INTEGRATED TRANSPORT AND PLANNING NEEDED
Too often, estates are being completed without consideration of walking, cycling, bus or rail connections, and where the car is King. The bus service improvements (if there are any at all) often appear not in accordance with ‘best practice’ – at the occupation of the first new dwelling – but only as the last house is occupied. By that time, the car habit has been well established to the detriment of all sustainable modes of transport while ‘cocking a snook’ at transport guidance contained in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). This is precisely the opposite of what is needed to create communities for children to safely grow, healthily, with opportunities to play outside and eventually to walk or cycle to school. New cross discipline collaborations are emerging in recognition of the need to integrate ‘transport’ and ‘land use planning’.
Transport for New Homes and Transport Action Network Conference on Transport for the South East Draft Strategy
Transport for New Homes (TFNH – See previous post – http://www.transportfornewhomes.org.uk) is a new initiative seeking to integrate transport and planning. The organisation has recently published a useful checklist to help practitioners in each – what should be -closely related discipline to determine the best possible integration ‘on the ground’. You can see it here: TFNH checklist
The principles of ‘Integrated Development Planning’ feature prominently in the report commissioned by SCATE (South Coast Alliance for Transport and Environment). The report is available to view here: Scate New Design Report. The Transport for the South East (TfSE) Draft Strategy has been published and includes many sound principles to which we could sign up – though there are ‘historic’ plans for more road space which must be challenged. Deadline for comments is 10th January, 2020. Transport Action Network held a conference with ‘workshop sessions’ on 16th November at Gatwick to share views on the TfSE Strategy. It was well attended with delegates from all over the south east. A report of the proceedings and views expressed can be viewed here: https://transportactionnetwork.org.uk/take-action/
You can see the TfSE full report here: TfSE-Draft-Transport-Strategy.
Major Developments for Willingdon and Eastbourne – Unexplored Synergies
With major developments pending in Willingdon, and close to Eastbourne town centre at Bedfordwell, Courtlands Road, Waterworks Road, Moy Avenue (4 major sites in total) and in North Bexhill, we hear little of efforts to ensure a primary role for all sustainable transport options and the need to build these in to the design. We think this should be a key consideration at the concept and outline planning stage (a key recommendation of TFNH). This would avoid the inadequate and tokenistic measures which have been past features of the process, bolted on and too late to make the necessary difference essential to meet a wide range of policy goals, including those to mitigate the inevitable effects of climate change. Time is short.
Shortlisted entries into a TfNH run award scheme might give some ideas as to what form new developments might take. Here are some of the selected examples – each to be subjected to the ‘checklist’. Follow link to the shortlist here: …
http://www.transportfornewhomes.org.uk › transport-for-new-homes-award-shortli…
And here are some photos of the four Eastbourne sites (with map below) :
SOME POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS? POINTERS TO THE FUTURE? SUV SALES SURGE
Electric cars – only part of the answer.
As members of SCATE, we are too well aware of the non-stop very vocal commitment of many local politicians to traffic generating major road capacity increases such as the A27/A21 and associated distributor roads, without considering the need for sustainable urban design as an important tool in reducing private motorised traffic (diesel, petrol or electric). In the Eastbourne//Polegate/Hailsham corridor, a much delayed sequence of sustainable transport measures is planned, but it seems out of sequence with the mad rush to develop and actually appears to have been overtaken by development. Close to the town centre, 300 plus dwellings are planned for the four sites mentioned and shown on the map above, but there’s no sign of anyone seeking potential synergies to create pedestrian/cycle/bus links with the town centre or other essential services. This risks accelerated outbreaks of ‘car dependent lifestyle disease’ within walking distance of the town centre. The travel plan we have seen for the BT site clearly includes aspirations for take-up of sustainable modes – but concludes that high levels of parking are needed to prevent ‘pavement parking’, while suggesting that when car trips become slower than walking or cycling, only then will people walk, cycle or use the bus. We can’t, surely, just cross our fingers while congestion worsens, hoping that people will immediately abandon the ‘infinite freedom of motoring’ myths. We should instead quickly create strong incentives for alternatives. Streets are already saturated with vehicles as pictured below – former attractive gardens are now car parks. Would it not be wise to consider the 4 Eastbourne sites as a single entity, increasing the chances of a choice of sustainable modes in getting to town, hospital, school…..?
ROUNDABOUTS: BARRIERS TO WALKING AND CYCLING?
Widespread aggressive and intimidating driving is a huge deterrent to would be pedestrians and cyclists, and highway design often unnecessarily permits such behaviour through wide flared junctions and roundabouts where entry/exit speeds of up to 40mph and higher are possible. In the case of roundabouts, some transport authorities are introducing a design which offers pedestrians and cyclists a segregated pathway – CYCLOPS is the chosen name for the design and here is an illustration:
Roundabouts in need of a redesign include Upper Avenue, District General Hospital and Langney but in reality, it’s a more general problem and audits should be undertaken. Pedestrians and cyclists are deterred by the very real threat posed by speed of vehicles at roundabouts.
TRAFFIC EVAPORATION AND REDUCTION IN ROADSPACE
Wishing that traffic would just evaporate? It does – and here are clues to explain the key to urban utopia!
