Memorandum by The Intelligent Transport
Society of the United Kingdom (WTC 43)
WALKING IN TOWNS AND CITIES
The Intelligent Transport Society of the United
Kingdom is a not for profit association devoted to the promotion
of all forms of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) to address
the challenges facing transport in the United Kingdom. ITS is
the application of Information Technology and Communcactions to
all modes of surface transport and includes such systems as traffic
conrol and signalling, route guidance to mobile platforms, incident
alerts to vehicles, passenger information systems for public transport,
a range of in-vehicle safety systems and all forms of information
systems both infrastructure and mobile based.
Members of ITS United Kingdom comprise some
100 corporate organisations drawn from public and private sectors
and our membership cover the whole range of interest in transport.
These members include network operators, public transport service
providers, vehicle and equipment manufacturers and consultants
in addition to local and national government bodies.
This submission is made to show the assistance
ITS can provide to pedestrians and other travellers in town and
cities in the belief that this will promote the use of walking
as a primary and secondary mode of transport. The submission addresses
each of the items set out in the Press Notice No 62 of Session
1999-2000 dated 2 November 2000 and is set out in that order for
ease of reference.
Walking is an essential part of nearly every
journey, particularly those starting or ending in an urban environment.
It is also recognised that cars are used for many short journeys
under one mile in length where walking is a practical alternative
for the complete journey for many people. The reasons for the
use of cars are many and varied, but walking can be encouraged
if it is preceived as safe and convenient. For example, the provision
of safe crossing facilities, such as that provided by Pelican
Crossings (a good example of ITS) is important and the environment
through which the pedestrian passes must appear to be clean and
attractive. It is ironic that the increased use of vehicles produces
a feeling of danger and pollution for pedestrians walking alongside
main roads and this tends to reduce further the numbers of pedestrians.
Nevertheless, walking still contributes to the urban transport
needs and should be valued as a transport mode in its own right.
ITS can improve the environment by increasing actual and preceived
safety and providing information about the alternative to car
As more people use cars, the facilities for
walkers tend to be less well used in and in some cases become
unknown to large portions of the population. This lack of knowledge
of the routes and facilities available contribute still further
to the decline. Information about walking routes should be widely
available and particularly walking routes associated with public
transport facilities to demonstrate the facilities that are available.
ITS can deliver accurate and up to date information about walking
routes and also provide real time information about public transport
to the home, office and mobile environment. This can be provided
via conventional printed means and also via modern Internet based
systems. This will encourage the use of walking.
Safety and security are vital measures that
need to be addressed. Much progress has been made with the installation
of ITS systems such as Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) to monitor
pedestrian areas. In addition, in-vehicle systems are being developed
to alert drivers to the vicinity of pedestrians and this can be
a valuable additional safety feature, particularly where the presence
of pedestrians is not expected or where the physical layout of
the road is such that pedestrians cannot be easily seen. Although
the separation of vehicular and pedestrian traffic has some attractions,
it can lead to areas that appear to be dangerous, particularly
for lone travellers after dark, and such separation should be
treated with caution.
ITS has a significant role to play in the provision
of fully mobile information systems. These are expected to become
as commonplace as mobile telephones in the next few years and
will have the potential to provide accurate real time information
to travellers across all modes, including walking. The PTI 2000
project to provide a national information source for all public
transport services is a good example of ITS systems that can encourage
the use of non-car modes of transport. Thus the need to travel
by car because that is the only mode known and understood by the
traveller can be challenged and information about public transport
and walking routes made available to the travellers in much the
same way that A to Z directories are currently used for location
finding. This information will become available to mobile users
when WAP and third generation mobile phones become commonplace.
There are a number of towns and cities with
good public transport information systems in use and being extended.
