Select Committee on Transport Written Evidence

Memorandum from the Intelligent Transport Society for the United Kingdom [ITS (UK)] (DLTB 32)


  1.1  The Intelligent Transport Society for the United Kingdom, known as ITS (UK), is pleased to provide comment on the Draft Local Transport Bill. ITS (UK) is a not for profit organisation of around 150 organisations in the transport field who are working to promote the use of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). These are combinations of sensors, communications and mobile Information Technology designed to assist all modes of transport. ITS (UK) is fortunate in having membership from across the UK and beyond drawn from the public and private sectors and from academia. We are funded entirely from member subscriptions and can therefore independently represent the interests of the whole membership spectrum in this rapidly developing field.

  A complete list of our Members is attached to this Response.

  In particular ITS (UK) would like to respond to the Transport Committee's invitation as follows:


  2.1  Government has set out its desire to sponsor charging using both the simple tag and beacon approach, and comprehensive Time, Distance, Place charging involving satellite-linked on-board units. However, there is a large gap in understanding between Government and Local Authorities in respect of how delivery of such schemes at a local level should converge to enable compatibility, interoperability and transparency to the customer. The Bill aims to give Local Authorities greater powers to design, procure and operate schemes with less direct Government involvement. If the schemes are to operate cooperatively, and in the longer term converge to form a national scheme, then the means of intercept needs defining. Substantial costs and resource effort will be saved if the path to the intercept method is understood in advance of the local schemes being designed. It is essential that the Department for Transport continues to be the focus for designing and promulgating a national road pricing technology framework, which is in turn compatible with EU-wide initiatives, and does not leave the impression that the Government is distancing itself from the implementation of Road User Charging schemes.

  2.2  It is a truth universally acknowledged that a successful road pricing scheme must be built on the foundations of strong public transport and alternative travel choices. Managing and delivering both of these types of service can be substantially improved by deploying proven Intelligent Transport Systems techniques and it is clear that there is a large gap between the best Local Authority practitioners and the weakest. Regrettably too many Local Authorities are simply not aware of the range and capabilities of currently available ITS technologies. There would be substantial benefits, and substantial economies of scale, if Government were to organise centrally a programme of reference book and face-to-face tutorials to raise Local Authorities" awareness of ITS technologies and good practice

  2.3  There will be smaller but worthwhile savings from wider use of measures to enable pooling or joint arrangements between schemes, for example, the introduction of powers allowing Local Authorities to act on behalf of, supply service to, and enter into joint arrangements with, other authorities. Local Authorities should be encouraged to avoid individual procurements and pool their needs rules thereby avoiding multiple inefficient exercises. The Government needs to consider this issue and decide whether to issue standard "framework" contracts centrally for Local Authorities to use.

  2.4  The Bill deals largely with Public Transport issues on which ITS (UK) has few comments apart from the need for Local Authorities to have a better understanding, and thus move to a better deployment, of complementary ITS systems and services available today. It is important to avoid the feeling that the Road User Charging elements of the draft Bill are there regardless of the other elements and reflect transport improvements that have been delivered through other elements of the Bill, potentially reflecting a fiscal approach as opposed to a congestion reduction approach.

  2.5  The manner and delivery of revenue collection from Road User Charging is vital for public acceptance and a simple and evident process is required to ensure reassurance and process transparency. A clear indication of the relationship between investment and revenue hypothecation must be detailed and published with regular reporting to reinforce that position. Such a process will obviate previous criticisms concerning the use of revenues generated by Road Safety Cameras and the public perception that such schemes are tax-raising schemes rather than systems to tackle transportation and congestion issues.

  2.6  Consideration also needs to given to schemes" running costs" as these are typically either underestimated or not fully understood from the outset. As with system integration it is essential that the Department for Transport continues to be the focus for technology advice and issues clear guidance on achievable "ceilings" on running costs.


  3.1  Enforcement is a key component of any local road pricing scheme. Enforcement aims to contribute to the sustainability of any scheme by ensuring that unpaid charges are collected and the scheme operator's revenue streams are preserved. Working alongside education and information programmes, enforcement also aims to maximise user compliance thereby helping each scheme achieve its objectives. Enforcement also helps reduce incidences of deliberate misuse, fraud or evasion and should assist in reducing the number of payments missed due to genuine errors.

