A new deal for transport: better for everyone - white paper
Chapter 5 - A Shared Responsibility
"For Leon's sake and for the sake of everyone, you can 'do your bit' to make his world- our world - a cleaner, better place in which to live."
Launch of the DETR campaign. March 1998
Partnership for action
Our New Deal for transport, sets the framework for change - but Government cannot achieve this alone. Business, operators, communities and individuals all have a part to play in responding to the challenge. Green transport plans produced by local authorities, businesses, community organisations, schools and hospitals will alert people to the problems and the solutions. We will help to spread information about new ways of working and living which reduce the need to travel and the impact of journeys. Partnership of various forms provides a good means of bringing different interests together.
Partnership in innovation and design
We are keen to work in partnership with vehicle manufacturers and the oil industry to see what more can be done to accelerate the pace of change in vehicle technology and to ensure that there are incentives for people and businesses to buy more fuel efficient, less polluting vehicles. We have set up the Cleaner Vehicles Task Force with senior industry representatives, environmentalists and other organisations to take this forward.
The Task Force aims to promote the production, purchase and use of vehicles which are more fuel efficient, less polluting and quieter and to improve the environmental performance of the existing vehicle fleet. It will be an important source of advice and information for business and the public, educating and raising awareness of the benefits of greener vehicles and considering attitudes towards marketing and advertising of cars.
The Task Force is considering a range of options, including the role of voluntary targets for the purchase of vehicles with lower emissions, the scope for improvements in the enforcement regime and the need for guidance for local authorities. The Task Force expects to publish progress reports as its work develops.
We support the Foresight Vehicle Initiative (developed under the Foresight Programme - see Chapter 4) which aims to promote the development of motor vehicle technology that is significantly more environmentally friendly and capable of meeting mass markets requirements of safety, performance, cost and desirability. There is a close link to the Cleaner Vehicles Task Force and we are supporting a Foresight Vehicle LINK programme which provides for collaborative research with industry in this area.
We will pursue innovation and development in technology in partnership with organisations in the private sector, among charities and with the research community. The sponsorship of LINK programmes is one way of achieving this end. We will also be consulting widely on how the aims and objectives in this White Paper can best be promoted through research and an understanding of likely technology futures. The development of a clear understanding of transport behaviour is essential.
Partnership: to help the motorist
SMMT- Greener Motoring Guide
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has recently launched a Greener Motoring Guide, which encourages drivers to use their cars less, and use them more effectively when they do. Key messages are:
- try to drive less;
- service your vehicle regularly;
- keep an eye on fuel consumption;
- buy cleaner fuels;
- your driving style has a very significant effect on the emissions your car produces.
The campaign will run until October '98. Copies of the booklet will be provided in all new cars until then. They also hope to make copies available in all franchised dealerships as well as through the organisations which have endorsed the guide - Institute of Advanced Motorists, Retail Motor Industry Federation, AA, RAC, BSM and Tesco.
Buying a used car can be fraught with problems for the motorist - ensuring that the car is roadworthy and has not been stolen or 'clocked' can be difficult. The Office of Fair Trading report "Selling Second Hand Cars" (October 1997) recommended a number of measures that would reduce the risks and help the consumer to make the right choice.
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency will consider ways of introducing new services to help the motorist, such as the provision of further information on second-hand vehicles. The Agency will also aim to improve the speed and efficiency of its customer services more generally through further investment in technology.
Working with transport operators
Responses to the consultation from transport operators have shown that they want to work with government to implement the new policy. We share with them the aim of increasing the use of public transport that is safe, environmentally-friendly and meets the needs of their customers. We expect operators to ensure that their services are provided in a way that supports our New Deal for transport.
We need to improve the image of the bus, if we are to attract people who are used to the style and comfort of modern cars. The latest generation of buses demonstrates an increasing recognition of the importance of interior design quality and comfort and the industry is currently investing in new buses at the rate of around £270 million a year - an increase of some 80% in real terms on the level five years ago. We are keen to work with the operating and manufacturing industry to promote high quality design. We want to see a modern bus which is environmentally-friendly and designed to carry people with children and shopping in comfort. We look to the industry to respond to this challenge with a bus designed for the 21st Century.
