A range of documents were published containing environmental impact and other information for the proposed high speed rail project (HS2) between the south east and north of England. The documents were linked to proposed changes to the High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill, on which consultation was now sought. The consultation would close on 14 November 2014.
Source: HS2 Ltd
An article examined carless households and car deprivation across locations in Britain. Drawing on data from the British National Travel survey 2002-10, it said that the socio-demographic composition and the travel behaviour of carless households varied systematically across different types of area, with implications for sustainable transport policy and research.
Source: Giulio Mattioli, 'Where sustainable transport and social exclusion meet: households without cars and car dependence in Great Britain', Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, Volume 16 Number 3
A report set out proposals for major multi-modal improvements to the transport infrastructure (rail and highways) in the north of England, including a trans-Pennine rail tunnel.
Source: One North: A proposition for an interconnected north, 1North
A think-tank report examined bus and rail markets in Britain and the merits of existing policy, and made policy recommendations for railway in Britain and bus markets outside of London, including: for public sector rail operators to be allowed to bid for franchises; for the Office of Rail Regulation to take over the franchising process; for franchising arrangements to encourage train operating companies to make a greater contribution to infrastructure costs; for local authorities to have a greater role in the regulation of local bus services via quality contract schemes; for new regional transport authorities; and for a national transport strategy.
Source: Mark Rowney and Will Straw, Greasing the Wheels: Getting our bus and rail markets on the move, Institute for Public Policy Research
A think-tank report said that there was a need for 'transformational infrastructure projects' in the north of England, and that northern leaders should work together to develop a long-term Northern Infrastructure Strategy to build on the 'One North' plan for transport connectivity. The report made recommendations for a review and rebalancing of infrastructure spending, and for the devolution of transport responsibilities to combined authorities and other transport bodies.
Source: Ed Cox and Bill Davies, Transformational Infrastructure for the North: Why we need a Great North Plan, Institute for Public Policy Research
The government published its response to the HS2 Taskforce report.
Source: Getting Set for HS2: Responding to the HS2 Growth Taskforce, Department for Transport
The government published its response to the outcome of a consultation on options for a new Lower Thames crossing. It said that there was a case for a new road-based crossing, and that two of the options each provided valid, yet different, solutions. Work would now continue on preparing for development consent and impact assessment and, as there was currently no preference for either location, both would be considered during the next phase, before further public consultation in 2015-16.
Source: Government Response to Consultation: Options for a new Lower Thames crossing, Department for Transport
A report said that bus services were key to achieving 46 policy goals of twelve central government departments in the United Kingdom. It said that all of the main forms of funding were under severe pressure, and set out how funding for buses could be reformed.
Source: Making the Connections: The cross-sector benefits of supporting bus services, Passenger Transport Executive Group
A report by a committee of MPs said that community transport provided an important service, but central government and local authorities could not expect voluntary community projects to compensate for decreased bus services. It said that the Department for Transport needed to show strategic leadership in driving joined-up policy-making to allow people who lived in isolated communities to participate fully in society, and recommended the large-scale piloting of pooled transport systems.
Source: Passenger Transport in Isolated Communities, Fourth Report (Session 201415), HC 288, House of Commons Transport Select Committee, TSO
A report said that, although the impact of adverse weather conditions had been considerable, the United Kingdom transport network had, overall, coped well with recent events. However, there were still lessons to be learned, such as improving communications, developing and protecting information technology infrastructures that underpinned the systems, and developing the economic rationale for resilience investment. The report reviewed the resilience of the network, and made recommendations for immediate and long-term improvements.
Source: Transport Resilience Review: A review of the resilience of the transport network to extreme weather events, Cm 8874, Department for Transport, TSO
A report summarized the reasons for the government's changes to the way in which the strategic road network would be managed and run, how the new system would work, and the benefits the change would deliver. The changes, introduced in or alongside the Infrastructure Bill, included: establishing a new, long-term 'road investment strategy'; transferring functions of the Highways Agency into a government-owned strategic highways company; and an independent watchdog and monitor. The government also published associated documents relating to the highways company, and the new strategy.
Source: Transforming Our Strategic Roads: A summary, Department for Transport
The government began consultation on proposals to re-let the Northern and TransPennine Express rail franchises. The consultation was published alongside guidance documents and prospectuses for each of the two franchise exercises, and an Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) Notice. The consultation would close on 18 August 2014.
