Memorandum by Living Streets (TYP 35)|
1. Living Streets (formerly the Pedestrians
Association) is a national body working for streets and public
spaces that people on foot can use and enjoy. We welcome the opportunity
to comment on the Government's 10 Year Plan for Transport. Many
aspects of the Plan are welcome, including the setting of a number
of clear outcomes and targets and a relative increase in funding
for local transport. But we have a number of concerns about the
Plan, in particular the relatively low priority it gives to local
transport in general and walking in particular.
2. In summary, our comments are:
The Plan's core assumption that mobility
in general and car use in particular can continue to rise indefinitely
is economically and environmentally unsustainable. It needs to
be challenged. The Government also needs to set out a vision for
how the Plan will affect people using streets in villages, towns,
suburbs and city centres, both on foot and by other modes.
The congestion and workplace charging
schemes assumed in the Plan will not be introduced without clear
political leadership from ministers.
There is a lack of skilled personnel
in local authorities needed to implement the improvements needed
in local transport, particularly in the case of walking and cycling.
The investment set out in the Plan
will go disproportionately to long-distance travel and on major
infrastructure schemes. This is despite the fact that most travel
is still local. A relative shift in resources to local walking,
cycling, traffic management and road safety schemes would produce
higher rates of social and economic return than spending the same
money on major projects.
The LTP guidance should be revised
to encourage local authorities to "bundle up" small
schemes into major schemes.
The Government should set regional
targets for traffic reduction in areas where most people live
and a national traffic reduction target.
There should be targets for all modes,
including walking, over the lifetime of the Plan. These should
be expressed both in terms of modal share and distance travelled
by each mode.
The pattern of investment in the
Plan will not be socially equitable. It will disproportionately
benefit long-distance travellers and hence those on higher incomes.
The Government should publish an analysis of the impacts of the
Plan on social exclusion.
The attention given to walking in
the Plan and the likely level of funding for it in no way reflect
the importance of walking, whether in terms of transport, the
environment or community life. The Government should publish an
annual analysis of the breakdown of LTP funding for different
modes. Over the lifetime of the Plan, there should be a switch
in resources away from long-distance travel to local travel and
in particular to walking and cycling.
THE 10 YEAR
More mobility and car usebut how much more?
3. There are a number of key strategic assumptions
underlying the 10 Year Plan. These are that:
A rise in mobility is both the inevitable
product of economic growth and a good thing.1
A significant proportion of this
increased mobility will be expressed as rising car use.2
The negative impacts of rising mobility
and car use (ie congestion, pollution and casualties) can be offset
by a number of marginal increases in the capacity of the road
and rail networks and improvements to their management.3
Improved public transport is the
key to switch travel away from car use within an overall rise
4. The Plan tacitly acknowledges that these
assumptions may be problematic. Paragraph 3.2 states that "new
technology and the better-planned location of homes and businesses
can reduce the need to travel". Paragraph 6.16 recognises
that there are "physical and environmental, as well as financial,
limits to the amount of extra road space we can build . . . Most
people now accept that we cannot rely on road building as a sustainable
long-term solution to the problems of traffic growth and congestion".
5. Despite these caveats, the Plan fails
to acknowledge that, in the long-term, increases in the physical
capacity of the road and rail networks and improvements in public
transport will always be insufficient to meet an unrestrained
rise in mobility. The total number of trips people make and the
total time they spend travelling have remained constant over the
past 20 years.5 People are travelling further and faster, particularly
by car, to fulfil their daily needs within a fixed time budget.
The 10 Year Plan is an attempt to identify how to accommodate
rising demand for travel over the next decade at minimum social
and environmental cost. It is not a coherent response to the long-term
problem of rising mobility in the context of a physically and
economically constrained system.
6. The Government has never given us a vision
of what our villages, towns, suburbs and city centres will be
like at the end of the Plan period. The Committee should ask the
Government to provide such a vision as part of its review of the
Plan. In particular, the Government should spell out how the Plan
will affect people using streets on foot as well as its impact
on drivers and public transport users. The Committee should also
challenge the assumption underlying the Plan that rising mobility
and car use can be accommodated indefinitely. It should press
the Government to state whether it thinks there are any limits
on the overall amount of travelling people do, particularly by
car. And if so, when these limits will become apparent.