The experience of these towns in the encouragement of non-car
based transport modes is valuable. These examples need to be widely
publicised and funds made available for other towns and cities
to install similar systems. It must be recognised that the promotion
of walking as a transport mode will normally go hand in hand with
the promotion of public transport. However, in some locations
it may be preferable to encourage "park & ride"
activities with good pedestrian access to and from conveniently
located car parks which are linked by park & ride facilities
so that travellers wishing to visit a number of locations in the
city can do so without needing to return to their vehicles to
move to their next destination. E-commerce may also have an important
role to play in shopping trips if developments in this area mean
that it is normal for goods to be delivered to the house and there
is much less need to carry goods home from the shops. This means
that the need to take a car on shopping trips is less because
the need to carry bulky goods home is reduced or eliminated.
It is acknowledged that skill shortages are
growing in the information technology and communication areas.
This will have a significant impact on the take up of ITS and
similar systems that could be used to benefit walkers. Many engineers
and senior operational staff in transport have little or no understanding
of the role that accurate and up to date real time information
could play in the provision of good transport services. This needs
to be addressed by training so that the value of ITS is better
understood and the contribution that it can make, particularly
to public transport and non-vehicle transport modes is recognised.
The provision of a 10 year transport plan by
DETR is a valuable and welcome step. We must recognise that ITS
technology is changing very rapidly. It is likely that this technology
will be unrecognisable in 10 years time and the potential contribution
from ITS is likely to increase dramatically within that timescale.
Therefore it is right to place emphasis on short-term plans with
a commitment to continue into the longer term. It is nevertheless
important to have a sound vision for the future direction and
development of technology and particularly to set up standards
so that full interoperability between systems in different cities
is available. Effort must be directed towards standards in the
area of new technology. It should be noted that smart card technology
would provide the ability to provide a common ticketing and payment
method for all modes, thus removing one obstacle to easy use of
public transport by travellers not familiar with public transport
networks. The legislation to enable the development of e-money
and use of technology in this area is important, particularly
where competition law appears to be in conflict with the desire
to provide integrated transport services and ticketing. It should
be noted that Singapore have recently announced their intention
to make such systems a mandatory option for all transactions by
2008. The UK will need legislation to enable such systems to be
introduced and this must be considered as a matter of urgency.
Care must be taken to ensure that the widest
possible picture is taken into account when setting priorities.
For example, it must not be assumed that public transport is necessarily
always less polluting than private transport or that electric
vehicles are non-polluting. Public transport will be less polluting
when a reasonable passenger load is carried, but changes in vehicle
technology are reducing the emissions from cars significantly
and this trend is set to continue. Pollution, in all its forms,
including electricity generation, should become a primary consideration
for all transport proposals in addition to the existing safety
and efficient criteria, as transport is now the major contributor
to greenhouse gases in many countries. This may lead to unexpected
reallocation of road space priorities. Information is vital to
this task and information on the effects of choices on pollution
and safety should be made widely available. ITS can assist in
this task by informing users of the effects of their choices and
also be providing monitoring systems to enable network operators
to monitor and alleviate the effects of traffic.
It is always helpful to be able to set targets
for any proposal and then monitor the progress towards such targets.
This encourages those working to improve the situation and gives
an objective measure of the success, or otherwise, of their efforts.
Targets should be set, but this will need considerable effort
to gain consensus about the priorities to be selected. It must
be borne in mind that freedom to travel is rightly and highly
valued by society and any proposals in this area must have at
their heart the desire to achieve easy and affordable mobility
for all. It is vital that the effects of choices of transport
mode on all aspects of the environment, including mobility of
others should be freely available. Congestion on all transport
networks is a serious economic and social cost. The cost of each
additional passenger on public transport in terms of overcrowding
or the cost of delay to others of each addition car (or bus) journey
must be made clear. ITS can assist in getting this message across
and measuring the effects of such choices.
Information about the effects of transport choices
is the key to changing the attitudes of the public to consider
more environmentally friendly modes of transport. ITS can provide
this information in many different forms and it is important that
all concerned are made fully aware of the potential that these
systems are likely to provide in the near future. This information
will be available on mobile platforms in addition to home and
office based systems. We would urge that information be included
within all transport plans and proposals.
D J Clowes
21 December 2000