Memorandum by the Institute of Logistics
and Transport (TYP 41)
1. This paper summarises the views of the
Institute of Logistics and Transport (ILT) on the principal questions
raised in the Sub-Committee's invitation to give evidence. It
focuses on the assumptions underlying the Plan and the prospects
for implementation with particular attention to:
Road Capacity and Charging.
The Current Situation in The Railway
Delivery of the 10 Year Plan and
the Shortage of Skilled Professionals in Relevant Areas.
The ILT is a professional body representing
some 23,000 members in the UK who work across the fields of transport
and logistics. It has no commercial interests in any transport
company, and offers its views accordingly.
2. In general the ILT supports the policies
on which the 10 Year Plan is based and welcomes the Plan as the
first multi-modal, long-term plan for transport investment and
improvement. But we have some acute concerns about whether the
Plan will achieve the objectives set out in the Policy White Paper.
Following the headings and questions in the Sub-Committee's document
these are as follows.
3. The assumptions on traffic growth are
likely to have been affected by the reductions in fuel duty in
the last Budget and recent changes in the underlying price of
fuel. Although the Plan assumed falling fuel prices, the current
trend may be greater than assumed (which will make the achievement
of the objectives more difficult). This is something the Sub-Committee
may wish to pursue with the DTLR.
Workplace Parking and Congestion Charging
4. It seems very unlikely that local authorities
will implement as many congestion charging and workplace parking
levy schemes as assumed in the Plan. So the forecast reductions
in urban congestion will almost certainly not be achieved. If
the Government wants to see significant improvements in urban
areas, it should give more positive support for measures of this
kind and make the funding of expensive public transport projects,
such as light rail, dependent on them.
5. There are widespread shortages in skilled
staff at all levels needed to implement the Plan, from bus and
train drivers to engineers, project managers and transport planners.
There is a particular need for more professionals skilled in effective
project management and public consultation if the public is to
understand the implications of different policy options and to
have its views properly taken into account.
6. The ILT and the Transport Planning Society
has recently carried out a comprehensive survey
of their members involved in transport planning, public transport
and freight to ascertain the extent of the skills shortages and
the impact on delivery of the 10 Year Plan. The funding demonstrates
that there are both shortages of resources and competence that
will seriously impede upon delivery of the plan to timescale.
These issues are covered further in "Implementation".
Capital Investment and Scheme Balance
7. The sums identified for capital investment
in the Plan (excluding that part of road maintenance so identified)
are distributed broadly as follows:
|Roads||20 per cent
|Rail||50 per cent
|London||15 per cent
|Local public transport||15 per cent
Further allocations are dependent on the outcome of studies,
including the multi-modal studies. It now seems inescapable that
more funds will be needed for rail, which will increase its dominance
in the overall picture. We do not disagree with this, but it
is worth noting that, on the Government's own figures in the documents
published with the Plan, the projected increase in passenger and
freight transport by rail has only a minimal effect on inter-urban
road congestion (1 per cent and 2 per cent respectively). If these
figures are correct, the reduction of inter-urban road traffic
is not the main justification for rail investment and congestion
on the motorway and trunk road network must be dealt with mainly
by other means.
Compared with the allocations for rail and London, the provision
for all other public transport may be too low, though it could
and should be augmented by revenue from urban congestion charges.
8. We would, in general, like to see more emphasis, in
local transport plans, regional transport strategies and the options
examined in the multi-modal studies, on the management of traffic
and travel demand and on smaller rather than large schemes. But
the overall balance of expenditure should depend on the detailed
outcome of the studies.
9. Due to the uncertainty surrounding Railtrack's future,
together with the financial position of operators will have a
major impact on the predicted mix of private and public sector
finance needed to implement the Plan. The government will have
to look elsewhere for finance. However, the government is unlikely
to be successful in raising private finance unless it is willing
to take more risk itself. It has so far placed most of the risk
on the private sector, even where the private sector cannot control
that risk. For example, franchise agreements contain no automatic
rights to an interim review and adjustment if traffic fails to
meet a predetermined rate of growth.
