities and consultants are competing in a small pool, and
bringing in considerable overseas assistance, in an endeavour
to satisfy demand.
(ii) design and implementation skills:
there is a shortage of project leaders and engineers to take forward
schemes in local authorities.
(iii) maintenance skills: this is
a particular problem in the rail industry (as evidenced in the
aftermath of Hatfield), and is also becoming a problem for local
authority highways, as considerable additional finance has been
directed towards this area in recent years, after many years of
(iv) drivers: there is currently a
shortfall in the number of rail drivers and bus drivers. As an
example, a number of scheduled services of Arriva trains in the
north east have been cancelled and replaced by bus services, as
a result of a shortage of train drivers.
How will the current situation in the railway
industry affect the need for a provision of private and public
(i) Stephen Byers has put in place the essential
building blocks for the future: lancing the Railtrack boil, a
new direction and focus for the SRA and rationalisation of the
The appointment of Richard Bowker as Chairman
of the SRA is a positive and welcome move. The railways were badly
in need of strong leadership and strategic direction. A unifying
voice to rebuild confidence in the railways and behind which the
industry and, as crucially, the city could rally. I believe Richard
will provide that.
It is necessary, however, to go further and
simplify the current regulatory regimeto provide clarity
and to streamline decision-making. In doing so it will be necessary
to ensure that independent financial regulation is maintained.
The SRA strategic plan has increased certainty
and represents a good basis to rebuild the confidence necessary
to attract private investment. Though getting the "successor
to Railtrack" right is paramount, the current uncertainty
needs to be resolved as soon as possible to continue and reinforce
confidence building. If there is a shortfall in private sector
contribution, the Government should look to find other ways to
make up any deficit.
2. Is the balance and phasing of investment
across funding areas correct?
(i) balance: I was pleased to see the balance
in the 10 YP reflect a shift in investment (as a percentage of
the total) from road to rail. It is also pleasing to see the increased
focus on maintenance (particularly in the local road network).
(ii) phasing: we believe the phasing is reasonable,
providing that it can be achieved. If uncertainty delays rail
investment, while road investment goes to plan, there is the danger
that this could reinforce our car dependence. As stated above,
we are concerned that many major schemes will only be ready for
implementation towards the end of the 10 YP period.
3. Are more flexible financing arrangements
required to deliver major local schemes?
(i) the introduction of the Single Capital
Pot carries the risk that transport will lose out to local priorities
in other sectors. The evidence from Scotland, where the single
capital pot was introduced in 1994 is that between that year and
1998 capital spend on transport by Scottish LAs fell by 40 per
(ii) many of the capital schemes introduced
will generate an obligation for future revenue support. There
is currently no process for ring-fencing revenue support, and
this will continue to be a problem.
4. How do emerging multi-modal studies affect
the 10 Year Plan
(i) timeliness: as discussed under assumptions,
the results of these studies are subject to the normal planning
processes, and whilst that process may potentially be speeded
up by the recent Green Paper, it seems unlikely that many of the
major infrastructure schemes covered by the studies (either road
or rail) will open much before the end of the 10 YP period.
(ii) funding: the evidence (eg from the West
Midlands study) is of a major funding requirement, but since the
implementation timescale will inevitably extend beyond the period
of the 10 Year Plan, this may not be a problem.
5. Should the plan represent a better balance
between large and small schemes, and between infrastructure, management
(i) large and small schemes: Appraisal processes,
historically, have tended to favour investment in major projects
and in road building. The New Approach to Appraisal takes account
of a wide range of objectives (economic, social and environmental),
and it is a tool that can lead to a more balanced view of investment
priorities. However, as yet the benefits of small scale and local
improvements are not sufficiently captured. Techniques need to
be developed to ensure that these can be appraised satisfactorily.
The balance between investment in major projects and small-scale
measures could then be reassessed.
(ii) infrastructure, management and operations:
we have no reason to believe that the balance is not correct (but
see the point above on the need for revenue support), provided
that it is treated differently in different circumstances, taking
account of local conditions. However, investment in infrastructure
should be viewed more widely to include making best use of existing
capacity through investment in active management systems, introduction
of HOV lanes and road user charging.
1. Are the targets and dates for their
achievement well designed (eg is reducing congestion the right
(i) congestion: is certainly one of the right
objectives, as delays and unreliability are of considerable concern
both to business and the travelling public. The current measure
of congestion is (as has been argued at length elsewhere) not
necessarily the most meaningful or most helpful overall. We believe
that a range of different measures are required for a variety
of purposes. The current measure provides an overall efficiency
measure, but is of little help to the understanding of users.
Other measures could identify a "basket of trips" and
or the most congested sections of the systemindicating
both delays and reliability. Much of this data is now available.
CfIT will be advising Ministers later this year on how the current
measure of congestion can be augmented.
