Examination of Witnesses (Question Numbers
Mark Kemp, James Coates, Stephen Glaister and Nick
29 March 2011
Q74 Chair: Good
morning, gentlemen, and welcome to the Transport Committee. Please
could you give your name and organisation? This is for our records.
We will start at the end.
My name is Stephen Glaister. I am Director of the RAC Foundation,
which is an independent research charity.
James Coates: My
name is Jim Coates. I am a member of the Public Policies Committee
of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport. I am sorry
that is a mouthful.
Mark Kemp: My name
is Mark Kemp. I am representing the Association of Directors of
Environment, Planning and TransportADEPT. I am Chair of
the National Traffic Managers Forum.
Nick Reed: My name
is Nick Reed. I am a researcher at the Transport Research Laboratory.
Q75 Chair: How
does bad driving affect congestion?
Mark Kemp: I think
there are plenty of examples of poor driving behaviour causing
congestion, particularly when you talk about the urban environment.
Abuse of the yellow boxes, improper parking, people not leaving
space at traffic signals and those sorts of things certainly cause
congestion and lock up the system at peak times. That is the critical
thing. Congestion tends, in most parts of the country, to be a
peak issue rather than an issue throughout the day. There is the
other issue around tailgating and therefore shunts happening as
people are braking on the faster roads around the network, and
then you have planned and unplanned incidents which will then
One of the important considerations as our roads get close to
their capacity is the damage to traffic flow caused by incidents,
as was just referred to. To the extent that major and minor accidents
are caused by bad driving, it is a very significant source of
I am sure we have all experienced the effect of major
accidents on motorways, which causes the road to be closed for
a very long period of time. If anything can be done to reduce
the incidence of those and the length of those incidents, that
would be enormously helpful in reducing congestion.
James Coates: I
suppose the other thing is that lane discipline on motorways is
often not very good. You find that there are too many vehicles
in the fast lanes and not enough people using the slow lane. One
of the results of the managed motorway system on the M42 was that
by controlling speeds, opening up the hard shoulder and having
an influence on lane discipline they got a more even spread of
traffic over the whole capacity of the motorway and that increased
the throughput. That is a way in which clever traffic management
arrangements can cajole drivers into doing things that they ought
to be doing but aren't.
Q76 Chair: Mr
Reed, do you want to add anything to that on the impact of actual
driving on congestion?
Nick Reed: Yes.
Mr Kemp mentioned tailgating leading to potential incidents. It
also leads to sharp braking, which can cause shockwaves in the
traffic flow and the phantom tailbacks that I am sure we have
all experienced from time to time where there is no specific cause
of the congestion, but the shockwave from vehicles braking heavily
causes other vehicles to brake behind them and so flow is interrupted.
Q77 Chair: Has
the Traffic Management Act made congestion better? Has it improved
Mark Kemp: The
Traffic Management Act has been very helpful for local authorities
in that it has enabled officers to raise the profile of transport
and transport issues within the authority for members. Certainly,
the requirement on the lead authority to consider traffic congestion
and the expeditious movement of traffic as a whole authority has
been very important.
One of the areas where we have a little bit of a
problem is where we have twotier authorities and therefore
the planning authority, which is senior to the highway authority
in terms of the planning consideration, doesn't necessarily have
the same requirements. There is a challenge there for us in terms
of the dilemma between economic growth and planning considerations
and the impact of congestion on the network.
Q78 Chair: Is
the localism agenda a good or bad thing in relation to dealing
James Coates: The
Chartered Institute, on the whole, is rather in favour of the
localism agenda and getting back to the situation where local
authorities are as powerful and independent as they were in the
19th century, when Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham
wouldn't have come to Whitehall for a grant to build a new town
hall; they got on with it. But there is an important proviso.