Unless there is a change in the underlying economics of the
railway, mainly by the Government increasing its support or otherwise
taking on more risk, the problems on the railway are likely to
continue and possibly worsen. The quality of railway services
would then decline further, traffic growth would continue to falter
and the transport system as a whole would suffer from increased
congestion, more accidents and higher environmental costs.
10. The current situation of the railway industrypost
Hatfieldhas put the spotlight on the issue of rail safety,
an issue which could divert even more funding away from the projects
as stated in the 10 Year Plan. Calls for vastly enhanced safety
measures have come from various sectors of society. Whilst the
ILT agrees with the necessity for a safe rail network, safety
requirements should be comparable with those expected in other
areas of the economy and other modes of transport. Railways are
expected to be competitive and to operate at the most efficient
level. However, huge amounts of managerial resource have been
devoted to an increasingly complex and centralised regulatory
regime. There is little reason to suspect that railway safety
standards in Britain are in any sense lower than in other EU countries.
Meeting the implications of zero tolerance of risk would create
a very large bill in safety work, reflecting capital costs, those
of maintenance and renewal, operational costs, and administration
of the external enforcement bodies. Such costs would have to
be met by train operating companies, infrastructure owners, or
external sources, of which the principal is Government.
11. The ILT is acutely aware that this entails extremely
difficult decisions for the politicians. The cost of meeting comparable
standards of safety in each transport mode might be kept within
each part of the industry. For roads, significant new constraints
would have to be imposed directly on private motorists and would
be seen as anti car. If it is to be decided that the railways
are to continue to achieve higher standards than those expected
on the roads, the only equitable solution is for the Government
to fund the costs directly.
The Ability to Deliver the 10 Year Plan
12. The recent ILT/TPS survey has given a clear indication
of the extent of the challenge facing the profession, and ultimately,
Government. More funding is needed and a change in the policy
balance if local authorities are to deliver. Nearly nine out of
10 respondents (88 per cent) said that the local authorities would
not be able to deliver the New Agenda. Over seven out of 10 (72
per cent) believed the policy balance is not right and nearly
eight out of 10 (77 per cent) that the proposed level of finance
is unlikely to deliver the necessary changes. There was also concern
that local authorities will focus too much on the supply-side
changes and the information projects when they should be paying
more attention to the role of land-use interventions (55 per cent),
behaviour change (35 per cent) and demand restraint (21 per cent).
Professionals clearly identified the most important intervention
tools in their opinionpublic transport (56 per cent), traffic
management (39 per cent), behaviour change (39 per cent), and
road user charging (28 per cent).
13. Delivery will also be hampered unless more is done
to involve the public and local councillors. 72 per cent of respondents
saw this as a key issue, and that communicating effectively with
political masters and the electorate is a major skill that needs
developing. Specific difficulties faced particularly by local
authorities were public opposition to the new policies and interventions,
lack of funding and lack of political will. In terms of the skills
shortage, project management (52 per cent), funding and procurement
(34 per cent) and travel behaviour change (30 per cent) were seen
to be the skills areas in short supply, which adds further evidence
to studies already undertaken in this area. Consultation/involvement
and evaluation skills also featured here.
14. The ILT report also makes recommendations on how
these challenges can be overcome. To meet the challenge of the
10 Year Plan, a combination of more staff (particularly those
with a broader skill base), organisation change and more public
participation will be required. We see the way forward to meet
the skills challenge in the short, medium and long term will be
best delivered by collaborative, unifying work across professional
bodies involved in transport, such as the current Transport Planning
Skills Initiative. Whilst training is seem as the most popular
way of resolving the skills issue, this must be complemented by
measures from central government, increased partnering, longer
term planning, proactive recruitment/raised profile of career
opportunities, and increased pay to reflect the true value of
professionals in this field.
15. We agree with the Government that reductions in congestion
and pollution rather than traffic per se should be the main objectives.
However, we think that the Plan gives insufficient weight to land-use
objectivessuch as supporting existing urban centres, discouraging
dispersal to the suburbs and the surrounding countryside and satisfying
more needs locally. The urban congestion objective needs to be
complemented by an objective to maintain or increase the number
of trips to central areas by sustainable methods. This would need
to be linked to the Government's policy to economically and socially
revitalise urban centres and brownfield sites.