7. The Plan assumes that non-London local
authorities will introduce eight congestion charging schemes and
12 workplace parking levy schemes. This assumption is important
in relation both to the Plan's congestion forecasts and revenue
generation towards the end of the Plan period. But local authorities,
to whom responsibility for introducing these schemes has been
given, are looking increasingly reluctant to implement them. New
charging schemes will not be introduced without clear political
leadership from ministers. The Committee should ask the Government
what steps it intends to take to ensure that at least the number
of charging schemes assumed in the Plan are implemented.
Do the skills and capacity exist to deliver the
8. There is growing concern about the lack
of personnel in local authorities with the skills needed to implement
the Government's objectives for local transport. Recent research
by Oscar Faber for the DTLR show that local authorities are particularly
ill-equipped to plan and provide for pedestrians and cyclists.
There is an urgent need to recruit, train and retain staff with
the skills needed to improve conditions for walking and cycling.
The Committee should press the Government to clarify its assumptions
in the Plan about skill shortages in general and in relation to
walking and cycling in particular. What allowance has been allowed
in the Plan for the costs of recruiting, training and retaining
the relevant staff in local authorities?
Balance of funding between different areas and
different types of project
9. The pattern of investment set out in
the Plan will go disproportionately on long-distance travel and
on major infrastructure schemes. This is acknowledged in the background
analysis to the Plan, which states that "those who travel
the greater distances are likely to benefit more in absolute terms
from the general measures in the Plan, but broadly in proportion
to their share of total distance travelled"6.
10. Tables A2 and A3 in the Plan suggest
that about half the investment identified in the Plan (around
£85 billion) will go on trunk roads and national rail. Around
a further £35 billion will go on local roads and roads in
London. The political reasons for this are understandable. Politicians
and other key opinion formers such as newspaper editors are disproportionately
likely to travel long-distance by road or rail. There is a clear
need to improve road and rail infrastructure. But the balance
of funding in the Plan reflects neither current patterns of travel
or patterns of travel it would be desirable to promote.
11. Despite the rise in mobility over the
past 20 years, most travel is still local. Nearly half of all
trips are less than two miles and nearly 70 per cent of all trips
are less than five miles. The Plan sets out a welcome increase
in funding for local transport. Yet only around a quarter of total
funding (around £45 billion) will go on investment on local
transport in London and the rest of the country. A large proportion
of local transport funding will go on a relatively small number
of light rail schemes7. Again, such investment is important. But
Living Streets believes that the marginal £1 billion spent
on national rail, trunk roads or light rail would produce a higher
rate of social and economic return if invested on local walking,
cycling, traffic management and road safety schemes.
12. It will be argued that the allocation
of resources within the Plan is appropriate, given that small-scale
schemes are relatively cheap compared to the costs of major road
or rail infrastructure. This may be true in the case of individual
pedestrian crossings, Home Zones or 20 mph zones. But the cost
of a comprehensive national programme of investment in such schemes
would be substantial. It has been estimated, for example, that
creating safe routes to every school in the country could cost
between £2-£2.5 billion. The cost of traffic calming
and 20 mph zones on all appropriate residential streets has been
calculated by DETR at £3 billion. Creating the same number
of Home Zones in the UK as there are in the Netherlands (6,500)
would cost around £1.4 billion over and above the cost of
traffic calming the same areas. Installing self-enforcing 30 mph
speed limits in the 16,000 villages of England using speed responsive
signs and mobile speed cameras would require a one-off payment
of around £540 million.8
13. Lord Macdonald admitted to the Committee's
inquiry into Walking in Towns and Cities that the Government has
no way of comparing the value for money of small schemes compared
with large ones. This omission urgently needs to be addressed.
In addition, the £5 million threshold for major schemes in
Local Transport Plans creates an institutional bias against smaller
schemes. Local authorities should be allowed and encouraged to
"bundle up" area- or city-wide programmes of small schemes
into major schemes that cross the £5 million threshold. The
Committee should press the Government on whether and when it proposes
to develop methods that will allow it to assess the value for
money of major transport schemes compared with smaller ones. The
Government should also revise the LTP guidance so that highway
authorities are strongly encouraged to bundle up smaller schemes
into major schemes. Over the lifetime of the Plan, the aim should
be to shift resources away from major road and rail infrastructure
and long-distance travel and towards local schemes and local trips.