Source: Stakeholder Consultation: TransPennine Express Rail Franchise Northern Rail Franchise, Department for Transport
Links: Consultation document | Northern franchise prospectus | Northern franchise papers | TransPennine franchise prospectus | TransPennine papers | OJEU notice | DT press release | Written ministerial statement
A report by a committee of MPs said that new arrangements for allocating funding to local transport schemes, due to be introduced in 2015, could result in outcomes such as: competitive bidding for funds resulting in wasted expenditure on unsuccessful bids and favouring better resourced authorities; strategically significant transport projects not being funded if they would not deliver immediate benefits for local enterprise partnerships or local authorities; and insufficient private sector investment for local transport schemes. The report said that the Department for Transport needed to monitor how the new provisions worked in practice and, in particular, whether transport spending was distributed more equitably across England.
Source: Local Transport Expenditure: Who decides?, Seventeenth Report (2013-14), HC 1140, House of Commons Transport Select Committee, TSO
Two related reports by a committee of MPs said that joined-up planning for both passenger and freight traffic across the United Kingdom's road and rail infrastructure was essential to the economy, and that effective regulation and long-term funding plans were required in order to ensure investment in the strategic road network. The committee called for the Department for Transport to specify more strategically important projects, called for improvements to planning and communications regarding projects, and questioned the decision to transfer the responsibilities of the Highways Agency to a government-owned company.
Source: Better Roads: Improving England's strategic road network, Fifteenth Report (Session 201314), HC 850, House of Commons Transport Select Committee, TSO
Source: National Policy Statement on National Networks, Sixteenth Report (Session 201314), HC 1135, House of Commons Transport Select Committee, TSO
The government published a response to its consultation on the transfer of responsibilities from the Highways Agency to a government-owned company. It said that a government-owned strategic highways company would now be established, and that the government would publish a 'road investment strategy', outlining what the company needed to achieve over a five year period (with associated funding). The document also outlined proposals for governance and monitoring, and said that two new external expert bodies would be created.
Source: Government Response to Consultation on Transforming the Highways Agency into a Government-Owned Company, Cm 8855, Department for Transport, TSO
A think-tank report considered ways to improve the transport systems in United Kingdom cities. It outlined a range of challenges and recommendations, including for cities: to have greater control over bus services; to have longer term certainty regarding central government funding; to be able to raise money locally to fund local transport improvements; to develop a more co-ordinated approach to funding and management of different modes of transport across city regions, overseen by an Integrated Transport Authority; and for city regions to be given powers similar to Transport for London.
Source: Zach Wilcox, Nada Nohrova, and Elliot Bidgood, Delivering Change: Making transport work for cities, Centre for Cities
The government and the Rail Executive began consultation on the planned approach for securing Great Western franchised rail services at the end of the current direct award franchise in 2015, and on a proposed franchise specification, with a focus on changes planned during the following five year period. The consultation would close on 26 June 2014.
Source: Great Western Specification Consultation, Department for Transport/Rail Executive
A report by a committee of MPs said that the government should aim for higher levels of environmental protection within the plans for the High Speed 2 rail link between London and the north of England. It called for full environmental surveys to be conducted along the length of the route and for a ringfenced, separate environmental budget.
Source: HS2 and the Environment, Thirteenth Report (Session 201314), HC 1076, House of Commons Environmental Audit Select Committee, TSO
A report examined potential job creation in public transport, cycling, and walking in a group of countries across Europe (with the addition of Canada and the United States of America in parts of the discussion). It said that the available evidence (based on one city in each country of the study) suggested that these modes of transport could be significant employers and contributors to the green economy, and that around 10,000 deaths could be avoided each year through the health benefits of cycling if each city reached the same levels of cycling activity as Copenhagen, Denmark.
Source: Ian Skinner, Dawei Wu, Christian Schweizer, Francesca Racioppi, and Rie Tsutsumi, Unlocking New Opportunities: Jobs in green and healthy transport, WHO Europe
A think-tank report said that the proposed High Speed 2 rail improvements were unlikely to transform the north of England or address the north-south divide. It discussed outcomes from High Speed 1, and said that the regeneration claims for HS2 ran counter to the economic evidence, and that the benefits would be too small to overcome long-term and entrenched economic problems in northern England.
Source: Richard Wellings, Failure to Transform: High-speed rail and the regeneration myth, Institute of Economic Affairs
The High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill was given a second reading. The Bill was designed to provide the government with the powers required to construct Phase One of a proposed high speed rail network, known as 'High Speed 2', or 'HS2'. Phase One would involve the construction of new railway lines between London and the West Midlands.
Source: High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill, Department for Transport, TSO | Debate 28 April 2014, columns 557-669, House of Commons Hansard, TSO
A report examined the challenges in maximizing the benefits from High Speed 2, a new rail link to connect the north with the south east of England. The report recommended that a growth strategy should be prepared for each area around the HS2 stations, with locally-led delivery bodies supported by a central delivery body, and a government minister with specific responsibility for HS2-related economic growth and regeneration. Two other, related, reports were published around the same time: the background research on benefits maximization that informed this report; and a report from the chair of HS2, outlining progress to date and future plans, including proposals to deliver some elements more quickly.
