138. The 10 Year Plan is a crucial step towards implementing
the Government's integrated transport policies. The Department
must be congratulated for bringing the Plan forward and publishing
the background analysis on which the Plan was based. The Committee
expects the Plan to set out a clear path towards a transport system
where, through better planning, people travel shorter distances
and make less use of their car for the journeys they do make.
The consequences of failing to tackle rising car traffic will
be a reduced quality of life in residential areas and a more unreliable
road network. However, the Plan has failed to provide a vision
for a more equitable, safer and more efficient transport system.
In particular, the Plan fails in the following respects:
It fails to tackle the increasing cost of public
transport and the falling cost of car use. The Government must
face up to the difficult choices that it has to make both now
and in the future about how, and how much, we pay for transport.
Having identified the problem of the increasing gap between the
cost of public and private transport, the Government seems simply
not to have considered any scenario other than encouraging a further
significant fall in motoring costs. We believe that it is fundamentally
necessary that the Government acts to prevent the gap between
public transport and motoring costs widening. This is in the interests
of all of the travelling public, including the poorest, and will
achieve more from the investment made through the Plan.
It fails to promote significant restraint on car
use to accompany public transport improvements. The Government
has decided that promoting choice between modes is the best way
to achieve change. Promoting choice however, only gives half the
answer, since the choices that people make will be influenced
by their relative attractiveness. It is inconceivable that an
increase in the cost of public transport while the cost of car
use declines and motorway congestion is reduced will either lead
to a greater number of people choosing public transport over the
car or improve the overwhelming majority of daily journeys. A
balance of restraint on car use and improved alternatives is required
to achieve real improvements in travel conditions for everybody.
However, the Government has refused to promote restraints on car
use for fear of a backlash from motorists even in circumstances
in which most urgent journeys made by motorists themselves are
under threat from excessive traffic levels.
It fails to tackle the causes of our current travel
problems, concentrating instead on reducing congestion. The Plan
offers little improvement in people's access to local facilities
and has neglected the role of urban regeneration in reducing the
need to travel. Instead, the Plan provides benefits to those who
travel the most. As a result, we can expect to remain top of the
European league table for longest commuting times and greatest
car use. Safety improvements, social exclusion, health and quality
of life issues have all played second fiddle to congestion reduction.
The balance of the Plan must be changed.
It fails to provide a coherent picture of what, when,
why and how much it will achieve. The 10 Year Plan is the first
of its kind. The idea of a 10 Year Plan has been widely welcomed.
However, the current Plan does not fulfil many of the roles of
a good Plan.
There is no detail regarding what
schemes will be implemented and when;
The funding assumptions have little credence
as they are related to an, as yet, ill defined work programme;
There are no interim targets against
which progress can be measured to enable transparent decisions
to be made about changes to the Plan;
The Plan relates only to capital expenditure
decisions whereas the targets depend on the full range of revenue,
education and supporting measures for which the Department is
The strategy on which the Plan is based
is inadequately justified and potentially imbalanced.
It must be clear that the Plan represents the sum
of its constituent parts. The Plan must be revised to provide
interim targets against which to assess progress and a detailed
implementation plan. The importance of an implementation plan
was been highlighted by the inability of the Department to provide
a clear assessment of progress to date. Despite the difficulties
the Committee faced in assessing progress, the evidence gathered
suggests that the Plan is already behind schedule. We have made
a series of recommendations both to redress the balance of the
Plan and to ensure that it changes from a compendium of policy
ideas to a meaningful Plan of action.
It fails to offer a long-term vision of an integrated
transport policy. It is essential that actions taken in the period
of the 10 year plan head in the right direction, rather than storing
up even greater problems for the future. The 10 Year Plan can
only be welldesigned if it is consistent with possible or
planned developments beyond 2010. The Government must re-examine
the way we pay for road use. The introduction of road tolls after
2010 will have a direct impact on the long-term viability of schemes
built within the next 10 years. On the other hand, if such changes
are to be ruled out for 30 years, then it is essential to find
other ways to restrain traffic growth now. The Government must
engage in the debate over the future of charging for road use
or find other ways of managing the excessive and selfdefeating
growth of traffic. It must do so as a matter of urgency if the
investment decisions taken within the Plan are to be the right