Memorandum by Metro (MMS 39)
The following submission is based on our experience
with the South and West Yorkshire Multi Modal Study (SWYMMS).
We believe that this study has been conducted in a rigorous manner,
has made a valuable contribution to the development of transport
proposals at a regional level and has established analytical procedures
that can be of continuing benefit in developing transport policy
in the region, provided means can be found to maintain them.
However, we are concerned that the study has
been conducted on the basis of a relatively narrow interpretation
of its remit, as compared with at least some other studies and
had concentrated exclusively on the objective of relieving congestion
on the motorways. This is not necessarily wrong in itself, but
needs to be understood in comparing the results with those from
other areas, particularly in relation to the relative emphasis
in the conclusions about road user charging and investment in
strategic public transport projects. These concerns are amplified
below in relation to the specific questions posed.
This had lead to apparent contradiction that
the multi modal study is only making specific recommendations
for highway investment and interventions.
Was the approach to selecting the areas and scale
of the studies appropriate and consistent, and how far have the
studies looked ahead?
The main SWYMMS study was preceded by a scoping
study that helped to determine its scope. Among other things,
this led to an enlargement of the study area. We consider that
the wider study area was more appropriate than that originally
envisaged but still focussed on the motorway box in West and South
Yorkshire. The choice of regional areas for the multi modal models
did not contribute to the development of inter regional solutions
to inter city movements by road or public transport. For example
there will be a need for the SRA to consider the conclusions from
three multi modal model areas when evaluating rail routes between
Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle.
How much have the studies cost and are they good
value for money?
Large resources have been invested in collecting
data and model development for the SWYMMS study. This has contributed
significantly to the overall cost. The value for money of this
will be improved if the models are maintained and made use of
for other applications.
Additional work on public transport schemes
which show merit in their own right, without addressing the relatively
narrow study objectives have been recommended, and these will
have to be funded from a variety of sources.
What is the expected cost and how affordable are
the schemes that are being recommended?
We consider that the SWYMMS study has considered
the likely availability of funding in reaching its recommendations.
However the lack of public transport schemes being recommended
has underestimated the potential need for investment considerably.
Given the scale of recommendations emerging from some other studies,
it must be questioned whether this has been a consistent approach
across all of the studies. It is important that any such differences
are taken into account in allocating national resources to fund
the proposals emerging from the multi modal studies.
Have the studies been based on realistic forecasts
of growth in traffic and how effective are measures intended to
reduce the need to travel?
The SWYMMS study took account of both national
forecasts and local land use projections, including the effects
of Regional Planning Guidance and the EU Objective 1 and 2 programmes
in South and West Yorkshire. We therefore consider them to be
soundly based. However there was no apparent acknowledgement of
local targets in the development of the future scenarios.
The study was based on the assumption that the
primary objective was to reduce congestion on the motorway and
trunk road network. A range of measures to reduce demand were
tested, but only area wide road charging was found to have a significant
impact in relation to this central objective.
The identification of the spatial nature of
suppressed traffic brought about through area wide charging was
not identified, and therefore the potential to identify public
transport schemes capable of catering for potential mode transfer
to public transport was not developed. In addition the influence
of road user charging in suppressing travel demand, and so affecting
future decisions on location was not explored.
Has a consistent approach been taken over the
need for and benefits of new ways of charging for transport?
As already been noted the SWYMMS study found
that road user charging was the only really effective demand management
measure in meeting its objective of reducing congestion on the
motorways. In fact, this was the most effective measure of any
type that was tested by the study and it was concluded that charging
would be necessary within the overall strategy if this issue was
to be addressed to a significant degree. It was also recognised
that high quality alternatives to the car would have to be provided
as part of such a strategy and that the revenues from charging
would help to make this fundable.
It is extremely unlikely that the conditions
in South and West Yorkshire are sufficiently different from those
elsewhere for these conclusions to be valid only within the SWYMMS
study area. Different recommendations from the studies may therefore
be due to inconsistencies in approach.