14. Many of the activities that would help
tackle the problems identified in the Plan need revenue funding.
These activities fall into three categories. The first, as noted
above, is the employment and retention of staff with the skills
needed to design and implement schemes in local authorities. The
second is promotional and marketing activities, such as Green
Travel Plans, Safe Routes to School and individualised travel
marketing. Relatively small investment in such programmes can
have a major impact on local travel patterns. The Government has
recognised this in its welcome creation of a fund for recruitment
of Green Travel Plan officers by local authorities. The third
type of activity is the maintenance and management of transport
infrastructure. In the case of walking, this includes street sweeping,
graffiti removal, emptying of litterbins, footway maintenance
and the presence of uniformed personnel such as street wardens.
It is unclear the extent to which the Plan includes allowance
for expenditure on these three types of activities. The Committee
should press the Government to explain how it will ensure adequate
revenue spending over the lifetime of the Plan to support proposed
15. The inclusion of outcomes and targets
in the Plan is a welcome development of the approach in the Transport
White Paper. But the Plan fails to set a target for traffic levels,
opting instead for a target to reduce congestion. The congestion
target has some serious methodological flaws9. Even if this were
not the case, targets for congestion, emissions and casualties
do not capture the full costs of traffic for local communities.
Heavy traffic can have a major impact on local quality of life.
This is particularly true for households on low incomes, who are
disproportionately likely to live on or near to busy roads.
16. The background analysis to the Plan
recognises that the relationship between GDP and traffic growth
has eased over the past decade. This is partly due to policy intervention,
suggesting that overall traffic levels can be influenced. The
Government should therefore set targets for traffic reduction
in areas where people live, as recommended by CFIT. These should
be developed regionally, to allow detailed consideration of the
impact of Local Transport Plans on travel patterns and traffic
levels. There should also be a national target and strategy for
17. The Plan includes targets for all modes
except car use and walking. This may be because setting a target
for walking would set a target for car use by default. There is
some inconsistency in the way the Plan's targets are expressed.
The target for bus use, for example, is given as a 10 per cent
rise in bus passenger journeys (Chart 6h and paragraph 6.62).
That for rail is given as a 50 per cent rise in billion passenger
kilometres (paragraph 6.22 and footnote 16).
The Government's recent announcement that it
will finally develop a national walking strategy is welcome.
Its response to the Select Committee's report on Walking in Towns
and Cities strongly hints at an expectation that walking levels
will rise over time10. It states: "As a result of the proposed
new national walking strategy we would expect to see first an
end to the decline, and then an increase, in the number of walking
18. But it is disappointing that the Government
has failed to set targets for walking, firstly to stem its decline
and then increase its modal share over time. The Government should
publish targets for all modes, including walking, over the lifetime
of the Plan. These should be expressed both in terms of each mode's
share of total trips and its share of total distance travelled.
19. The pattern of investment set out in
the Plan is not socially equitable. Accessibility in the body
of the Plan is defined exclusively in terms of access for people
with disabilities (paragraphs 6.5 and 6.6). While this is important,
it does not capture wider issues of the accessibility to the transport
system or the wider impacts of the Plan in relation to socially
excluded groups. This is acknowledged in the background analysis
to the Plan. This states that improving access to the transport
system "is important for many different groups, including
children, older people, people with disabilities, women and people
on low incomes. However it has not been possible to quantify the
extent to which the Plan achieves these benefits"11. The
background analysis also acknowledges that the "poorest and
most vulnerable in society are . . . often affected more than
most by the broader adverse effects on quality of life of increasing
road traffic, including community severance and intimidation due
to heavy volumes of traffic on unsuitable roads and air pollution.
The Plan will deliver significant benefits here"12. But
again, there is no detailed analysis of impact of the Plan on
different socio-economic groups.
20. The extent to which the Plan will not
reduce social exclusion is highlighted by the acknowledgement
in the background analysis that "those who travel the greater
distances are likely to benefit more in absolute terms from the
general measures in the Plan, but broadly in proportion to their
share of total distance travelled". These people will overwhelmingly
be from higher income groups. People from the highest income bracket
travel seven times as far by rail as those from the poorest households14.