Hammersmith Bridge across the River Thames has been closed for repairs since April 2019 at which time it was carrying 20,000 vehicles a day. A huge amount of traffic has consequently ‘reassigned’ to alternative routes across the Thames: Chiswick and Kew bridges are carrying an extra 5,000 and 2,000 vehicles respectively while Putney, Wandsworth and Battersea bridges are handling another 7,000 between them (Local Transport Today,784 25th October). Totting this up, have the missing 6,000 vehicles simply disappeared? It could be the same ‘evaporation’ phenomenon that has been observed in other places in the UK and Europe where there have been controversial road closures and where initial strong opposition has itself evaporated. Fears of chaos were shown to be unfounded as the benefits of reduced congestion and fewer vehicles overall became apparent as an improved urban environment was appreciated by the general public. Cambridge, Wolverhampton, Oxford and Vauxhall in the UK and Nuremburg, Ghent and Strasbourg in Europe all experienced the same results. (European Commission case studies 2004 – ISBN92-894-3478-3). The ‘evaporation’ has been partly explained and factors include: drivers not making inessential trips; a switch to available alternatives – including car sharing; appreciation of economies and quality of life in making fewer journeys. There’s a strong suggestion here that reducing road space in whatever way reduces traffic which sounds like good news to us! Can we have more of this medicine? The evidence for ‘traffic evaporation’ has been around for many years but pressure for more road space seems undiminished. That must change. For a start, the promotion of a Lewes to Polegate motorway style A27 highway supported by some out of touch politicians must be a candidate for the award: ‘Scheme most irrelevant to the needs of current and future generations’. (See previous post October, 2018 for TRL Graph showing most effective ways to reduce town centre traffic).
FREEDOM TO DRIVE? FREEDOM FROM THE NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF TRAFFIC?
The first would remove opportunities to enjoy the second, and the second seems to us to be a universal human right delivering environmental, health, economic and social benefits. Politicians are wary of restricting drivers’ freedoms, but often seem to be accepting of the need to do so. Evidence proving the benefits of restricting and therefore reducing traffic is abundant and the huge negative consequences of failing to do so are obvious, not least in the areas of ‘climate change’, public health, degraded living spaces, lost and fragmented habitats, despoiled landscapes and of course obstruction of all sustainable forms of transport. so, come on politicians, don’t keep promising ever more roads with distracting technical fixes because they will deliver nothing less than chaos, destruction and an appalling quality of life for generations.
RECENT RESEARCH, alongside Transport for New Homes checklist:
The Centre for Research into Energy Demand Scenarios (CREDS) report ‘Shifting the Focus’ includes the following:
Until recently, the EU mandatory regulations for new cars would appear to be a
resounding success for CO2 standards. The rate of reduction in official average tailpipe
CO2 values of new passenger cars in the EU increased from roughly 1% per year to more
than 3% per year after their introduction in 2009. However, two factors mean this success is not all that it appears.
Firstly, there has been no improvement in tailpipe emissions in the UK since 2015 and
average level of CO2 emissions of new cars sold in September 2018 was 128.3 gCO2/
km, the highest recorded since July 2013. A switch away from diesel only accounts for a
small proportion of this increase, the main culprit being the swing over the past decade
towards larger passenger cars, particularly SUVs (dual purpose vehicles) while the rest of the market declines (SMMT, 2018). SUVs now account for around a quarter of car sales in the UK with no sign of slowing down. Somewhat shockingly, this proportion holds true for electric vehicles (BEVs – Battery Electric Vehicles + PHEVs – Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles) – 25% of all the 32,048 plug-in cars registered by the end of 2017 comprised one make and model only (Mitsubishi Outlander) – an SUV in the form of a PHEV and one of the most polluting cars on the road when not driven on the electric battery.
Secondly, although the above figures suggest a 30% reduction in tailpipe CO2 emissions
since 2000, these are based on test cycle measurements. In practice, there has only
been an estimated 9% reduction in tailpipe emissions in real-world conditions, and
only 4% since 2010. The performance gap between official and real-world values has
grown over time, standing at 42% in 2016 (Teitge et al, 2017), although this gap has
now stabilised. This gap has effectively negated any reported savings from efficiency
improvements over the past decade.
See the report here: CREDS-Shifting-the-focus-July2019
Figures quoted in the CREDS report quoted from The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) define the ‘Transport Sector’ energy use as 23% attributable to aviation. Of the rest, Cars comprise 60% with HGVs and Vans 17% and 16% respectively and buses just 3%. The BEIS statistics are shown in this graphic:
Energy Use by Sector (CREDS)
If SUVs are the culprits within a larger context of failure to adopt ‘shared owner and ridership’, then they could be banned, at least that’s the (credible) suggestion of Peter Wilby in the New Statesman: SUV Ban P Wilby)
And for starters, maybe an advertising ban too?
Dinosaurs, Giraffes and Elephants (on the Titanic!)
