Memorandum submitted by Living Streets
To meet CO2 targets, there
must be a shift away from cars to other forms of transport, including
The Department for Transport has
done some good work in promoting walking, including the sustainable
travel towns project
However, a greater emphasis on walking
is needed in the second round of local transport plans
The transport innovation fund's promotion
of road pricing projects should be part of an overall package
of policies to reduce CO2 and not merely result in
displacement of traffic
Any reduction in traffic resulting
from road pricing should be used to reallocate road space and
make streets more friendly to pedestrians so that the gains can
be embedded in long-term behavioural change
Assessment of projects to be funded
from the transport innovation fund should give weight to non-monetarised
elements like environmental and social costs alongside the monetarised
A 20 mph limit for residential streets
should be introduced to cut emissions and make it safer for people
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
should use planning policy to reduce car dependency by facilitating
developments that encourage walking
HM Treasury should recognise the
importance of reducing CO2 emissions within the comprehensive
spending review and Government should consider how walking as
an alternative to car use can be encouraged within the revised
climate change programme due to be published in 2006
1. ABOUT LIVING
1.1 Living Streets is a national charity
which campaigns for better streets and public spaces for people
1.2 The history of Living Streets demonstrates
the strength of our agenda. We were formed in 1929, as the Pedestrians
Association. We have grown rapidly in the last few years and our
work is supported by a network of 46 branches and affiliated groups,
40 local authority members and a growing number of corporate members.
1.3 As well as working to influence others,
we also carry out a range of practical work to implement our vision.
This includes facilitating Community Street Audits (which engage
with the people using streets to identify improvements) and providing
training and consultancy to practitioners who design and manage
2.1 This response from Living Streets focusses
on the contribution of walking alternatives to car use as part
of measures to reduce carbon emissions from transport. Although
the inquiry's call for submissions focusses on the role of the
Department for Transport, we have also addressed the role of Government
more widely in this agendaparticularly the Office for the
Deputy Prime Minister's work on sustainable communities and how
this is translated in planning policy and local authority practice.
2.2 The response draws on our experience
of working on sustainable transport policy and through our work
with other transport organisations.
2.3 The recommendations in the submission
concentrate on central government's role but much of what can
be done to encourage walking is the responsibility of local authorities.
3. THE CONTRIBUTION
3.1 Whilst technological advances (for instance
through lower emissions from vehicles using hybrid technology
and the use of alternative fuels) can contribute significant reductions
in carbon emissions, they will not in themselves enable the UK
to achieve its targets to reduce CO2 emissions. A modal
shift to other forms of transport, including walking, is needed
to complement technological change if targets are to be met.
3.2 The VIBAT study
by the Bartlett School of Planning at University College London
set out to explore ways to reduce CO2 emissions by
60% by 2030. It concluded that technological change on its own,
even with a very strong push on efficient vehicles and alternative
fuels, could not provide the necessary reductions in carbon emissions
because of the additional car-based travel to be expected in the
3.3 Walking can contribute to the modal
shift required provided certain policies are put in place. Since
the end of the 1980s, the average amount of time spent travelling
by car increased by 7% whilst the amount of time spent walking
decreased by 20% to 67 hours in 2004. People are also less willing
to consider walking for short distances compared to driving by
car. In 2000 the proportion of people agreeing they could just
as easily walk or cycle as take the car for short journeys was
41% compared with 37% in 2002.
3.4 To tackle this decline in walking, Living
Streets argues for policy makers, planners and highways engineers
to work together to create an environment in which walking is
more pleasant, less obstructed by vehicle traffic and poor street
design and where jobs and services are in walking distance of
people homes. Achieving behavioural change requires joint working
across Government Departments and between different departments
of local authorities working in partnership with other public
agencies and the community.
3.5 Joint working across and between central
and local government should aim to produce:
improved road safetyincluding
lower speed limits and roadspace reallocation to give greater
space and priority to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport;
a better connected and more legible
pedestrian network in which people can walk to jobs and services
and in which signage and information allows pedestrians to find
their way around;
better personalised information for
people so that they can make informed decisions about how they
can travel to their destination. This is particularly important
as people often overestimate walking times and underestimate car
journey times. A study from Darlington found that people underestimate
the time for trips with motorised private modes by a quarter and
massively overestimate the time by other modes of transport.
better planning and development of
new building and location of local jobs and services so that people
are able to walk.
