Thursday, 16 July 2009

Time for a u-turn in transport policy?

Posted on This is My Truth on 15 July

The Bevan Foundation has joined an alliance of 20 other Welsh organisations today to call on the Assembly Government to perform a U-turn on transport policy.

This afternoon the long-awaited National Transport Plan is put out to consultation. And we can expect genuflections in the direction of sustainable transport, but what meaning do they have when some half of the transport budget is tied up in road schemes?

WAG will have to start cutting Welsh greenhouse gas emissions by 3% every year from 2011. And with a quarter of our emissions coming from transport a new approach is needed.

For the first time public transport operators have joined passenger watchdogs, health groups and NGOs to press for greater priority to be given to a range of initiatives that promote green transport.

Here’s the list of demnads that command the support of this broad alliance:

•Measures to promote integrated transport, for example, multi-modal ticketing, bus / rail interchanges, Smart Cards and secure cycle parking.
•A range of ‘Smarter Choices’ measures. For example, Travel planning, Car Clubs, Car sharing, Bus Real Time information systems, Park & Ride, showers and lockers in workplaces.
•Traffic calming and speed restraint in residential areas to encourage walking and cycling
•An extensive network of shared paths for walking and cycling (segregated from traffic)
•Congestion charging allied with extra investment in public transport
•Parking control (including low parking standards for new developments, charging, use of workplace parking levies, re-development of parking space for more productive uses);
•An extension of safe routes to schools (for example, by using traffic-calming measures near schools and by creating or improving walking and cycle routes to schools).
•Reallocation of road space towards sustainable modes of transport
•An integrated marketing strategy to target information on those who are susceptible to change the way they travel;
•Demand responsive services, including community transport, to tackle social exclusion in rural areas and other areas of transport poverty.
•A wide reaching awareness raising campaign educating the public in the techniques involved in more efficient driving, for journeys where sustainable modes of transport are not an option.
These measures to reduce car dependency should be funded by a shift away from road building.

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