  3.2  For this to happen, the following need to be considered:

    —  Enforcement must not just be fair it must be seen to be fair—for a scheme to be credible, enforcement must try to ensure that all drivers (or other relevant liable parties) pay the correct charges accrued by them for using roads within a scheme boundary.

    —  Unless the scheme uses physical barriers to control entry to the pricing zone (such as the Durham scheme), enforcement needs to be effective, be carried out retrospectively but swiftly, and should not restrict the movement of vehicles in any way.

    —  Enforcement carried out retrospectively relies on tried and tested technology to record the presence of vehicles within the pricing zone and to identify their registered owner/keeper by matching their licence plate with vehicle registration information held by the DVLA. For this process to be effective, the following need to be considered:

    —  The procedures for administering and collecting penalties need to be established.

    —  The location of roadside technology and its impact on the urban streetscape

    —  The accuracy and completeness of the DVLA database

    —  The degree to which vehicles not registered by the DVLA can be identified.

    —  A fair and scalable prosecution and adjudication system must be established which is able to support a fair penalty Road User Charging structure defined at a national level.

    —  DVLA must be given new powers to permit the exchange of registered owner details with selected other peer authorities in other EU and EEA member states.

    —  For enforcement purposes a scheme operator needs access to the data held by Revenue & Customs on non-UK registered vehicles at the point of entry to / exit from the UK.


  4.1  The Bill promotes considerable common sense in promoting the use of public transport as a means to tackle congestion and climate change however schemes will require imaginative and innovative approaches to match public expectations. It will be necessary for Local Authorities to carry out what, for many, will be difficult and innovative customer research exercises incorporating local consultation meetings as well as focus groups, other market research techniques and wider public involvement in decision making processes.

  4.2  Local Authorities need to design Road User Charging schemes inside the wider concepts of guaranteed service delivery using an assured inexpensive and reliable service linked to faster journey times on all occasions. Public engagement in delivering well targeted schemes to make individual schemes are effective is important. A long term transport vision related to high profile efficient public transport needs to be integrated with ITS schemes to ensure the most serious congestion are resolved in the short term however this need to be linked to a plan to make public transport a genuine future alternative prior to any imposed introduction of a nationwide Road User Charging scheme or "carbon rationing'.


  5.1  The Bill targets strategic objectives and sets out examples of how to deliver them couched in terms such as "Propose reforms'," Propose new PTA's', "Introduce "quality contracts'. However the identification of the associated substantial funding sources that will facilitate those desired changes remains unanswered. Other potential concerns include how Local Authorities will maintain and not lose sight of the hierarchy of services in local, regional and national contexts, as improvements in local services should seek to enhance the patronage of, not detract from, nor be at the expense of regional and national services. Ideally there would be enhancement of national services; however where such investment for an already overcrowded transport system could come from also remains unanswered. In promoting public transport schemes to tackle congestion there is a need to consider the best options between bus, rail, taxi and other bespoke transport systems.


  6.1  ITS (UK) has the following points on powers and related legislation:

    —  Regarding DfT Circular 01/2007 Para. 16/17—the Bill needs to make explicit that enforcement / detection / monitoring equipment such as cameras or DSRC beacons on poles / gantries, including cabinets is not "development" so neither planning permission nor permitted development rights are required.

    —  Local Authorities will need inspection and enforcement powers for tags and GPS-based On-board Units. These need to make explicit that the data gathered from these devices can be used for evidential purposes; as at present only images are regarded as sufficiently robust as primary evidence without a witness statement.

    —  The Bill proposes using regulations for:

      a.  Imposing limits on the charges payable

      b.  Regulating exemptions and discounts

      c.  Ensuring consistent vehicle classification

      d.  Equipment and traffic signs.

  Far too often the time needed to centrally prepare such regulations is too long. For example, the regulations on bus lane enforcement were only agreed recently—6 years after the publication of the Traffic Act 2000; in addition key parts of regulations related to the Traffic Management Act 2004 are still outstanding. The Government needs to consider this situation and decide how these issues would be addressed through local regulations.


  7.1  ITS UK welcomes the proposals to assign greater control to Local Authorities through the Bill. This is a key requirement to enable public transport interchange but more importantly it acknowledges that public transport is a key component of the delivery of integration of Intelligent Transport Systems Applications.