How different are the recommendations these studies
are bringing forward compared with previous transport policy?
Have the studies taken a balanced approach to all modes?
In considering potential solutions, the SWYMMS
study took a structured approach, considering firstly demand management
measures, then alternatives to the car or lorry and finally increases
to highway capacity. However, the solutions tested were considered
primarily in relation to the objective of reducing congestion
on the motorways. As has been noted earlier, the study found that
an effective strategy for meeting this objective required road
user charging. It was also found that some increases to highway
and junction capacity would contribute, with or without charging.
Strategic public transport measures were not
found to be very effective in relation to this objective, since
the surveys carried for SWYMMS concluded that most motorway traffic
has widely dispersed origins and destinations which are difficult
to make using public transport. This does not mean that strategic
public transport schemes are not beneficial in relation to broader
objectives and the study has identified a number of schemes that
the consultants consider should be investigated further. However,
it seems apparent that other studies have interpreted their brief
more broadly and it is important that this is recognised in considering
the relative merits of strategic public schemes and allocating
resources at a national level.
Are the studies producing recommendations that
are consistent with Government policy, particularly the 10 Year
Plan and the SRA Strategic Plan?
The SWYMMS Study has completed framework assessments
on its proposals which should ensure that individual proposals
are consistent with government policy. However, since the brief
for the study has been interpreted relatively narrowly, it has
not produced a package of proposals for strategic transport within
this region that fully meet the requirements of Government policy
and regional transport priorities will have to be determined on
broader grounds. Because of the regional coverage, little can
be learned from the studies collectively to inform inter regional
transport policies, in particular those affecting rail investment.
How effective will the schemes proposed by the
studies be in promoting regeneration?
The SWWYMS study proposals were tested for the
effects on regeneration using a land use transportation model.
It was concluded that they would have a modest but worthwhile
effect on regeneration. The study supported a number of schemes
in South Yorkshire that had been identified by an Objective 1
funded study as contributing to the relief of transport bottlenecks
that would hinder regeneration. However, the potential contribution
of strategic public transport investment to supporting sustainable
development was not seen as being central to the study's objectives
and was therefore not considered.
There is concern that suppression of travel
through road charging, if not balanced by provision of additional
opportunities to use public transport could impede regeneration.
How can all of the different agencies responsible
for achieving the different recommendations from the studies be
co-ordinated to ensure a balanced set of projects are completed?
At a national level, the government has a great
deal of control over this through the various funding mechanisms
within its control. There are mechanisms through which the various
bodies come together at a regional level to discuss priorities,
but regional bodies have a much clearer cut role in determining
Highways Agency priorities as opposed to those of the SRA. This
merits further consideration.
There would be benefit in retaining the Steering
Group to oversee the implementation programme.
That are the main political, institutional, financial
and planning barriers to implementing the studies?
PoliticalAuthorities responsible for
some proposals may not be "signed up" to them. National
decisions will need to be taken on road user charging for example,
and cannot be realistically introduced within one region.
Institutionala variety of different agencies
will be responsible for implementation. Some of these agencies
take a national, regional or sub-regional viewpoint and implementation
will need to be carried out within clearly defined and co-ordinated
Financialinsufficient funding (particularly
for any revenue implications). Many studies, and further studies
to assess schemes identified as meriting potential in their own
right, have and will identify large-scale investment and it not
clear that funding is available.
Planningthe time taken for the planning
process is well known, and the lead in time for public transport
schemes to be in place before the date recommended for Road User
charging (2011) is ambitious if alternative public transport provision
is to be delivered.
How can the multi-modal study process be improved?
Greater consistency should be achieved in the
setting and interpretation of objectives, the planning assumptions
relating to growth, the potential influence on future decisions
affecting location, the methodologies employed and the inter relationship
between economic growth and travel demand growth.
There is also a need to collectively assess
findings from the models with regard to their effect on investment
on inter regional routes, particularly with regard to the predominant
use of motorways by long distance traffic.