3.6 The VIBAT study suggested that measures
to enable and increase walking as a mode of transport could directly
or indirectly contribute to significant reductions in CO2
emissions. The measures and impacts are listed below:
|Policy theme||Individual measures
|contribution to overall|
|Liveable Cities|| higher density urban areas with local centres and decentralised services like schools and hospitals|
upgraded public transport
improved urban design
heavy investment in walking and cycling
|Soft factors|| workplace travel planning|
school travel plans
personalised travel planning
|Ecological driving|| slower speed limits, including implementing the Safer Streets Coalitions call for default 20 mph in residential streets|
3.7 The measures outlined above are estimated to contribute
36.4% of the 25.7 mtc reduction in CO2 needed to cut
emissions by 60% by 2030.
4. ROLE OF
4.1 The Department for Transport has done some good work
to promote walking. The walking and cycling action plan has been
actively championed by the relevant team within the Department
and with other Departments.
4.2 The DfT's sustainable travel towns project (with
Darlington, Peterborough and Worcester) should offer good models
of the potential for sustainable travel policies, although the
impact of policies in isolation may not be as effective as the
introduction of national policies to promote sustainable travel.
4.3 Local transport plans have also been useful. Guidance
on the second wave of plans emphasised the need to include walking
and cycling policies. However, the evaluation report on the first
wave of LTPs found
that few of the local authorities studied cited walking and cycling
as key achievements. The report also revealed that local authorities
were spending significantly more per head on car and bus-related
schemes than on walking and cycling. The Department should seek
to ensure that the second round of LTPs achieves more for walking
4.4 Living Streets is also concerned that there may be
a move towards downgrading sustainability within transport policy
as productivity is stressed. Although the transport innovation
fund has the priority of congestion as well as productivity, we
are concerned that it does not adequately address the need to
tackle emissions. Introducing road user charging, the key element
of the congestion priority in the transport innovation fund guidance,
does not necessarily reduce emissions if traffic is merely displaced.
We have signed up to a position statement along with other organisations
on the Transport Activists Roundtable (see attached annex A).
4.5 To avoid displacement road user charging should be
introduced on an area basis rather than on individual roads. Road
user charging may also offer opportunities to balance road space
more effectively and reallocate space to other uses such as widened
pavements, cycle paths and bus lanes if traffic levels go down.
The advent of the congestion charge in London and the lower traffic
levels that have resulted have allowed local authorities to implement
schemes to make streets more friendly to pedestrians. These include
more crossing points, introduction or increased time for pedestrian
phases on crossings and re-engineering of junctions to enable
pedestrians to have greater priority.
4.6 The guidance for the transport innovation fund also
seems to suggest that traffic should increase to support productivity
rather than a more sophisticated approach that looks at substitutes,
as suggested in the Government's Foresight report on future transport
transport innovation fund guidance does says that the assessment
of potential productivity schemes will recognise the need for
a sustainable balance between wider economic growth, social inclusion
and environmental objectives. However the DfT puts increasing
"the mobility of people or goods in a way that reduces business
costs" as the first component of this assessment.
We are concerned that this does not give sufficient emphasis on
wider social and environmental objectives and does not recognise
the opportunity to explore ICT and other technologies to substitute
for traffic growth.
4.7 We are also concerned about the extent to which assessments
of value for money take account of environmental concerns. The
DfT's "new approach to assessment", key to the new approach
to grow the transport innovation fund compared to modal shares
of funding within DfT, would appear to place less emphasis on
non-monetarised values, like the impact of CO2 emissions,
compared to money based cost benefit ratios.
4.8 Restricting the availability of parking can also
help promote alternatives to car transport. The Department for
Transport introduced a new power for local authorities to levy
charges on workplace parking in the 2000 Transport Act once approval
is granted by the Secretary of State for Transport. However, the
DfT has said that only Nottingham City Council is liaising with
it over plans for a levy on workplace charging. We are disappointed
that more local authorities have not developed plans for workplace
car park charging.
4.9 Safer streets are an important element in encouraging
more people to walk. The Department of Transport should support
proposals for a default 20 mph limit for residential streets.
