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31st CfIT plenary meeting - 20 May 2004


1: Minutes of the last meeting and matters arising

2: BWG advice on the future of the bus industry

3: Local Authority Expenditure

4: Road Safety

5: Rail Safety

The following will be taken as read:

6: Ongoing Work

7: CfIT Website

8: Programme Expenditure



Professor David Begg (Chair), Sir Michael Hodgkinson, Helen Holland, Stephen Joseph, David Leeder, Mike Parker, Archie Robertson, Neil Scales, Baroness Ros Scott, Andy Braithwaite, Steve Guyon, Richard Mace, Ciaran McLaughlin (item 3), Andy Southern (item 3).

Apologies for absence:
Apologies were received from Sir Trevor Chinn, Neil Betteridge, Richard Bowker, Lawrence Christensen, Stewart Francis, Lilli Matson, Sir Roy McNulty, Sir Bill Morris and Michael Roberts.

1. Minutes of the last meeting and matters arising

1.1 The minutes of the last meeting were agreed as circulated. All actions had been addressed. The Chair raised the following points under matters arising:

1.2 Attendance of CfIT members at plenaries outside London
Attendance had fallen significantly, due to the extra time commitment required to attend plenaries outside London. It was agreed that all future plenary meetings would be held in London. "Study" visits outside London would be undertaken separately.

1.3 Recruitment of new CfIT members
The contracts of the Vice-Chair, Lawrence Christensen and Lilli Matson would expire at the end of June. DfT were in the process of recruiting a new Vice-Chair and two new members, to be in post for the start of July.

1.4 Fuel duty increase
The Chair had written to the Chancellor, advising him to hold firm on his Budget decision to increase fuel duty in line with inflation - fuel duty will rise by 1.9p a litre on 1 September. The cost of motoring had been falling in real terms over the last 25 years. But over the same period, rail and bus fares had increased by 30 per cent and 36 per cent respectively. Against these trends, it will be very difficult to change people's travel behaviour and encourage them to make less use of their cars, undermining Government targets for countering congestion and global warming.

1.5 Transport skills
Paul Collins, Head of DfT's Strategy and Review Division, intended to present a paper to CfIT on the issue of skills shortages in the transport sector after the plenary.

1.6 Contact programme
The Secretariat had written to paid members, asking them which organisations on the proposed contact list they would like to meet twice a year to discuss CfIT's work programme. Organisations would be allocated to members accordingly.

2. Advice on the future of the bus industry

2.1 CfIT had formed a working group to consider the performance of the bus industry and options for change. Recently, the Commission was asked by the Secretary of State to bring forward this work and provide its advice by the end of May.

2.2 Members considered a draft of the discussion and recommendations arising from the programme of working group meetings. The paper received general agreement from Commission members. Following the plenary, the advice would be further refined in line with members' comments and submitted to the Secretary of State.

Action: Advice to be refined in the light of members' comments and submitted to the Secretary of State.

3. Local authority expenditure

3.1 The local authority survey commissioned by CfIT last year highlighted concerns that a proportion of funding was being diverted away from transport into other priority sectors (e.g. education and social services). The research also reported difficulties with the lack of revenue funding, while capital funding was being under-spent. Therefore, CfIT commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers and Atkins to examine local authority transport related capital and revenue spending.

3.2 Members considered a draft report, presented by the consultants, analysing national datasets available from Government on local authority transport expenditure in order to quantify the key trends.

It was agreed that the data needed further verification. The consultants would review the information collated, before forwarding their findings to the Local Government Association. Once the verification process had been completed, the report would return to the plenary for final agreement.

Action: Data to be verified by the consultants and LGA finance, to return to the July plenary for final agreement.

4. Road Safety

4.1 The Chair and Vice-Chair recently met with the Secretary of State, who was supportive of CfIT's approach to refresh the public debate on road safety. The Chair saw a role for CfIT in promoting the safety benefits of speed cameras and emphasising the 'speed kills' message. DfT, as part of the Road Safety review, had also expressed a wish to work with the Commission in promoting the safety benefits of new technology such as intelligent speed adaptation (ISA). ISA was currently was being tested by Leeds University. Evidence had shown that fatalities could be reduced by up to 46 per cent.

4.2 Members were keen to initiate a survey examining perceptions of speed management measures and future technology measures (such as ISA), from different sectors (e.g. the public as motorists, the public as residents, politicians and media editors). It was intended that the work would be overseen by a working group. A note would be sent to the Governance Board as the detail of the road safety work programme had not been discussed at the previous meeting.

Action: Secretariat to prepare a note to be sent to the Governance Board.

5. Rail Safety

5.1 CfIT produced a rail safety fact sheet when the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) Level 1 was being considered in April 2002. This system would have reduced capacity with the resulting mode shift to road, thus pushing up fatalities. Some time after publication, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) suggested that CfIT may have overestimated mode shift. CfIT agreed to re-examine the research to ensure it was robust.

5.2 The report found that the original conclusions in the fact sheet are valid, with an overall increase in transport fatalities expected to arise from a reduction in rail capacity. However, the original fact sheet did overestimate the number of fatalities, largely as a result of using elasticities that were too high.

5.3 Events have moved on in that ERTMS Level 1 is no longer under consideration. The preferred option of ERTMS Level 2, which increases rail capacity, is likely to reduce road and rail fatalities by 5 per year once fully implemented across the network. It was noted that the safety benefits represent only 2 per cent of the overall benefits. ERTMS Level 2 has performance benefits that result from enhanced capacity.

5.4 The analysis also looked at the benefits of alternative rail investment if the capital costs of ERTMS Level 2 (£2.568bn) were spent elsewhere to improve safety (platform safety measures, improvements to station environment, speed restrictions, new capacity). Overall, ERTMS Level 2 appears relatively good value for money on safety grounds and is a cost-effective way of increasing rail capacity.

5.5 Members agreed that the report and revised fact sheet would be published on the CfIT website in June.

6. The following were noted and approved:

Date of Next Meeting

The next plenary meeting would be held on Thursday 15 July.

CfIT Secretariat
June 2004