Working with business
Business more generally has an important stake in the changes we are seeking. We look to business to ensure that it makes the most effective use of transport in a way which supports sustainable development. This means reducing the impact on the environment and helping to reduce congestion.
We are looking to business to be our partners in tackling unemployment and social exclusion through our Welfare to Work programme. This marks our commitment to tackle long term unemployment and includes a New Deal for young unemployed people.
Help with transport costs for participants on the New Deal for 18-24 year olds
One problem faced by unemployed people is the additional transport costs of looking for work. We asked transport operators whether they could help young people on the New Deal for 18-24 year olds. The response has been very encouraging with companies offering a variety of help including:
- at least 50% discounted fares on some travel routes/services;
- a pilot scheme allowing all New Deal participants to travel for a flat rate of 49p;
- up to six free travel to interview journeys per person; and
free fares for all travel to interview journeys followed by free fares for the first month of employment.
We want local authorities to pursue public-private partnerships, where that provides the means of securing best value. In particular, they will want to build and extend partnerships with other authorities, locally and nationally, and with transport operators, including bus and train operators and freight companies, in the form of Quality Partnerships or other arrangements to improve the provision and operation of transport services in their areas.
In this context we welcome initiatives such as the Peak Park Transport Forum's consultation on an integrated transport strategy for the Peak District National Park, which was launched in April 1998. Another example of local partnership is the work done by Cumbria County Council, the National Park Authority, Cumbria Tourist Board and the Countryside Commission to develop a transport strategy for the Lake District. We are looking to work with local partners to see how Government can help to build on this approach.
A shared responsibility: individuals, families and communities
Responsibility for changing travel behaviour will be a shared one. Our new approach will provide more choice about when and how to travel, to support the objectives of reducing congestion and pollution that we all share. But individual choices will be critical to our success in improving the quality of life and the speed at which the benefits will be felt.
This need not mean a dramatic, overnight change in the way we travel. Making one less journey a week or occasionally leaving the car at home and walking or cycling instead, may not seem much to the individual concerned. But when multiplied over and over again, throughout whole communities, the impact will be substantial.
Individual action counts, but working in partnership is also a powerful way to generate ideas, get the most out of resources and secure a wider commitment. Local Agenda 21 actively involves the local community in identifying problems and developing solutions through public discussion and participation. Local communities can come together to work for sustainable transport through Local Agenda 21 and in a variety of practical ways.
We need to change our travel habits if we are to be a healthier and more prosperous nation. To illustrate the changes that can be made, we consider three journey types - getting to work, travel in the course of business and the 'school run'. There are many others.
Journeys to work
How far we travel for work
Major employers can play their part by preparing green commuter plans which help employees to use alternatives to driving to work alone. This can make a major contribution to easing congestion, especially during rush hours. Smaller enterprises may wish to consider what they can do to help.
Green transport plans also address business' transport use and cover travel in the course of business. We will work with local authorities to help them secure widespread voluntary take-up of green transport plans through partnership with business and the wider community. Part of this will involve local authorities leading by example and setting targets in their local transport plans
In preparing their green transport plans, businesses can use the report1 published last year by the Advisory Committee on Business and the Environment (ACBE). This recommended that businesses develop commuter plans and set voluntary targets for reducing single person car commuting. As a guide, ACBE recommends that companies look to reduce by 10% the total number of people commuting to and from work, alone, by car. We will ask the Commission for Integrated Transport to monitor progress on the take-up of green transport plans.
Benefits of a green commuter plan
- strengthens environmental performance and improves environmental image;
- offers substantial savings by reducing the need for workplace parking and releasing land and buildings for more productive uses;
- makes work sites less congested and more accessible for deliveries and visitors and improves relations with neighbours;
- helps staff arrive on time and with less stress by improving travel arrangements;
- attractive benefits and savings for employees enhance the recruitment package;
- promotes equal opportunities by providing travel perks throughout the organisation;
- helps staff to be healthier, fitter and more productive by encouraging exercise.
source: Transport 2000 "Changing journeys to work"2
Partnership can help here, for example where local or regional public transport discounts are made available to organisations which commit to a green transport plan and appoint a staff travel co-ordinator to work on implementing and promoting it.