16. The target of increasing bus travel by 10 per cent
seems, however, to be woefully inadequate and inconsistent with
other targets in the 10 Year Plan. For the following reasons we
think that it should probably be at least 25 per cent and possibly
17. The Plan forecasts that the measures proposed for
major urban areas will reduce traffic by 5 per cent below the
level to which they will have grown by 2010 and congestion by
20 per cent. This big drop in congestion, compared with the modest
fall in traffic growth, must be due to the fact that the measures
are concentrated on the most congested roadsie travel to
and from work in city centres, while traffic goes on growing on
relatively uncongested roads and at uncongested times without
making congestion significantly worse. So the assumed reduction
in traffic to central areas in the peak must be considerably more
than the 5 per cent average.
18. Increases in public transport passenger numbers are
less important than changes in mode and should not be used as
a simplistic measure of achievement (eg an extra bus journey previously
undertaken by car may be more valuable in transport planning terms
than one previously made on foot). Of even more questionable value,
in terms of overall integrated transport policy, would be an increase
in usage driven largely by policies of low fares for the elderly,
for example. Success of the 10 Year Plan relies on modal shift
in real terms, not increasing the total amount of trips. We would
also expect complementary measures to reduce the average length
of journeys (The increase in average journey length is the main
reason for traffic growth over the last 25 years).
19. As has been pointed out above (15), one of the objectives
of the Government's integrated policies for cities is to maintain
or strengthen the attractiveness of urban centres, both in their
own right, and because they are easier to serve by public transport.
Land use and transport policies are intended to reinforce one
another by mitigating the historic trend for dispersal from inner
cities and encouraging the location of employment, leisure facilities
and shopping in densely developed centres. If this is to be compatible
with reducing traffic levels in urban areas, the reduction in
car travel must be at least matched by mode shift to public transport,
which in most provincial cities means the bus.
20. Even if the fall in traffic to central areas is only
5 per cent (and we argue above that the Government's targets must
assume a much higher figure), the fall in annual mileage would
be some 9 billion vehicle kilometres. Assuming that this drop
is accounted for mainly by less car travel, and that vehicle occupancy
is not much more than one person, this is equivalent to a fall
of some 10 billion passenger kms by car. Doubling the use of light
rail (one of the Government's targets) would account for 0.5 billion
of this and a 10 per cent increase in bus travel for a further
2.7 billion passenger kilometres. This leaves 6.8 billion passenger
kilometres of the fall in car travel unaccounted for. The worry
is that it represents car users who have abandoned central urban
areas and are continuing to travel by car, but to suburban or
21. These are only broad-brush calculations, since we
have not seen the details behind the Government's forecasts, but
they suggest that the increase in bus travel should be at least
25 per cent rather than 10 per cent, if the reduction in central
area congestion is not to lead to a fall in travel to city centres.
This would take us back to a little more than the level of bus
use in 1980, which does not sound unreasonable. But it would require
a much more ambitious use of bus priority measures and quality
partnerships to bring bus-based public transport up to a standard
where it can compete with the car for a higher proportion of urban
trips. This needs to be reflected both in local transport plans
and the financial allocations.
22. The 10 Year Plan contains ambitious targets for modal
shift from road to rail. The network as presently configured cannot
handle existing traffic and the poor quality of service does not
just reflect sub standard infrastructure and rolling stock but
is also a direct consequence of overloading a system beyond its
design capabilities. The Government's 10 Year Plan envisages that
£49 billion will be invested in the railway over the 10 year
period from April 2001, £34 billion from the private sector
and £15 billion from public sources (with a further £11
billion of public resources allocated for revenue support). However,
much is already committed to:
Ongoing major projects, such as West Coast Route
Modernisation, whose costs have increased dramatically under the
Deferred maintenance of the network.
Meeting the requirements of the Disability Discrimination
Meeting the requirements of the Government on
safety, and of the EU to implement interoperability.
23. Much of the £49 billion is therefore already
committed to specific purposes and limited funding is likely to
be available for increased capacity and genuine service improvements.
The collapse of Railtrack has put a considerable risk premium
on future private sector capital entering the railway industry.