Q79 Chair: Can
we take it at the localism agenda of today and not go back two
James Coates: What
worries us, I think, about the localism agenda is that it might
be half-hearted. The Government may say they want more responsibility
to be devolved to local authorities, but they are not giving local
authorities the powers and the means to do it. They won't have
enough resources. If they want to raise the money locally, which
I happen to think would be much more sensible than getting it
from the centre, they may find that they are capped or they are
told they have to freeze their rates. That may be okay at the
moment as a temporary measure, but in the long run you want local
authorities to have access to the business rate, then there is
a local democratic decision whether they want to spend more on
things or not, and local authorities can get on with it.
The other thing that I suppose slightly worries us
is that the localism agenda seems to have got rid of the regional
tier. We have the LEPs, and we are not quite sure how they are
going to turn out. But a lot of local authority areas are far
too small for sensible transport planning, which is what congestion
relief is partly depending on. You need sensible arrangements
at subregional level, and we have to hope that the LEPs
and the local authorities will work together and that in some
of the big cities they will use the powers to create integrated
transport authorities and so on, but we wait to see.
There is a fourth point, if I could make it, which
is that central Government can't wash its hands of local transport
problems. We are rather worried that central Government might
just say, "It is nothing to do with us." Indeed, I think,
when the Secretary of State gave evidence to this Committee before
Christmas, he more or less said that. "Stop asking me questions
about that," he said. "This is a matter for local authorities."
But there are certain things with which central Government
still has to concern itself. One is the legislation and powers.
Another is some degree of uniformity in managing traffic, because
motorists from different parts of the country don't want to be
confronted with something totally unfamiliar; there has to be
some central regulation. And central Government is responsible
for the national motorway network.
Perhaps now is not the moment for me to make this
point, but congestion on the motorways at the peak period is caused
to a very large extent by what local authorities are or are not
doing, not by what the highways authorities do.
Just to add to Mr Coates's answer, which I entirely agree with,
there is clearly a very big distinction between the strategic
routes and the local road network. Presumably, there is a network
for which central Government is and will remain entirely responsible
and accountable, currently defined by the Highways Agency.
Our worry is the area between the Highways Agency
and the local authority. There are a very large number of very
large roads which, for funding purposes, do not come under the
direct control of the Highways Agency. If I give you an example,
the A12 is a major road going from the boundary of London all
the way up to the ports at Felixstowe and Harwich. That road was,
for funding purposes, the responsibility of the East of England
RDA. I am entirely unclear about what is going to happen about
the accountability for that road, but in terms of dealing with
management and capacity improvements on that road, we surely can't
expect the local communities through which it goes to deal with
the proper stewardship of that major highway. I think that kind
of thing is repeated all over the country.
Q80 Paul Maynard: I
asked these questions to the first panel, which you may have seen
earlier, but I just wanted to compare it with your answers. What
improvements to effective traffic flow do you think have arisen
from the increased number of Highways Agency traffic officers
on our roads?
I am not sure I have evidence to cite about the effect over time
on the motorways. Just to go back to the same example, what I
do know is that, after an inquiry into the functioning of the
A12, Essex County Council provided some funds to put traffic officers
on to the A12 where they hadn't been in the past, because typically,
I think, they are only on motorways. That has been looked after
by a partnership between the county council, the police and the
Highways Agency. It has been enormously successful.
One of the big problems on that road, like many others,
is that when you have major incidents there is no alternative
route and the road just stops for hours on end. The traffic officers
have been very effective in clearing the incidents up more quickly
and managing the incident while it is being cleared up. I think
the partnership was very keen to continue with that arrangement
in spite of the withdrawal of central Government funding recently.
I think there is some evidence from that particular example of
what we would all expectif you give some care and attention
to the daytoday management of a busy road, you can
actually make it function a lot better, and traffic officers have
been effective in that case.
Q81 Paul Maynard: Do
any of the panel have any evidence or knowledge of what occurs
in Europe in terms of clearing up after accidents to reopen roads?
Is there anything they do differently from which you feel we could
learn? You may not know anything at all.
I can offer something as a result of some work that was published
about a year ago, which was comparing performance in different
parts of this country. Different police authorities have different
ways of dealing with this subject. Some authorities will have
trained officers who will go to the site, who can take photographs
straight away. Other authorities will use a specialist photographer
who may be at the other end of the county when an accident happens.