We will take the lead by introducing green transport plans in all Government Departments and their agencies. These will cover commuting, travel in the course of work, fleet management and influencing suppliers' travel behaviour and should reflect the advice provided in our "Guide to Green Transport Plans". We have set a target that all headquarters buildings and main buildings occupied by Executive Agencies and Government Offices for the Regions should have green transport plans by March 1999 and all other key buildings by March 2000.
Green commuting in practice
Boots green commuting plan:
- aims to reduce car commuting to the company's Beeston site by 10% by 2000 and a further 10% by 2005;
MOD at Abbey Wood Bristol:
- new Procurement Executive HQ includes a new railway station, built in partnership with local authorities;
- a wide range of bus services -50 buses an hour during peak periods and regular buses to the mainline station to London;
- cycle paths and facilities for cyclists - over 300 staff regularly cycle to work;
Birmingham's 'Company Travelwise':
- supported by the Passenger Transport Executive (CENTRO), the City Council and transport operators;
- most of the major local employers say they will join, benefits include:
- discounts on travel passes, bus travel and taxi hire;
- help in negotiating improvements to local services to meet staff needs.
We are particularly keen that hospitals are seen to be taking the lead in changing travel habits. By the very nature of their work, hospitals should be sending the right messages to their communities on acting responsibly on health issues. We would like to see all hospitals producing green transport plans.
Greener business travel: Parkside NHS Trust, London
The Trust has agreed a green business travel policy for all new staff. Features include:
- cycling on business attracts reimbursement at 15p per mile, and walking 7p per mile;
- passenger rate increased from 2p to 10p per mile to encourage car sharing;
- flat mileage rate for cars regardless of engine size, higher mileage rate for Liquid Petroleum Gas vehicles;
- provision of lease cars only for those who drive more than 3,000 miles a year on business, need the security of a car for regular work out of hours or regularly carry heavy equipment;
- examples of good practice like this will be included in the Healthy Hospital Toolkit- a Transport 2000 guide to reducing car trips to NHS facilities.
How far we travel: for shopping and leisure
Industry and business have a substantial impact on travel patterns in the surrounding area but many other organisations also generate large numbers of journeys, including hospitals, and institutions of higher and further education. Travel to leisure facilities and visitor attractions is another important component of overall travel. Reducing car use for access improves relations with neighbours and may be a condition of expansion.
1. Copies available from ACBE Secretariat: 0171 890 6568.
2. "Changing Journeys to Work. An employers guide to green commuter plans." Transport 2000, supported by London First.
Businesses may wish to consider the extent to which teleworking can reduce travel by allowing employees to work at home or at a 'satellite' work centre closer to home. This is relevant to green transport plans, particularly when teleworking can substitute for high-mileage driving patterns. Where staff spend a lot of time driving to clients, or places of inspection, in the course of their work, teleworking also has potential.
We support the use of teleworking for reducing travel, but it can give rise to social and possibly regulatory issues that should be taken into account. The benefits for the environment will also be lower if teleworking is offset by increased car travel from home. It also risks encouraging movement out of towns into the countryside, prompting less sustainable travel patterns overall.
We will therefore focus efforts on communicating best practice and encouraging local authorities to support teleworking (including through the sensitive application of their development control responsibilities), where this will substitute for high mileage car travel.
Teleworking - reducing reliance on the car
- Hertfordshire County Council - developed 'oases', localised workstations, for trading standards officers to cut out journeys to headquarters. Saved 5-8% in travel costs and 7% in car mileage;
- RM Consulting - introduced a pilot scheme in 1995. They now have 145 'location independent workers' hot-desking and much work being done from home. They plan to have 300 by the year 2000. They estimate that over 10% of these workers travel half the mileage they did in 1995. Total mileage reduced by approximately 0.5 million kms;
- ADAS Consulting - introduced IT-based working practices and reduced office sites from 90 to 25. More than 500 staff now work permanently from home and more than 1,200 use internet e-mail systems. Each home-based consultant is estimated to have reduced car use in the course of their work by 2,000 miles a year.