This will raise the cost and difficulty of raising private money
for enhancement projects. The creation of a "not for profit
trust" is proposed in order to channel surplus funds into
infrastructure investment rather than dividends to shareholders.
However it is doubtful if these surplus funds will represent
more than a small proportion of funding requirements. Investor
confidence in the Government's continuing commitment to provide
substantial and regular funding to the industry must be restored.
One reason that so much of £315 billion public money mentioned
in the 10 Year Plan has already been committed is that new standard
appraisal techniques and values have apparently been ignored on
some major safety projects. Limited funding is therefore likely
to be available for increased capacity and genuine service enhancements.
Inter Urban Networks
24. We do not think that the proposals in the Plan give
enough weight to the economic needs of inter-urban road traffic
and to the management of demand on the inter-urban network so
as to keep congestion within acceptable limits.
25. The inter-urban network is already severely congested
at times. The proposals in the Plan for additional lanes on motorways
and improvements at key junctions will help, as will measures
to manage the network better, by means of access controls, priority
lanes and priority access, variable speed limits and integrated
vehicle/highway technology. The transfer of some freight and
passenger traffic to the railways will make a smaller, but welcome
26. The Government's own forecasts are that over the
next 10 years all these measures will reduce congestion on the
trunk road network to 5 per cent below current levels despite
increases in traffic of 26 per cent. Yet compared with the present
position a 5 per cent improvement in congestion levels over 10
years may be barely perceptible to most users and would do little
more than maintain the current very unsatisfactory position.
It is not clear whether there will be an improvement in reliability,
which is particularly important to commercial road operators (both
coach and freight and car users on business trips). Moreover,
economic growth will continue after 2010 and so will inter-urban
traffic. It is important for the efficiency of transport operations
and logistics both within the UK and between the UK and the rest
of the EU, that road transport, which will remain the dominant
mode, should not suffer avoidable economic costs. Traffic congestion
also increases fuel consumption and emissions and therefore adds
to the difficulty of reducing CO2 emissions.
27. We therefore need to manage the road network and
its development in such a way that demand and capacity are more
closely in balance than they are now. It is most unlikely that
additional capacity and better techniques for managing traffic
flow will keep pace with traffic growth. Pricing therefore has
a role to play in road useas it already does in other spheres,
such as telecommunications, aviation and rail travelin
making better use of existing capacity by reducing peak loads
and diverting some demand to times and places where there is spare
capacity. It may also be able to moderate the rate of growth in
demand, particularly the growth in the average length of journeys,
which is the main reason why traffic growth has been so high over
the last 30 years.
28. We think that the Government needs to take a more
proactive role in developing congestion charging technology for
the motorway and trunk road network and should ensure that the
multi-modal studies properly examine the need for urban congestion
charging (since much of the congestion on the inter-urban network
takes place at peak commuting times on the approaches to large
cities). We therefore welcome the proposals on which the Treasury
is currently consulting to introduce electronic road charging
for heavy goods vehicles, offset by reductions in other forms
of lorry taxation.
Collaboration and Co-operation to Deliver
29. If the 10 Year Plan is to be the investment plan
to deliver the Government's Integrated Transport Policy DTLR needs
to ensure it works positively with the Strategic Rail Authority
and regional transport/economic bodies to ensure that the pivotal
relationship between transport and the planning process is not
ignored. PPG13 provides the planning policy background, but what
is needed is clear action that the level of integration it promotes
is really being achieved on the ground. The 10 Year Plan must
link to the latest raft of land use planning tools (eg Transport
Development Areas which focus around key transport nodes and the
SRA's Strategic Agenda and forthcoming Plan) if the next eight
years are to be fully productive. The Government must also ensure
that there are adequate budgets to facilitate training and competence
raising for the benefit of existing (and potential) professionals
engaged in this process.
ILT/TPS Transport Planning Survey Report, January 2002. Back
Ref: Page 11 of "Restructuturing the Railway"-by the
Institute of Logistics and Transport, 14 December 2001. Back
For further comment see the ILT's response to the HSE's Railway
Health and Safety Regulatory Strategy, June 2001. Back
Ref Page 12 of Restructuring the Railway Industry-by the
Institute of Logistics and Transport, 14 December 2001. Back