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Campaign for Better Transport slams Government plans for 'traffic hell'

10 September 2007
The Government predicts we will have to contend with 5.7 million more cars on our roads by 2031, a growth of 21%. Simply parking these cars would fill a 52-lane motorway all the way from Edinburgh to London. Worryingly, because we are also driving more, the Government forecasts show that traffic will increase even more – up 31% by 2025. [1]

The result will be ‘traffic hell’, warns Campaign for Better Transport: more traffic jams, longer journeys, more pollution and more stress. The organisation, formerly known as Transport 2000 [2], is today outlining a better way forward for traffic. [3]

Executive Director Stephen Joseph says, “We can’t go on like this – traffic is destroying our communities, our health and our environment. The Government must stop catering for all this traffic and instead give people and businesses good alternatives to driving. Campaign for Better Transport will continue the organisation’s long-standing role of coming up with practical solutions to transport problems.”

Top traffic hotspots

Campaign for Better Transport has compiled a list of the top 10 traffic hotspots – the places where traffic has grown fastest over the last decade [4]:

 

  1. Tameside: 38.6%
  2. Oldham: 34.5%
  3. Doncaster: 28.8%
  4. South Gloucestershire: 27.3%
  5. Leicestershire, excl. Leicester and Rutland: 25.5%
  6. Medway Towns: 25.0%
  7. North Somerset: 24.7%
  8. Barnsley: 24.4%
  9. West Berkshire: 23.8%
  10. Northamptonshire: 23.8%

- ends-

 

Notes to editors

[1] The Department for Transport predicts car ownership to reach 33.5 million by 2031. Car ownership in 2006 was 27.8 million.

Traffic volumes in 2000 in England were 402,890 million vehicle kilometres. The forecast is that there will be growth between 2000 and 2025 of 40%, which would mean a total in 2025 of 564,046 million vehicle kilometres. England total in 2005 was 429,705.

The motorway figure is based on cars being lined up at 20 feet apart. 20 feet is the standard distance between parking metres.

[2] Campaign for Better Transport is the new name of Transport 2000, which has been securing better transport policies and programmes since 1973. We campaign for transport that improves our quality of life and reduces our environmental impact.

 

[3] A better way

 

 

- 6 ways the Government should tackle traffic

1. Incentivise public transport and improve infrastructure

A. Government should improve the quality and quantity of rail services by enabling platforms and trains to be lengthened, extra lines and signals to be added and new stations and rail freight terminals to be built.

-- Campaign for Better Transport successfully lobbied to make growth the focus of July’s Rail White Paper. We continue to campaign for a growing railway.

B. Government should make public transport cheaper through sustained and targeted investment.

-- Campaign for Better Transport lobbies for cheaper fares, including a discount rail card, more travelcards and tax breaks for commuters using public transport.

C. Government should improve bus services across the country by enabling local authorities, transport authorities and bus operators to revise arrangements for the partnerships and contracts that are needed to make improvements.

-- Campaign for Better Transport lobbies the Government to reform competition legislation, minimum standards and the arrangements under which bus services are operated.

D. Government should create a public voice for bus passengers to enable feedback on services.

-- Campaign for Better Transport successfully champions the concerns of bus passengers. In its response to the Draft Local Transport Bill in August, the Transport Select Committee suggested that an independent, publicly-funded complaints body should be set up for bus users, as suggested by us.

E. Government should encourage local efforts to integrate different forms of transport, to create seamless and attractive door-to-door travel.

-- Campaign for Better Transport ran a survey over the summer to highlight stations that have insufficient access and poor connections with buses and taxis. We are using the results of that survey to work with Government and transport operators to improve the situation.

2. Incentivise changing travel patterns

A. Government should influence business and commuter travel through incentives for sustainable travel to and from the workplace.

-- Campaign for Better Transport coordinates a group of NGOs to facilitate the take-up of travel plans by business and local authorities.

B. Government should influence shopping and leisure journeys by encouraging local authorities to create visitor travel plans for leisure and tourist facilities.

-- Campaign for Better Transport operates the Car Free Leisure Network which works to improve the quality of experience offered to people arriving in tourist areas without a car.

3. Create real travel choices in new developments

A. Government should ensure that new housing and commercial developments are built around high-quality public transport such as trams, to give people real travel choices and cut car-dependency.

-- Campaign for Better Transport carries out detailed research on practical ways in which new developments can be made less car-dependent.

B. Government should ensure that the public voice is heard and considered throughout the planning process.

-- Campaign for Better Transport is part of the Planning Disaster coalition, which brings together the UK's main environmental, conservation and civic organisations with over 5 million members to lobby Government for improvements to the planning system.

4. Promote investment in rail freight

Government should increase investment and incentives for rail freight through grants and planning that encourage alternatives to lorries and planes.

-- Campaign for Better Transport hosts the Freight on Rail network, a partnership between the transport trade unions, the Rail Freight Group, Network Rail, Campaign for Better Transport and the rail freight operating companies, working to promote the shift to rail freight. We helped to secure a parliamentary petition to oppose the trialling of super-lorries (Early Day Motion 730). The motion was supported by over 100 MPs.

5. Promote better integration of walking and cycling

A. Government should further support school travel initiatives, including cycle schemes, walking buses, yellow school buses and speed limits around schools.

-- Campaign for Better Transport promotes school travel plans and works with others to support them.

B. Government should use tax incentives for commuters and companies to promote cycling, car sharing and the use of public transport.

-- Campaign for Better Transport has successfully campaigned for tax concessions for car sharing, cycling and employer-funded buses; we continue to campaign for more.

C. Government should promote car clubs and car sharing to increase average vehicle occupancy.

-- Campaign for Better Transport lobbies to get Government and councils to fund these initiatives properly and to give car clubs reserved parking spaces.

6. Reduce road building and introduce road pricing

A. Government should review the road building programme to remove schemes that will generate increased traffic and carbon dioxide emissions.

-- Campaign for Better Transport commissioned research on how the Government’s roads programme contributes to climate change. Our research resulted in the Department for Transport committing to investigate the business case for roads. We run the Road Block network that assists local groups campaigning against bad road proposals.

B. Government should actively design a national road pricing scheme to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, not just congestion, as a progression from the current proposed local road pricing pilot schemes.

-- Campaign for Better Transport plays a leading role in the road pricing debate, lobbying for revenues from road pricing to be explicitly used for alternatives to the car to improve people’s travel choices.

 

[4] National growth was 16% over the same time period. Source: Department for Transport, Road Traffic Statistics for Local Authorities: 1995-2005. http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/datatablespublications/roadstraffic/traffic/rtstatisticsla/ A list of results for all local authorities is also available from the press office.