Safer routes to school
We know that the issue of the 'school run' concerns many. The concern goes deeper than a wish to reduce congestion by discouraging parents from taking their children to school by car, although the benefits for the morning rush hour would be considerable. Not walking or cycling to school means that children get much less exercise and builds in car dependency at an early stage in a child's development. These children will find it harder as adults to use cars responsibly and will have fewer opportunities to develop the road sense they need as pedestrians or cyclists.
We understand parents' concerns about the safety of their children and that for many using a car has become the only way to manage a tight schedule. Our policies will help reduce the need for children to be driven to school by encouraging safer routes for walking and cycling, giving greater priority to public transport and, through our planning policies, improving opportunities to get to work, shops and other facilities without having to use the car.
We will continue to take account of transport issues when shaping Government policies which relate to children's journeys to school, for example by developing healthy schools initiatives that include safer routes to schools.
Safer routes to school in St Albans
Two schools in St Albans working on a safe routes to school project, Sandringham Secondary School and Wheatfields Junior have adjacent sites and similar travel problems. They want to improve safety and encourage parents and children to use alternatives to the car for school trips. Results so far include:
- development of a school transport plan, including modal shift targets;
- a new bus service, used by 35-40 pupils a day, including 30 who used to come by car;
- 110 junior pupils trained for on and off road cycling (25% of final junior year now cycle to school);
- two new puffin crossings in place;
- involvement from 50 local volunteers, including escort schemes for children going to school by bus or on foot.
How far we travel: for education
Several local authorities are already doing valuable work aimed at reducing car use for journeys to school. We are providing support in a variety of ways,for example by:
- helping to fund the Sustrans 'Safe Routes to School' demonstration projects in Leeds, York, Colchester and Hampshire. These encourage children to walk or cycle to school;
- funding specific projects in West Sussex, Manchester, Birmingham, Warwickshire and in London
School crossing patrol officers have an important part to play in helping road safety around schools. We will bring forward legislation to strengthen their powers so that they can help children below school age and adults to cross the road. The legislation will also extend the hours during which local authorities can provide school crossing patrols, so that they can tailor provision to local needs.
We will build on the best of current practice and help local authorities, schools, parents and teachers develop a comprehensive approach that reflects local needs and views. Measures that could be considered include escort schemes, before and after school clubs, adjustments to the school day, improvements to local transport services, traffic management and school facilities for cycling. We will take further initiatives to encourage more children to get to school other than by car. These will include:
- setting up a School Travel Advisory Group with Government Departments, local authorities and others to lead the dissemination of best practice and to contribute to the development of policy;
- encouraging local authorities to include measures and targets to reduce car travel to school in local transport plans;
- distributing guidance on best practice for promoting alternatives to the car and on developing green transport plans;
- encouraging schools and local authorities to take account of the transport implications of their educational policies;
- encouraging communities to reduce car use without compromising safety, in ways which actively involve children, school governors, parents and local business;
- securing private sector support for school transport initiatives, building on the recent initiatives to fund computers;
- as announced in the Healthy Schools initiative, including measures to encourage safe alternatives to the car for travel to school in the criteria for the 'Investors in Health - Healthy Schools Award';
- covering school journeys in broader national awareness campaigns.
Conventional public transport cannot always meet the diverse accessibility needs of all in our communities, particularly the needs of disabled people and those who live in remote rural areas.
Voluntary action is a strength of local communities everywhere. In London, for example, it has given rise to an extensive network of transport services run on a voluntary basis for disabled people. We are conducting a review of voluntary and community transport activity. There are already relaxations of the normal rules for bus operator licensing to help non-profit making bodies, especially those who provide 'community' bus services including mini-buses. The review will provide a better understanding of the role played by the voluntary sector and allow us to consider whether policies at local or national level should be changed to enable the voluntary sector to operate more effectively.