(ii) rail growth: I support the focus on
growing passenger numbers and freight tonnage, along with the
improvements sought in punctuality and reliability. Though the
single targets of increasing rail passenger growth by 50 per cent
and rail freight growth by 80 per cent, without reference to separate
sectors of the market, may prove inappropriate. These are valuable
milestones, but are not in themselves sufficient to ensure delivery
of a rail system that contributes fully to the wider, integrated
Concentrating solely on these targets would
run the risk of decisions that deliver growth at the lowest cost,
irrespective of the "value" of the additional journeys
made when judged against the Government's wider criteria of road
congestion relief, emissions reduction, economic growth and social
inclusion. The SRA will need to deliver its strategic plan so
as to ensure that rail plays its full part in delivering the wider
transport, economic and social agenda.
(iii) bus growth: the basic arguments are
similar to those for rail. However, in the case of buses the overall
growth target of 10 per cent is too low. The transport strategy
for London sets a target of 40 per cent growth in bus patronage
which on current growth rates should be achievable (currently
bus use is growing by 6 per cent per annum, implying that 50 per
cent growth by 2010 might be possible). Because London has around
one third of the total bus market, 50 per cent growth would imply
that the Plan target would be met even though patronage fell by
10 per cent in the rest of the country.
The Plan target was drawn up based on much lower
predictions of growth in London and CfIT would want to see it
revised accordingly in the current 10 Year Plan review. A target
of 10 per cent growth outside London would be more appropriate.
(iv) cycling: we believe that the major emphasis,
if more cycling is to be achieved, should be on improved safety,
since two-wheeled vehicles (powered and not) remain the riskiest
forms of transport. This relies on more and better segregation,
visibility, and education of cyclists and motorists. However,
the cycling target appears optimistic unless a significant breakthrough
is made in terms of attitudes to the various modesand this
might come from implementation of local charging schemes. Company
travel plans (through the provision of secure parking and changing/showering
facilities) could also be used to encourage higher levels of commuter
2. What other targets, if any, should be included
(eg modal shift, walking, traffic levels)?
(i) A walking target should be included in
(ii) the general thrust of targets based
on outcomes (such as congestion) is welcomed and should be widened.
There are a number of other such targets which have yet to be
defined but should be developed and included:
(iii) social exclusion: is an objective of
the White Paper, and of the 10 Year Plan. Whilst many of the existing
targets may assist this objective, we believe a specific target
(or set of targets) is necessary. Connected with social exclusion
is the issue of the availability of local services, at a time
when health, social service and education authorities have all
(iv) urban regeneration: similarly, is an
objective of the Plan, but not specifically targeted. Indeed it
is a concern that the Plan does not pay enough attention to achieving
the land-use changes that have such an impact on transport demand.
A useful target in respect of land-use change might be expressed
in terms of the average length of the journey to work, where CfIT's
recent work has shown the UK is the highest in Europe. A target
on urban regeneration per se may not be realistic, however, a
basket of quality of life targets aimed at reflecting the "liveability"
of cities (noise, severance, speed limits, mode splits for walking/cycling)
should be developed.
(v) health impacts: increased uses of public
transport, cycling and walking are all likely to involve more
exercise which should contribute to a reduction in the incidence
of obesity and of coronary heart disease. The measurement of the
incidence of these indicators, alongside the incidence of asthma,
should certainly feature in the monitoring of the 10 Year Plan,
although transport is only one contributor.
3. Should a more regional approach be adopted
for target setting?
(i) In relation to buses and trains, there
are strong reasons for a more disaggregated approach to target
setting and measurement. This extends to recognising the different
economic circumstances of different regions.
1. How well does the Plan balance social and
environmental policy with efficient investment?
(i) Social and environmental objectives are
not necessarily inconsistent with (economically) efficient investment.
Through the development of NATA and GOMMS, the Plan has moved
some way from concentration on predominantly economically driven
investment, for example proposing a large scale investment in
the railways, equal to that proposed for roads. This is welcomed.
Balanced delivery against the broad range of objectives would
be more likely if the targets suggested above2(iii), (iv)
and (v)were adopted.
(ii) the balance between local investment
and strategic networks and the achievement of social and environmental
policy will depend critically upon how the local money is spent.
The Regional Transport Strategies and Local Transport Plans must
be used to ensure that the correct balance is delivered.
2. Does the Plan set out a balanced approach
to all modes (eg walking)?
(i) The words and emphasis of the plan do,
we believe provide a balanced approach to all modes (with the
possible exception at the margin of the role of air travel for
domestic journeys, and the use of short-sea shipping to replace
land-based freight haulage). CfIT's European Best Practice report
highlighted the high commuting distances in the UK. As expressed
earlier in relation to land-use, a target for reduced length of
the journey to work may be more relevant.
3. Are there any conflicts between the Plan
and the policies in the White PaperA New Deal for Transport?
(i) The Plan sets the framework for delivering
the ITWP objectives. The establishment of targets (particularly
output focussed targets as discussed above) to guide investment
decisions is particularly welcomed. As is the step change in funding
for transport. But the plan is to some extent exemplary. The projects
that will actually be delivered are dependent on several work
streamsthe MMS programme, Regional Transport Strategies
and Local Transport Plans, The SRA Strategic Plan which are now
coming to fruition. Whether the Plan delivers the White Paper
objectives will depend on the actual programme of improvement
that is carried out.
4. What impacts will policies in the European
White Paper on Transport have on the Plan?
(i) CfIT has yet to consider this issue.