Source 1: HS2 Growth Taskforce, High Speed 2: Get ready, Department for Transport
Source 2: Maximising the Growth and Regeneration Benefits of HS2: Final report, Atkins
Source 3: David Higgins, HS2 Plus, Department for Transport
An article examined the implications of High Speed Two (a proposed new rail link between the north and south east regions of England) for future growth potential in the United Kingdom, including future rail capacity, national economic growth, and the geographical distribution of growth.
Source: Beth West and Laura Webster, 'What does High Speed Two mean for regeneration and economic development in the UK?', Journal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal, Volume 7 Number 3
A report by a committee of MPs said that safety at level crossings needed to be reviewed and improved, and suggested changes to the ways in which incidents and accidents were handled.
Source: Safety at Level Crossings, Eleventh Report (Session 201314), HC 680, House of Commons Transport Select Committee, TSO
An article examined low-carbon transport initiatives in a Scottish local authority that participated in a European funded pilot project. It said that there were governance, cultural, economic, and policy barriers to the implementation of initiatives. It concluded that it was, however, worthwhile for local authorities to engage in projects that funded pilot carbon reduction initiatives and promoted knowledge exchange.
Source: Elizabeth Tait, Richard Laing, and David Gray, 'Governance and policy challenges of implementing urban low-carbon transport initiatives', Local Economy, Local Economy, Volume 29 Number 1-2
An article examined the meanings of free bus travel for older citizens in London. It said that travelling by bus provided opportunities for meaningful social interaction and avoidance of chronic loneliness, and argued that, where older people had a right to travel on good public transport, it was experienced as a major contributor to well-being.
Source: Judith Green, Alasdair Jones, and Helen Roberts, 'More than A to B: the role of free bus travel for the mobility and wellbeing of older citizens in London', Ageing and Society, Volume 34 Issue 3
An article examined, using English Census data, the impacts of four light rail schemes opened between 1991 and 2001 on car ownership and travel mode along the rail corridors. Despite two schemes achieving and even exceeding the forecast ridership, the proportion of households owning multiple cars increased in the light rail corridors and typically by more than in the control areas. Growing rail shares in the light rail corridors had mainly come from buses, and the evidence for light rail reducing car use was less clear.
Source: Shin Lee and Martyn Senior, 'Do light rail services discourage car ownership and use? Evidence from Census data for four English cities', Journal of Transport Geography, Volume 29
An article said that policies to increase levels of walking and cycling would have limited success unless a range of obstacles were overcome. There needed to be a much more integrated approach to transport policy that combined interventions to make walking and (especially) cycling as risk-free as possible with restrictions on car use and attitudinal shifts in the ways in which motorists viewed other road users. Such policies also needed to be linked to wider social and economic change which, in combination, created an environment where walking or cycling for short trips in urban areas was perceived as the logical and normal means of travel and using the car was viewed as exceptional.
Source: Colin Pooley, Dave Horton, Griet Scheldeman, Caroline Mullen, Tim Jones, Miles Tight, Ann Jopson, and Alison Chisholm, 'Policies for promoting walking and cycling in England: a view from the street', Transport Policy, Volume 27
The government began consultation on proposals to simplify the procedure for setting road tolls on local statutory tolled undertakings in the United Kingdom, such as bridges, tunnels, lifts, and ferry crossings. The consultation would close on 10 April 2014.
Source: Consultation: Simplifying the process for revising tolls at local tolled crossings, Department for Transport
Links: Consultation document
An article said that the receipt and enactment of an entitlement (such as concessionary travel) could contribute to well-being by fostering a sense of community belonging.
Source: Alasdair Jones, Anna Goodman, Helen Roberts, Rebecca Steinbach, and Judith Green, 'Entitlement to concessionary public transport and wellbeing: a qualitative study of young people and older citizens in London, UK', Social Science & Medicine, Volume 91
A report by a committee of MPs said that it welcomed the government's response to its report on the enforcement of parking regulations by local authorities. The report outlined the response and said that the government would now conduct a consultation that referred to to many of the issues raised in the report. The consultation would run until 14th February 2014.
Source: Local Authority Parking Enforcement: Government response to the Committee's Seventh Report of Session 2013ï¿½14, Twelfth Report (Session 201314), HC 970, House of Commons Transport Select Committee, TSO
A new book examined the nature of the transport system in Britain. It outlined past transport policy and the economic, social and environmental costs of a poor transport system, as well as discussing possible solutions.
Source: Jon Shaw and Iain Docherty, The Transport Debate, Policy Press