Out of the jam: reducing congestion on our roads - Transport Committee Contents


Examination of Witnesses (Question Numbers 74-108)

Mark Kemp, James Coates, Stephen Glaister and Nick Reed

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.

Stephen Glaister: 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 Transport—ADEPT. 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 cause congestion.

Stephen Glaister: 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 congestion.

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 congestion?

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 with congestion?

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 centuries?

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.

Stephen Glaister: 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?

Stephen Glaister: 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 expect—if 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.

Stephen Glaister: 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 area—localism. 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 solve this?

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 it.

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.

Stephen Glaister: 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 those plans?

Stephen Glaister: 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 emergency—the 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?

Stephen Glaister: 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 scheme—which is, as they are, very carefully enforced, and people do comply with them—has 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 flow—the traffic situation—and 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 improvements elsewhere.

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?

Stephen Glaister: 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 problem.

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.

Stephen Glaister: 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 journey—whichever 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.

Stephen Glaister: 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 traffic management?

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.

Stephen Glaister: 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 providers.

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 these items.

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 point.

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 generally?

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 effective.

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 anything.

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 in London.

Q107 Chair: Thank you. Does anybody else want to volunteer any proposals for the Government?

Stephen Glaister: 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 users—pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, truck drivers, motorbikes—and 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 it.

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.



 
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