Different police authorities are differently effective in dealing
with accidents quickly, which tells me that if everybody adopted
best practice, there could be an improvement.
Q82 Paul Maynard: Finally,
Dr Reed, I read your evidence about bus lanes quite carefully.
Would you be able to identify any key variables that made a bus
lane more effective than a bus lane that did not work, because
there seemed to be a lot of varying experience and I could not
identify what made one work and the other fail?
Nick Reed: The
bus lane aspect of the written evidence wasn't part of my contribution.
From what I understand, the length of the setback is a key aspect
and that is very location-specific.
Q83 Paul Maynard: What
do you mean by "setback"?
Nick Reed: The
distance between the end of the bus lane and the junction so you
can allow traffic to turn left at that junction.
James Coates: Can
I answer something on your question about bus lanes? I am not
an expert on traffic management but I listen to people who are.
Yes, I think there is that point. If you have a bus lane going
all the way up to the traffic lights, that would reduce the capacity
of the junction for all the other traffic. So, normally, that
doesn't happen; normally it is set back.
One of the bits of evidence you have been given makes
the point that, if you reduce the other capacity too much so that
traffic tails back, the buses can't get into the bus lane in the
first place. That has happened, for instance, on the Holloway
Road in Islington. There is a double bus lane there, but quite
often at the junctions the buses are held up by the other traffic
and they can't get through.
My main conclusion from all that is that you have
to be very clever and expert in how you do it. You have to tailor
the bus lane to the circumstances.
Q84 Paul Maynard: The
main lesson is that there are no lessons about bus lanes.
James Coates: There
are. There are examples where bus lanes have been extremely successful
in improving the speed of the journey for bus passengers. Where
that has been done as part of an overall strategy, because of
the improvement in the service, more people are travelling by
bus and fewer by car, and therefore that has, in some instances,
even reduced the congestion to the cars as well as to the buses.
Q85 Chair: Are
you saying, Mr Coates, that bus lanes can in fact help?
James Coates: Bus
lanes are very important.
Q86 Jim Dobbin: I
am interested in this giving power back to the local arealocalism.
It is my understanding that, in Europe, they manage their utilities
and the repair of those facilities much better. We see examples
here all the time of the water company coming and ripping up the
roads and repairing them, and then the gas people will come in
and do exactly the same over a period of a few months. Do you
think the Government and local government should look at how to
James Coates: The
Government have legislated on that, and local authorities now
have new powers and responsibilities for managing roadworks. I
am not an expert on how that is working, but one hopes it makes
an improvement. Perhaps Professor Glaister can say something on
There was an earlier question about the congestion
in London after the congestion charge was introduced, and I think
the answer to that was that traffic fell and congestion was considerably
reduced at first, but now it has grown back and the speeds are
just as low as they were before the congestion charge was introduced.
The main reason that Transport for London gives for this is that
roadworks have disrupted the traffic and caused this great slowing
down. Of course, there is a problem in old cities like London
that a lot of the old Victorian infrastructure is crumbling and
has to be replaced. In some countries like Germany, they have
put them all under the pavements so that when you have to replace
them you don't dig up the carriageway, but we haven't done that.
I think that the Traffic Management Act has been a step in the
right direction. It has been helpful, and the permitting system
that goes with that has been helpful. But I think there is probably
a long way to go to get to the best outcome.
As I understand it, there is little mechanism for
local authorities to persuade the utilities to put more effort
into those physical situations where there is a lot of congestion
on the very important routes as opposed to a back street. Essentially,
the permit system is blind as to whether it is a minor road or
a major road. I think, at the end of the day, the only thing that
will solve that is if there is a financial incentive on the utilities
to put more effort into the places where it really matters, and,
at the moment there isn't that incentive.
I am very interested, as I believe the Mayor of London
is, in the idea of lane rental, where the utility, like everybody
else, should pay for the amount of road space that they use in
doing their legitimate business and delivering services. That
charge should relate to the value of the particular piece of road
and therefore to the amount of congestion they are causing. That
will give them financial incentives to put more people in and
to plan and do all the things they could do to get the roadworks
done more quickly rather than less quickly.