Community transport charter
The Community Transport Association and the Transport and General Workers' Union have launched a minimum standards charter, aimed at all those who fund and operate community transport services, both paid and voluntary. Key points are:
- regular training for drivers and assistants;
- assessment of health and safety of workers, including driver stress and fatigue;
- training in safety and help for passengers, especially for children, disabled people and elderly people;
- attention to vehicle safety and maintenance
In the countryside voluntary action has supported flexible and innovative approaches to meeting the increasingly diverse needs of rural communities. In preparing local transport plans, local authorities will need actively to involve their local communities, to ensure the right balance of priorities is struck.
Parish councils in England both through their local knowledge and commitment, and through their new powers to fund transport projects by raising money through a precept on council tax, could be valuable partners in improving local accessibility in rural areas. We would like to see them take an increasing role in community transport - using their powers to survey transport needs and to fund community bus services, car sharing schemes and concessionary fares for taxis.
- owning a car is expensive but individual journeys can seem relatively cheap. Once a car is acquired, it acts as a disincentive to using public transport;
- the 'city car club' is one solution which has proved very successful in Europe. A pilot starts this summer in Edinburgh: ownership and use of cars is shared - to provide a car when it is really needed but avoid unnecessary use. This is different from conventional car hire in that the cars are kept locally and can be used at short notice and for short periods of time;
- experience from Germany is that members of clubs who were previously car owners reduce their mileage by half. City car clubs can also help to reduce pressure for parking spaces.
Many of the more innovative proposals in England have been supported by the Rural Transport Development Fund, which is administered by the Rural Development Commission (RDC). We have increased the level of resources going into the fund but the RDC still has to turn away worthwhile projects.
We intend to build on the success of the Rural Transport Development Fund in England by creating a new Rural Transport Partnership scheme to run alongside. This will help to get extra resources into rural transport where it counts.
The new scheme will enable parish councils and voluntary groups to work in partnership with local authorities. The aim is to support schemes which reduce rural isolation and social exclusion through enhanced access to jobs and services. These will be based on local needs and the local community should participate in their development.
We plan to support the new initiative with £4.2 million a year, additional to the resources for transport already going into the countryside in England. Successful projects will be those that galvanise local initiative and offer the prospect of long term enhancements to the quality of rural transport. A key theme will be better co-ordination of existing voluntary, local authority and commercial services.
Improving rural transport
The Snowdon Sherpa:
- buses can help to reduce traffic congestion in rural 'honeypot' locations. The Snowdon Sherpa in the Snowdonia National Park is one of Britain's longest established national park schemes;
- major factors in its success are close co-operation between Gwynedd Council, the National Park and local operators and good publicity for a network of services;
Moorlands community minibus:
- a self-help project providing a scheduled door-to-door service to help elderly residents reach the services they need or to shop in the nearby towns such as Leek or Ashbourne;
Cheshire Rural Rider:
- provides accessible bus services around Macclesfield, helping rural residents to get to local day centres or nearby towns. It has pioneered the successful integration of local authority social service and public transport responsibilities.
Supporting your local railway
Rural rail services provide an alternative to the car and for some journeys one that is not easily substituted by bus. We consider that many of them are not delivering their full potential, for a variety of reasons. Our proposals for better information for public transport users, for better integration between different forms of transport and for easier ticketing can help encourage more people to use trains in the countryside (see Chapter 3).
We also wish to see more local initiatives, particularly community-rail partnerships, where local businesses get involved in packages to promote leisure and tourism by rail and more regular use by local people. The support of local authorities can also be critical in developing local stations as hubs of economic activity and social interaction.
The Esk Valley Partnership
Focuses on the Middlesbrough-Whitby line and is funded in part by the European Union, local authorities, Regional Railways North East and the Rural Development Commission. Achievements include:
- improved publicity and signposting of stations;
- greater co-operation between rail and bus operators;
- a residents' railcard giving discounted travel;
- on-train events; and
- school and community projects, with 'adoption' of stations by community groups.
