Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Minutes of Evidence


Examination of Witness (Questions 460 - 479)

WEDNESDAY 7 MARCH 2001

MR DEREK TURNER

  460. If you could get rid of people, you would not really have a problem, would you?
  (Mr Turner) I think I would have a problem, but that right. One of the areas we are looking at is to look at the movement from the pelican crossing to the puffin crossing.

  461. We are going through the bird world!
  (Mr Turner) Unfortunately we are—and we could have toucans as well.

  462. I hope we never get to the stork or we might be unpopular!
  (Mr Turner) The puffin crossing enables us to be more pedestrian friendly in recognising the number of pedestrians that are at a particular crossing and extend the crossing time. It also enables us to recognise the pedestrians which are waiting to cross and automatically get that recall time down. Those schemes are actually trying to get a hybrid between a pelican and a zebra—

  463. It all sounds very unpleasant to me!
  (Mr Turner)—but I would not want to get into the zoology of it.

Mr Donohoe

  464. I wonder if I could just ask you, given all these various things that you are doing for pedestrians, if you are going to start charging them for jay walking?
  (Mr Turner) I do not have the power to charge pedestrians for jay walking.

  465. Who has?
  (Mr Turner) I do not think anyone has. The police possibly could introduce or use their powers for jay walking.

  466. Could you be given power?
  (Mr Turner) Under current legislation, I do not think so.

Mr Stevenson

  467. Congestion charging, Mr Turner. Are you saying that the strategy envisaged when those charges are implemented, of a 10 to 15 per cent reduction in the traffic, will affect inner London as well as central London?
  (Mr Turner) We believe that there will be a change in inner London and there will be an overall reduction, but not of the order of 10 to 15 per cent. There will be some redistribution in inner London, because the traffic that was previously, as I described, going into central London will be using the inner ring road, which is Marylebone Road and Park Lane, to turn left and right, and there will be some diversion taking place further out. But we believe that, by removing 10 to 15 per cent, a large proportion of that results in transfer of those trips to public transport or them not occurring at all. This obviously will result in a reduction in inner London and it will be primarily inner London trips which will benefit the environment of inner London.

  468. Will that reduction in the main be on TfL roads or will it be on the London borough roads? Will there be a mix? If so, what proportions are we talking about here?
  (Mr Turner) I suspect it is likely to be a mix but it is more likely that the majority will be on the Mayor's roads in concentration. But you will appreciate that a lot of the trips come from the local authority roads to the Mayor's roads, but in concentration you will see—

  469. We are fully aware where the traffic off motorways goes: on local authority principal roads.
  (Mr Turner) That is right.

  470. But does this give opportunities for such things as the stopping of rat-runs, for example, or will it increase the pressure for rat-running in local authority roads?
  (Mr Turner) I think that in the immediate vicinity to the congestion charging zone there will be a fear, and during the early days of operation people will try to beat the system. As a consequence, we are making funding available to the local authorities and talking to the local authorities to ensure that their roads, should they wish, are protected by traffic calming and traffic management measures in the vicinity of the congestion charging area. I think, further out, if we are successful, there is likely to be a general reduction and that will enable the local authorities more easily to introduce environmental management schemes on their roads, because the main roads will be able to accommodate more traffic.

  471. That leads me to my next question, of course, which concerns the benefits that it is claimed will result for public transport, for pedestrians and so on. Have you been able to quantify, perhaps in general terms, what the benefits for pedestrians will be either in central or inner London?
  (Mr Turner) In quantifying it, no, but what we would be looking to do is to provide pedestrian facilities on the inner ring road junctions, better pedestrian facilities, where they do not exist. Also, as I explained, on the World Squares' scheme it is not conditional on introducing congestion charging, in the Mayor's view, but it will be an easier task for my staff to engineer because of the reduction in traffic in central London. I think further schemes in central London, within the congestion charging area of the World Squares' type, will be a possibility.

  472. Will this be on the basis of as and when opportunities arise, present themselves and are identified, or will it be part of a clear strategy, short, medium and long term, to improve pedestrian facilities across both central and, where possible, inner London?
  (Mr Turner) The Mayor sees this as one of the opportunities as a result of congestion charging, to improve the pedestrian environment within central London, but the Mayor has got powers over very, very few roads within central London so he will be looking to, primarily, Westminster and the City of London councils to come forward with schemes.

  473. Of course, that is critical.
  (Mr Turner) Yes.

  474. The relationship between the Mayor and the local authorities is essential to this process, otherwise it will not happen. Can I just press you to be, perhaps, a little more specific? Have you any idea in the medium term, let us say, how many pavements will be widened as a result of the strategy?
  (Mr Turner) We have not got that level of detail, but we are saying to the local authorities, particularly to Westminster, that this is, we believe, available and we are talking to them about assisted funding and, furthermore, in terms of pedestrians times at traffic signals etc—that is a real tangible benefit which we will be able to deliver, and the Mayor will be able to deliver, in terms of central London should we achieve this 10 to 15 per cent reduction, which is what we are looking at. If it is more we will be able to make further steps to improve the pedestrian environment in central London.

  475. One last question: over what time-span do you anticipate the 10 to 15 per cent reduction happening?
  (Mr Turner) It is not in the paper, it will be purely speculation but we would expect it to be something in the region of six months for it to settle down. Obviously, it would start to occur fairly quickly but there is then an elasticity that needs to settle down.

Chairman

  476. Do we need a national walking strategy?
  (Mr Turner) I think in order to try to get more people out of their cars to walk it would be a good idea if there was a clearer view on how we should prioritise walking among other local authorities.

  477. Would that involve some targets?
  (Mr Turner) Yes. I think targets for pedestrians is quite a difficult area because for targets to be meaningful they need to be realistic and you need to know the mechanisms that will lead to a successful conclusion in meeting those targets. As we have discussed today, our understanding and "control" of pedestrians is such that targets for pedestrians, I think, will be aspirational rather than those which you will be able to really expect to be achieved, because we do not understand the mechanisms. There needs to be more research undertaken on why pedestrians behave in the way they do, what we can do to change their pattern and what we can do to make motorists realise that it is not quite so unfriendly if they get outside their tin box.

  478. Do you think walkers, then, are a core lobbying group for funding?
  (Mr Turner) I think there are better ones.

  479. PPG 13. Can you throw any light on it? Where it is up to? What has happened to it?
  (Mr Turner) PPG 13, I think, was a ground-breaking piece of guidance. I do think that more work needs to be done now to reinforce it. The really critical thing, in my view as my paper indicates, in terms of walking is the planning of our urban areas, the reduction in density on our urban areas and the dispersal of our general urban life and the concentration on certain facilities in certain areas—out-of-town shopping centres being the prime example. Where European cities and, indeed, cities like York or Brighton—where there has been an increase in walking—benefit is that those cities have a much more mixed demography and geography, where the city centres have people living in them, there are places of entertainment, there are shops, schools and it is a mixed environment, so that the trip length is much shorter so people are prepared to walk.


 
previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 29 June 2001