To achieve that, to get the utilities to accept that,
we have to persuade the utility regulators to allow the cost of
lane rental into their legitimate cost of doing business, provided
they do that economically and efficiently, as the phrase goes.
At the moment we have a difficulty because the financial incentives
are not aligned. Until they are aligned, I don't think we will
make a lot of progress.
Q87 Jim Dobbin: I
understand that, to be able to tackle local flooding, they determined
that a local authority would be the lead agency. Isn't that clearly
what we want here? In other words, the local authority would lead
all these other agencies, the utilities and so on, and coordinate
In the sense that it would take a lead in planning everything
and deciding when things got done, that kind of thing, if they
had the resources and powers to do that, that may be a way forward.
I am not sure they have either at the moment, though, do they?
Do they have the powers?
Q88 Jim Dobbin: I
understand that, as far as coordinating action against local
flooding is concerned, the local authority has that power now.
That is my understanding.
James Coates: I
am a bit out of date on this, but I believe that the utilities
have to notify the highway authority if they wish to dig up the
road. Sometimes it is an emergencythe gas main has fractured
or something and they have to do it, and the local authority then
has to introduce traffic management measures to try and minimise
the disruption that it has caused. There is a system in place
already that I think does not work very well and the new legislation
is supposed to rectify this, but I am sure it is the case that
the utilities have to tell the local authority and, in principle
therefore, the local authority, having had requests from the water
board, the electricity board and the gas board, can coordinate
things. But in practice it is much more difficult than that.
Q89 Chair: Mr
Kemp, can you assist us with this and how it actually works?
Mark Kemp: Yes.
There is a role for the highway authority in terms of coordinating
and we work very closely with the utilities to try and coordinate
works. It is very difficult, as Mr Coates was just saying, with
emergency works and that sort of thing. But there are plenty of
examples. For example, we have major gas works going on in the
middle of Cambridge at the moment. We have had quite a lot of
meetings with the gas board to get the works coordinated,
timing it around when they can do work and when they can't. We
do have certain powers there.
I think, as Professor Glaister was saying, there
is an issue of how we drive utilities and highway authorities
to make sure they coordinate best, to mitigate the congestion
issues. Fiscal is clearly one of the options.
The Kent permit scheme has charges for certain categories
of road but not others. You can do that to some degree, but the
level of charging that you can put in has to be at nil cost. So
the authority has to just charge what it is costing them to do
the work. What that means is that, in terms of the actual works
that are going on, it is a very small amount of money and doesn't
really incentivise that creative thinking to pull the authorities
together to get the highly coordinated solution that you
are talking about in terms of utilities working together in those
sorts of ways.
Q90 Mr Harris: In
the earlier part of this session it was suggested that certain
types of driver behaviour, like occupying the yellow box and bad
parking, increased congestion. Have any international research
studies been carried out to show whether other countries have
the same kind of problems? Is the standard of driving in other
countries better or worse and does it result in more or less congestion?
Is there any evidence to enable us to assess where we stand internationally?
Mark Kemp: I am
not aware of any international evidence, but what I would say
is that, under the Traffic Management Act 2004 and not yet enacted,
there is part 6, which enables local authorities to take on moving
traffic offences so that you can use camera enforcement to deal
with yellow boxes, etc. In fact, in London they have these powers
already. You can see these things working in London and, to some
degree, some of the benefits they have had have come from those
powers. But, quite clearly, there is a win to be had in getting
that part of the Act through so that local authorities can take
on that responsibility should they wish to do so. I know that
some of the major cities around the country are keen to do that.
Q91 Mr Harris: I
just wondered whether there was any way of benchmarking Britain
in terms of international competitors. I have seen a couple of
pieces of research that show diametrically opposite conclusions
when it comes to the effect on congestion of increasing the top
speed limits, especially on motorways. A piece of research that
I saw a long time ago showed that if you increased the top speed
limit to 80 mph it would actually make congestion worse, which
sounds to me counterintuitive. But I have also seen research that
showed that reducing the speed and encouraging drivers to drive
more moderately will help congestion. Mr Glaister, are you aware
of any particular research showing one or the other?