People in car owning households (closely correlated with household
income) travel three times as far overall as those from households
without a car15. An allocation of the Plan's benefits in proportion
to distance travelled will therefore be biased in favour of people
from richer households. People from the poorest 20 per cent of
households, by contrast, make fewer journeys overall but about
twice as many journeys on foot and three times as many journeys
by bus as those from the richest 20 per cent of households16.
Almost eight out of every 10 journeys made by low-income, non
car-owning households involve walking17. The Government should
publish an analysis of the impact of the investment in the Plan
in terms of its impact on social exclusion. This should analyse
how far the Plan will improve access to the transport system for
different socio-economic groups. It should also examine the implications
of the fact that benefits from the Plan will accrue disproportionately
to people from richer households.
21. The fact that people on low incomes
are the most reliant on walking makes the lack of attention to
walking in the Plan all the more unacceptable. Walking accounts
for 80 per cent of trips under a mile and over a quarter of all
trips. It is the principal means of access to buses, trains and
trams. It is also socially equitable, environmentally benign and
central to the social and economic life of local communities.
Yet walking (combined with cycling) accounts for less than 10
paragraphs in a document of over 100 pages. This is in stark
contrast to the Transport White Paper, where walking featured
prominently and was the first mode addressed. There is no analysis
of the total funding that will be devoted to walking in the Plan.
But as mentioned above, funding for local transport only accounts
for a small proportion of the total investment in the Plan. And
walking will only account for a small proportion of this. The
Government should publish an annual breakdown of the spending
in LTPs on individual modes, including walking. The pattern of
investment during the lifetime of the Plan should switch away
from long-distance travel to local travel and in particular to
walking and cycling.
1 The Plan states that: "economic growth
will continue to generate more demand for travel in the foreseeable
future. The challenge is to ensure that this increased mobility
does not undermine our quality of life, so that travel and its
benefits can be enjoyed by all" (paragraph 3.2).
2 The background analysis to the Plan acknowledges
an easing of the link between GDP growth and car travel since
1989 (paragraph 31). It also acknowledges that this has been due
in part to "increasing application of policy measures that
increase the attractiveness of public transport, walking and cycling"
(paragraph 31). But the Plan assumes that car use will continue
to rise with GDP.
3 These include increasing the efficiency of
use of existing road and rail infrastructure (eg through real-time
information to drivers); marginal capacity increases to reduce
congestion; using congestion and work place parking charges to
influence driver demand at key times and locations; using technology
to offset rising pollution; and improving transport safety to
reduce road and rail casualties.
4 The pattern of spending in the Plan "reflects
our integrated approach and our commitment to public transport.
The mix and level of investment is based on our analysis of what
is needed to provide a step change in public transport in our
towns and cities, in the countryside and in London" (paragraph
5 The National Travel Survey shows that the
total number of trips per person per year has increased by only
7 per cent since the mid-1970s and has remained constant at around
1,000 trips a year since the mid-1980s. Total time travelled has
remained constant at about one hour per day over the same period
(NTS, 1998-2000 Update, tables 2.1 and 3.2).
6 Transport 2010: The Background Analysis,
Annex D, paragraph 20.
7 The Plan suggests that up to 25 light rail
schemes could be funded.
8 All figures taken from The 10 Year Plan
and Social Exclusion, Safe Streets Coalition Briefing, July
9 The Nine Year Plan for Transport: What
Next?, Professor Phil Goodwin, Annual Transport Planning Society
Lecture, 14 June 2001.
10 Government response to the DETR Select Committee
on Walking in Towns and Cities, November 2001, p. 21.
11 Transport 2010: The Background Analysis,
Annex D, paragraph 17
12 Transport 2010: The Background Analysis,
Annex D, paragraph 16
13 Transport 2010: The Background Analysis,
Annex D, paragraph 20
14 Vital Travel Statistics, Stephen Potter,
1997, table 6.5
15 Vital Travel Statistics, Stephen Potter,
1997, table 6.6
16 Tony Grayling, "Transport and Social
Exclusion", paper to Transport Statistics Users Group, IPPR,
2001, p. 9.
17 Tony Grayling, "Transport and Social
Exclusion", p. 7.