This would both reduce emissions and make streets safer for people
5. ROLE OF
5.1 The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (and in its
earlier guises as DETR and DTLR) has recognised that land use
planning has an important role to play in promoting more sustainable
transport and reducing CO2 emissions.
5.2 Planning Policy Guidance Note 13 (from 2001) set
out how land use planning could play a role in an integrated transport
strategy. It pointed out that the location, scale, density, design
and mix of land uses of development could "help to reduce
the need to travel, reduce the length of journeys and make it
safer and easier for people to access jobs, shopping, leisure
facilities and services by public transport, walking, and cycling".
5.3 Planning Policy Statement 6
was consistent with this, stressing how new developments like
shops and offices should be within walking distance or accessible
by public transport.
5.4 However, we are concerned that the draft Planning
Policy Statement 3 on housing (currently out for consultation)
marks a move away from this. Planning Policy Guidance Note 3 (which
PPS3 will replace when it is approved) said that planning authorities
"place the needs of people before ease of
traffic movement in designing the layout of residential developments;
seek to reduce car dependence by facilitating
more walking and cycling, by improving linkages by public transport
between housing, jobs, local services and local amenity, and by
planning for mixed use".
5.5 The new draft PPS3 is much less clear. Transport
is only discussed in relation to:
the need to take account of local transport strategies,
the focus for rural housing being focussed in
market towns and other centres which are well served by public
the level of housing density being informed by
the location and level of public transport accessibility.
5.6 Draft PPS3 seems to be responding to the push for
meeting new homes targets, as is also reflected in the Barker
Review of Housing Supply, and away from planning's contribution
to environmental goals.
5.7 Draft PPS3 also marks a departure in terms of policy
towards car parking. PPG3 talked about the Government expecting
significantly lower parking standards in the future.
Draft PPS3 on the other hand says that local planning authorities
should develop parking policies which have regard to "expected
car ownership for planning housing in different locations, the
efficient use of land and the importance of promoting good design".
Draft PPS3 should be redrafted to be consistent with earlier guidance
and the expectation of lower parking standards.
5.8 Living Streets supports the move from community strategies
to sustainable community strategies and the official definition
of sustainable communities. Local strategic partnerships should
also consider how different agencies can work together and pool
resources to promote and develop alternatives to car use in their
development of sustainable community strategies.
6. ROLE OF
6.1 Other Departments have a role to play in tackling
CO2 emissions from transport. The Treasury should recognise
in the comprehensive spending review that the long-term challenges
for the UK include climate change alongside productivity and international
competitiveness. The Eddington study on the long-term impact of
transport decisions on the UK's productivity, stability and growth
should be looked at alongside the need to create a more sustainable
planning and transport system.
6.2 DEFRA also has a role with its stewardship of the
UK Climate Change Programme, agreed in 2000. Although policies
to support walking as an alternative to car use are mentioned,
we would like to see the revised Climate Change Programme give
a greater emphasis to this when it is published in 2006.
6.3 Other service delivery Departments will also have
a role to play in promoting walking as an alternative. Departments
could do more to encourage walking for their staff and in local
centres (eg job centres, hospitals, schools, etc). A good example
of this is the Department for Education and Skills' work with
the DfT to promote walking to school.
Visioning and Backcasting for UK Transport Policy (Bartlett School
of Planning, University College London and Halcrow Group Ltd.
Department for Transport-Horizons Research Programme, 2004-05).
see http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~ucft696/vibat.html Back
Transport Trends 2005 edition (DfT, 2006). Figures compare 1989-91
with 2004. Back
Darlington: Sustainable Travel Demonstration Town Travel Behaviour
Research Baseline Survey 2004 (Socialdata and Sustrans for Darlington
Borough Council, 2005). Back
Long Term Process and Impact Evaluation of the Local Transport
Plan Policy (WS Atkins for Department of Transport, 2005). Back
Intelligent Infrastructure Futures: The Scenarios-Towards 2055
(Office of Science and Technology, 2006). Back
Transport Innovation Fund: Guidance (DfT, January 2006), para
Planning Policy Guidance Note 13: Transport (DETR, 2001). Back
Planning Policy Statement 6: Planning for Town Centres (ODPM,
PPG3 (DETR, 2000) para 11. Back
Draft PPS3 (ODPM, 2005) para 20. Back