I am not an expert, but I am sure you will find that the way the
managed motorway schemes have been designed has been based on
a lot of research into that particular issue. What I am confident
about, in terms of the followup to the managed motorways,
is that they have greatly succeeded in increasing the throughput
of a piece of road by limiting the maximum speed to 50 mph or
60 mph, whatever the limit is. The reason for that is that, at
low speeds, vehicles can travel closer together safely. You do
not have to have such a long distance between them. Crucially,
you regularise the speed so that they are all going at the same
speed. It is not just a matter of what the maximum speed is; it
is a question of what the mix of speeds is to determine the actual
throughput of the vehicles.
My colleagues will confirm or not, but I think the
evidence is very clear that a managed motorway schemewhich
is, as they are, very carefully enforced, and people do comply
with themhas been very successful in increasing throughput
and reducing the accident rate.
Q92 Chair: Mr
Reed, I think you have been involved in some work on this, haven't
you? Can you tell us about your findings?
Nick Reed: I would
echo Stephen's comments. Reducing differentials between traffic
travelling at higher speeds and then the congested areas is very
important in maintaining traffic flow. From the studies we have
done, we find that people generally behave quite conservatively.
They follow the signs; they do what is being asked of them by
the managed motorway information. That really does help to improve
the traffic flowthe traffic situationand increased
throughput has been observed on the active traffic management
scheme on the M42.
Q93 Chair: What
can you tell us about other aspects of your work in relation to
reducing congestion? What have you found to be effective ways?
Nick Reed: As I
said, with the managed motorway scheme the drivers do behave correctly,
from what we have seen. They follow the information that is given
to them. The position we are in now is that we have the opportunity
to be more progressive in the measures taken with managed motorways.
We can try to do more with less infrastructure and increase the
rollout of managed motorways across the network to gain those
Q94 Mr Harris: Just
on the ATM system on the M42, it is not, though, just about limiting
or regulating people's speeds, is it? It is also about extra capacity
at peak times; it is about using the hard shoulder. It is, presumably,
quite difficult to get decreased congestion with all of these
traffic management schemes in place unless, crucially, you actually
have that extra space on the road. Would that be right?
Absolutely. If I may, I think that is an excellent point. The
motorways, I think, carry something of the order of 20% of the
national traffic. The rural trunk roads and primary roads carry
30%, and they of course don't have hard shoulders available, typically.
While we at the Foundation are very much supportive
of the managed motorway programme and we would like to see the
previous Government's programme restored to what it was and indeed
extended, we are also concerned that they distract attention from
everywhere else, where you do not have the option of a hard shoulder
that you could use.
Also, of course, the managed motorway hard shoulder
doesn't give you an increase in junction capacity, and very often
the problem is access to the motorway, not the capacity on the
motorway itself. So you need to think about dealing with that
Finally, managed motorways have worked well, but
they give less capacity than a widening scheme, at less cost.
There are situations where the right solution will be to widen
rather than have hard shoulder running, and the M25 may be a good
example of that. The choice is just how much capacity you need
and whether you can provide that capacity through the managed
motorway system or you need something different.
Q95 Mr Harris: Motorways
don't suffer from congestion outside peak periods, essentially.
When we are talking about congestion, we are talking about peak
periods. Surely, Active Traffic Management is very well suited
to that particular problem because you are expanding capacity
when you need it and reducing it when you no longer need it. That
is presumably more cost-effective, because if you add an extra
lane on to the M25 it is there at all periods of the day and it
is costing a huge amount of money. Going back to what you said
about the extension of ATM, that is something, presumably, that
is cost-effective and could be spread throughout the country at
a far more cost-effective rate than widening.
I would agree with you and I think I said that. But you need to
make sure that there aren't situations where the widening is really
justified. There are parts of the motorway network that are congested
for a very large part of the day. One thinks of the M6 between
Birmingham and Manchester, which is chockablock almost
all the waking hours of every working day, other parts of the
M6 further north and the M25.