  7.2  The Bill addresses a broad range of important transport issues, but could have been even more potent and influential if it had set out some specific reference to the capabilities and deployment of Intelligent Transport Systems in public transport. The Bill has made loose reference to how tackling congestion through improved public transport will influence and impact on climate change; however it fails to identify how this would be estimated. In addition there is no mention of how this relates to other environmental gains and social issues. Furthermore there is a need to understand local and regional land use planning and its impact on transport and public transport such as linking education establishment's schools and public transport

  7.3  ITS (UK) welcomes the draft Local Transport Bill and supports the ethos that is included therein. These comments are intended to be supportive of the proposals acknowledging that road space availability is finite and measures need to be put into place to address these for the improved management of urban networks and environmental implications.

June 2007


The Intelligent Transport Society for the United Kingdom



  Amey Infrastructure Services

  Atkins Transport Systems

  Atos Origin


  Capita Symonds


  Department for Regional Development

  Department for Transport

  Department of Trade & Industry

  Essex County Council


  Glasgow City Council

  Highways Agency

  IBI Group



  Mott MacDonald Ltd

  Mouchel Parkman Services Ltd

  QinetiQ Ltd

  Real Fleet Ltd

  RedSpeed International

  Scottish Executive

  Serco Integrated Transport

  Transport for London

  TRL Ltd

  University of Southampton

  Welsh Assembly Government




  ACPO ITS Working Group

  AGD Systems Ltd

  Ankerbold International Ltd

  Appian Technology

  Applied Traffic

  BAA Plc

  Babtie Group

  Barco Limited

  Barlow Lyde & Gilbert

  Brighton & Hove City Council

  Bristol City Council

  Cambridge Consultants Ltd

  Cardiff County Council

  Carl Bro

  Centaur Consulting

  City of Edinburgh Council

  Computer Recognition Systems Ltd

  ConsultingStream Ltd

  DAR Consultants (UK) Ltd

  Densitron Ferrograph Limited

  Derwent CCTV Ltd

  Dundee City Council

  EC Harris

  e-Plate Ltd

  ESYS Plc

  Golden River Traffic Ltd


  Hampshire County Council (ITS Group)

  Home Office Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB)

  Hyder Consulting Ltd

  Ian Catling Consultancy

  Ian Routledge Consultancy

  IDT Ltd

  Imperial College

  Initial Electronic Security Systems

  Integrate Systems Engineering

  ITIS Limited

  JAI UK Ltd

  Kapsch TrafficCom

  Lancashire County Council

  Last Mile Communications

  Leicester City Council

  Liverpool City Council- 2020 Liverpool Ltd


  Marconi Transportation

  MATTISSE Consortium

  Merseyside Passenger Transport Authority

  Merseytravel (Passenger Transport Executive)

  Met Office

  MIRA Ltd


  National Car Parks Ltd


  Norfolk County Council

  Norwich Union Insurance


  Ordnance Survey

  Parsons Brinckerhoff

  Peek Traffic Ltd

  Peter Brett Associates

  PIPS Technology Limited

  Police Service of Northern Ireland

  Rapp Trans (UK) Ltd

  RBS Insurance


  Scott Wilson

  Sheffield City Council

  Siemens Traffic Controls Ltd

  Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Ltd

  Southampton City Council

  Speedcheck Services Ltd

  Systems Engineering and Assessment Ltd

  Techspan Systems Ltd

  Telenor Connect A/S

  Tenet Technology Ltd

  Thales Telecom Services

  Trafficlink (UK) Ltd

  Trafficmaster plc

  Transpomatica Consultants Ltd

  Transport Technology Consultants

  TSEU Ltd

  Tyco Integrated Systems Ltd

  University College Dublin

  University of Leeds

  University of Newcastle upon Tyne

  Variable Message Signs Ltd

  Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (VOSA)

  Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council

  Warrington Borough Council

  West Yorkshire PTE

  White Willow Consulting

  White Young Green

  ZenSar (UK) Ltd


  The AA

  BIFA (British International Freight AssociationBMF (British Motorcyclists Federation)


  Dornier Consulting GmbH

  Dublin Transportation Office

  Efkon AG

  European Secure Vehicle Alliance (ESVA)


  Institution of Highways & Transportation

  ITSO Ltd

  Mapflow Ltd

  Oracle Network

  PACTS (Parliamentary Adv.Council for Transport Safety

  Pinpoint Faraday Partnership

  Q-Free Tolling AS

  Richmond Management Group


  Royal Institute of Navigation

  Skills for Logistics

  Smartex Ltd

  University of Westminster


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Prepared 3 August 2007