The Countryside Commission is running consultancy research to test new ideas for rural interchange sites called 'Staging Points' aimed at bringing transport back to the community. These sites will be places in the countryside and urban fringe with some car parking, such as rail stations, village halls, community centres, leisure and visitor attractions. These places would provide the focus for a greater variety of opportunities to interchange and link to other transport networks might be provided, including the provision of bicycles and better bus and taxi services. Added value will come from community-centred design of transport and from local enterprise services such as home shopping distribution and cycle hire or repair.
Raising awareness and informing choice
We will support individual and community choice by improving information and awareness of the impacts of different ways of travelling. We will promote a climate where the effects of those choices, on the individual, on their environment and on others, are better understood.
Many local authorities have travel 'awareness' campaigns, often with quite limited resources. Their main aim is to increase recognition among local people that there is a need to reduce the environmental impacts of car use. The campaign provides a climate in which specific measures aimed at achieving this, whether voluntary or through regulation or charging, can be accepted. We strongly welcome these initiatives.
Most local authority campaigns are branded under the logo 'TravelWise'. Some local authorities have given particular emphasis to encouraging young people to be environmentally aware; for example, by making the most of opportunities in the school curriculum to consider environmental issues.
Travel awareness campaigns
- TravelWise'-a local authority travel awareness initiative, started by Hertfordshire. Activities include local advertising (local radio, leaflets etc), working through local groups, schools packs, plus public transport travel information. A National Travelwise Association was launched in March;
- 'Don't Choke Britain'-a national campaign held in June each year: encourages car commuters to try something different at least one day a week in June-to use public transport, cycle, walk, share a car or travel at outside the rush hour. Acts as an umbrella for other campaigns including National Bike Week, Walk to School '98, Green Transport Week and the Car Free Day;
- Association for Commuter Transport-develops and promotes sustainable travel initiatives, provides employers with advice, education and training opportunities and a forum for exchanging ideas and best practice.
The results of two EU-funded projects, INPHORMM3 (for which the University of Westminster is project co-ordinator) and CAMPARIE4 (in which Transport and Travel Research (UK) is a partner), will develop our understanding of the effectiveness of local awareness campaigns, and help to get the most out of them. Local authorities' action is given additional weight and impetus through Government funded campaigns at the national level, such as the 'Going for Green' campaign and the 'Are You Doing Your Bit?' campaign launched in March 1998.
Are You Doing Your Bit? by
- leaving your car at home for at least some journeys;
- walking and cycling more and making more use of buses and trains;
- getting a garage to tune your car properly and making sure tyre pressures are correct.
Going for Green
- a Government-supported campaign to inform people of lifestyle changes that can make a difference. It has produced a five point Green Code of steps that everyone can take, including one on transport;
- this year the Green Code is being promoted by 'theme months': 'Travel Sensibly' is in June, when Going for Green plays a key role in the 'Don't Choke Britain' campaign.
We will continue to fund publicity campaigns at the national level to raise awareness of how small changes in personal behaviour and lifestyle can make for a better environment. We will look for fresh ways to highlight the link between individual consumption and the threat to global climate as well as to the quality of the local environment. Campaigns will aim to show that changes in travel behaviour which are good for the environment do not involve lifestyle sacrifices and will stress the personal benefits, including those for health, of using cars less.
A New Direction
The New Deal for Transport will make a big difference to all our lives.
This White Paper signals a new direction for transport in which everyone must play a part if we are to succeed. Many of the changes can start immediately and, as we have illustrated in the examples of good practice, much can be achieved without the need for legislation. Over the longer term, new sources of funding will provide a further impetus to these reforms.
We cannot expect people, business and communities to make changes in their own use of transport if they do not understand what difference it makes. We are committed to the reforms set out in this White Paper and we will publish information on how successful the new approach is, measured against our targets and objectives, over the coming years.
We should not wait another 20 years before reviewing transport policy. The Commission for Integrated Transport will play an important role here - in monitoring progress, in bringing together different interests and in advising on further action in the light of changing circumstances - some of which we cannot now foresee. Through this process, we will be able to update and review the strategy and measures set out in the White Paper in the light of developments, to secure the changes that we all want to see. This will be a vital part of our New Deal for transport.
The New Deal for Transport will make a big difference to all our lives.