All I am saying is that you need to do the sums to
make sure that the managed motorway is an adequate solution to
the problem. I submit that that particular piece of the M6 north
of Birmingham should be looked at very carefully, as to whether
we should revert to the previous plans to have some kind of widening
scheme or an additional piece of capacity in the interests of
making that area function properly, because it doesn't at the
moment. I am talking now about the economy in that area.
Mr Harris: Just on that
point, I drive up that particular piece of road fairly regularly
and it is often very, very busy, but I have actually rarely found
it chockablock, as it were, at a snail's pace.
Q96 Iain Stewart: You
have answered the questions I was going to ask. Can I look at
using technology in the more informal sense? More and more cars
have satnav technology. What evidence do you have that that
changes drivers' planning in terms of the route that they take
between two given points? Is that an effective, informal method
of managing traffic flow or do drivers tend not to take too much
notice of it?
Nick Reed: I think
it could be. If there were a central resource that could manage
the guidance given by a navigation system and help in implementing
a managed motorway type of scheme, then there is an opportunity
there and the technology is there, or will be in the near future,
to do that. There is an opportunity there perhaps to make progress
with using navigation technology.
Q97 Iain Stewart: Forgive
me; I am not terribly au fait with the different systems. At the
moment there are lots of different satnav systems that will
have different degrees of accuracy and traffic information. Is
there a need for a standard control that they can all link into?
Nick Reed: Yes.
That could happen, yes.
Q98 Iain Stewart: But
there is not at the minute?
Nick Reed: No.
Mark Kemp: Obviously,
at the moment there are algorithms within the satnavs that
give you shortest journey, quickest journeywhichever the
solution is that you want. What they don't give you is the most
appropriate journey in terms of the highway network and managing
the network properly.
As an example, if you have an accident on the A14,
there may be times when, rather than letting people go through
Ipswich because that is where that satnav is telling them,
they would be better off sitting on the A14 for a short time.
Making those decisions, I think, is critical in taking the next
step in terms of incident management.
That is a very interesting example. It may not be so much to do
with satnavs as other sources of information to drivers.
We did find on the A12, when we looked at it, that there was a
lot of scope for better signage operated by the road manager,
in realtime, to direct the traffic round an incident. However,
you are always very limited by the alternative routes. If there
isn't an alternative route, you are stuck. This is very much a
geographically specific issue.
James Coates: You
have got to have a system that is dynamic if you want it to deal
with the incidents of congestion rather than something that is
around all the time. There are systems but I can't remember the
name. There is one that predates satnav which you can buy,
which tells you whether the road is congested or not and advises
you to take an alternative route. How well it works I don't know.
It is a very wellknown system.
But most people's satnav has the hard disk
on it which has the road network on it. It doesn't tell you whether
the road happens to be blocked at the moment or where you might
go if it is. Perhaps there are some that have these whistles and
bells, but most of them do not do that. You would have to have
a system that was in communication with the highway management
organisation to feed that information back.
Q99 Chair: Is
there such a system?
James Coates: What
is the one called that
Q100 Chair: Does
such a system exist where it is in touch in an ongoing way with
James Coates: There
is one. I can't remember what it is called.
Mark Kemp: The
higher end satnavs certainly have traffic information on
them, which is fed by Trafficlink and all those sorts of organisations.
They do have that at the higher end, but a lot of the more basic
end ones don't.
James Coates: The
cheap one I have doesn't do it.
Q101 Chair: So
it is there.
Mark Kemp: I suppose
as they become more popular and the technology increases
Q102 Chair: So
there is a solution but it is not available.
It is essentially the same information source, I believe, which
is used by the local radio stations. Trafficlink provide information
to local radio stations; they also provide information to satnav
Q103 Chair: How
can parking controls help congestion?
