Cyclists’ organisation CTC has joined with several other environmental groups in issuing a manifesto today that urges the next government to make sure that local, regional and national transport plans are integrated effectively in the interests of improving transport and ensuring cost-effectiveness.
Such measures would help create jobs and combat social inclusion, reduce car dependency while improving the quality of the streets, and give people greater choice when it came to their daily travel needs, say the manifesto's authors.
Joining CTC in the initiative are the Campaign for Better Transport, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Friends of The Earth and Living Streets. The manifesto, which can be downloaded here, lays out proposals which its authors say “would radically improve transport while keeping spending within existing budgets.”
Called Improving Everyday Transport, the manifesto suggests that the next government would do better to focus on day-to-day travel choices affecting people’s daily lives, rather than headline-grabbing aviation and high-speed rail projects.
Its authors urge politicians to ensure that greater consistency is achieved across national, regional and local transport plans, highlighting that the lack of co-ordination of these to date has resulted in anomalies such as some areas seeing massive increase in use of buses and cycling, while others have experienced declines in those modes of transport.
Recommendations include investment in new off-road cycling and walking routes, promoting smarter travel choices including cycling and walking, and continuing efforts to ensure that by 2020, every child who is able to walk or cycle to school is able to do so.
The manifesto also calls for policy guidance to be changed so that 20mph becomes the default speed limit on residential and shopping streets, with roads where that is not appropriate needing to be specified, and using public awareness campaigns to raise driving standards, with greater resources given to traffic police so they can enforce existing laws.
According to the manifesto, funding for these initiatives could come from a combination of diversion of funds earmarked for existing projects, as well as new revenue streams.
Its authors claim that up to £6 billion could be raised from charging lorries to use the road, which would also ensure that foreign-registered trucks, and not just ones from the UK, would pay towards maintaining the country’s roads.
A further £5.2 billion could be saved over the next five years through deferring or canceling eight of the Highway Agency’s most expensive schemes currently planned, with one project on the A14, costing £1.4 billion, viewed as singled out as superfluous since there are already better value alternatives to improve the flow of traffic and get goods off the roads and onto the rail network.
CTC chief executive Kevin Mayne said: “Cycling is good for public health, for our communities, the environment and our wallets – all in all the biggest benefits for the least cost of any form of transport. To get more people cycling, however, we need to tackle the major deterrents to cycling: too much traffic travelling too fast, poorly designed roads and junctions, and lorries. Government, local authorities, employers and schools all have to play their part to give people the encouragement and opportunities to give cycling a go.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.