This November saw the launch of a new dinosaur, aka SUV – the £158,000 DBX – from Aston Martin. Targeted at women, and in particular the Chinese market, the launch glossed over the carbon footprint – three times the emissions of a Ford Fiesta. Expect to see a sprinkling of these among the growing number of SUVs appearing in our country lanes, on our roads, and in what were once front gardens. Someone save us from this great waste of resources and degraders of space. Here are some pointers – again from CREDS – to the inefficiency of our car oriented policies:
• The average car is only in-use for 3–4% of the time.26
• Even in the morning peak, the largest proportion of the car fleet in use at any one time is just 15% (see Figure 2).27
• One-third of cars do not move at all in a given day and 8% do not move during a whole week.27
• 62% of car trips are done with a lone driver and the average car occupancy is just 1.55.28
• For commuting trips average car occupancy is only 1.2 which means an estimated 36 million empty car seats every morning on the commute.
• In total, over 2017, 621 billion empty vehicle seats moved around the UK.
• Given the average weight of a car today and the average occupancy levels we estimate that 910 kg of car are used to move every human (the average adult weighing just 76.5 kg).b,29 In pure weight terms, that is more than pulling a giraffe along behind a bicycle and, therefore, this requires substantial energy (CREDS ‘Shared mobility: where now? Where next?’
Energy Consumption in the Transport Sector is 98% dependent on fossil fuels
And the Elephants on the Titanic?
See this interesting and strong presentation by Jillian Anable to the Universities Transport Study Group (UTSG) this July:
Anable_UTSG 2019_Elephants on the Titanic
The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee Report ‘Clean Growth – Technologies for meeting the UK’s emissions reduction targets‘ (July 2019) includes this from the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership:
…….in the long term, “we probably do not want 40 million very large electric cars circulating on our roads in the same way as we have 40 million vehicles currently” and the report itself concludes:
Our objective is not to have a lot of zero-emission vehicles on the road, but to
have zero-emission mobility. That can be delivered through a combination
of buses, cars, small L-category vehicles—not the current type—rail and
trams. We need to deliver a mobility system, not a fleet of vehicles.428
EASTBOURNE BOROUGH PLAN CONSULTATION
This is current with a deadline of 10th January (the same date as the TfSE consultation) and is subtitled ‘Direction of Travel’. CBT E Sussex has submitted comments on ‘transport/land use’ themes covering topics such as: safe walking/cycling routes to services/shops/schools and colleges/health facilities/; School run mayhem/aggressive and intimidating driving styles; travel plan implementation before completion of developments; traffic noise and air poluution; comprehensive, integrated public transport service improvements;pocket parks linked to road closures;housing denisties to support sustainable travel; SUV bans; parking reduction and alternative use of space; restoration of front gardens; pavement parking; measures to secure massive reduction in road casualties.
Here is a link to the documents:
HORSEYE SEWER CYCLE/PEDESTRIAN ROUTE
We keep a regular check on the level of usage of the Lottbridge Drove pedestrian/cycle crossing. In the peak hour 7.45 – 8.45 a consistent level of use appears to hold up through the seasons with almost 100 people walking or cycling via this facility. Figures are sent to East Sussex County Council to amplify the message that this is a valuable facility. Around a third of users of the cycleway are on their way to school with half using the crossing and the remainder travelling to Hampden Park or Ratton. The success needs replicating on a much larger scale with many more supportive measures. But even in this location, a recent report of a car passing the red light and narrowly missing a pedestrian highlights the universal problem of frequent and unchallenged careless, dangerous and intimidating driving styles and endemic bad behaviour such as mobile phone usage by drivers as they drive. The current hostile environment for pedestrians and cyclists must become a thing of the past or the mode shift we seek and which is essential will remain beyond our grasp.
HASTINGS – BODIAM – CRANBROOK SUNDAY BUS STAGECOACH 349
Now into the third year since restoration of the Sunday 349 service, passenger numbers are holding up northbound and southbound with regular users and on two occasions in October and November groups of hikers boarded at Hastings for Bodiam comprising 17 and 27 members respectively. This – and other matters – were discussed at the Hawkhurst Transport Accessibility Group at their AGM and Christmas dinner at the Queen’s Inn, Hawkhurst in early December. This service is reliable and the drivers know their routes well. Unfortunately, the Arriva 5 service has featured breakdowns during the week on its double deckers serving the Sandhurst – Maidstone route. This was reported to Kent County Council officer who attended the meeting. One member suggested that a link to Sissinghurst National Trust castle/gardens should be restored to offer an alternative to the car, and access for all.There are 200,000 visitors a year to this beautiful property. Hawkhurst Village Magazine carried this piece from member Gillian Davis:
EASTBOURNE/HASTINGS HOSPITAL TRANSPORT GROUP
The group continues to meet quarterly and has continued to develop/promote measures to reduce traffic impact with Stagecoach offering staff discounted bus travel and pool cars playing a role in reducing carbon emissions. Cycling and walking route maps are in preparation and a cross site staff shuttle bus service is in advanced stages of discussion with bus operators. It is also hoped to secure a faster public bus link between Eastbourne, Hastings and including Bexhill.
FINALLY, TRAVEL LOG LEWES NEWS will be of interest to many……..
Derrick Coffee, Campaign for Better Transport – East Sussex