Mark Kemp: To me,
there are two levels of this. I am the Director of Highways in
Cambridge. If you take parking in its widest sense, then using
parking patrols for offstreet and onstreet parking,
and linking that to alternative modes to get in better site facilities,
bus lanes, park and ride, those sorts of things for all your major
conurbations, can help. That is how Cambridge have managed to
keep the vehicles over this screen line, as was referred to earlier,
down to the level that they have, by careful management of all
At the other end, there is the issue of people parking
inappropriately, in difficult locations, and therefore causing
congestion through driver behaviour, going back to your initial
Q104 Chair: Is
the type of parking system that you have just described, where
it is linked to traffic management, found commonly across the
country or is it just in certain areas such as Cambridge? Can
anybody else answer that? Is this something that is found more
James Coates: Most
local authorities that have a congestion problem try to regulate
the parking that is under their own control in such a way as to
alleviate the problem. For instance, in London, well before the
congestion charge was introduced, the Greater London Council,
and before it the LCC, had restricted permission for parking and
introduced parking meters and so on, not only to make the roads
work more efficiently but also
Q105 Chair: Mr
Coates, I want to know what is happening now in other places.
Is the situation Mr Kemp described found, generally speaking,
across the country or is it just in certain areas?
James Coates: I
think the answer is yes, but there are two difficulties. One is
that if you want to manage the total demand for parking, and particularly
all-day parking compared with shortstay, and peak hour parking
compared with off-peak parking, those can be very effective ways
of having an effect on the level of traffic at different times
of the day. Local authorities do do that to some extent, but they
do not have control over the private nonresidential parking
at office blocks, NCP car parks and so on. In some large cities,
these are a very significant part of the total parking stock.
I think it is true of Manchester and Birmingham, for instance.
Local authorities have powers, which I think they
have never used, to establish zones in which offstreet parking
has to be licensed, and they can then determine the mix of the
longstay and shortstay and the charges that are made.
But if that results in the offstreet car parking provider
suffering a loss of income, he has to be compensated, and because
of the fear of this local authorities have always shied away from
doing anything about it.
You have had a submission from a group called the
Green Light Group, and the CILT is one of the institutes that
is a member of that group. They have made suggestions about how
the law could be changed to make it easier for local authorities
to control the amount of parking and the peak and off-peak split
and the overall charge for parking, if you like, as a substitute
for road pricing. Over and above that, of course there is workplace
parking, which was introduced by the last Government and which
Nottingham are actively pursuing, but I don't think anybody else
is. We wait to see what happens in Nottingham. That might be very
Q106 Chair: Could
each of you perhaps give me just one final thought on what the
Government can do to deal with congestion problems? Is there any
one thing you would like the Government to do? Maybe there isn't
Mark Kemp: I have
already mentioned Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act and enabling
local authorities to deal with moving traffic offences as we can
Q107 Chair: Thank
you. Does anybody else want to volunteer any proposals for the
I am afraid this is a proposal I made to you on another occasion.
It is simply that the Government should have a proper understanding
of what is going to happen to congestion in the future on the
bit of the network that it is responsible for and have a plan
for dealing with it, because it does not have that at the moment.
Nick Reed: I think
it is a common thread in the sessions that we have had this morning
related to attitudes. It is driving attitude, driver behaviour,
gaining an understanding of how those attitudes are represented
across the different road userspedestrians, cyclists, motorists,
truck drivers, motorbikesand ways to improve compatibility
between those groups.
James Coates: I
think what the Government might do, which I am sure won't happen,
is what the previous Government said it was going to do and never
did, which is to explain to the public what the advantages of
a fairer charging system might be. Some people say we should put
up the fuel duty. That could indeed cut traffic, but it would
be an extremely inefficient and unfair way of doing it, and there
are arguments for saying the fuel duty is far too high from a
transport point of view and should be cut. There are other ways
of charging people for using roads and the public are against
Q108 Chair: Do
you mean road charging?
James Coates: What
they would get out of it has not been explained to them.
Chair: We will note that,
but this Government have said, as the previous one did, that they
are not going to do it.
James Coates: No,
they are not going to do it.
Chair: There we are. Thank
you very much, gentlemen, for coming and answering our questions.