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33rd CfIT plenary meeting - 9 September 2004

Minutes

Present:

Professor David Begg (Chair), David Leeder (Vice-Chair).

Commissioners:
Neil Betteridge, Richard Bowker, Garrett Emmerson, Stewart Francis, Peter Hendy, Sir Michael Hodgkinson, Helen Holland, Stephen Joseph, Michael Roberts, Richard Turner.

Speakers:
Dr Kim Howells MP (Item 1), Frank Kelly (Item 3), Jacqui Wilkinson (Item 4).

Observers:
Sir Trevor Chinn (MF Observer), Paul Collins (DfT Observer).

CfIT secretariat:
Grant Allan, Katie Allister, Martin Davies, Catherine De Marco.

Apologies for absence:
Apologies were received from Mike Parker, Sir Roy McNulty, Martin Helm, Archie Robertson, Neil Scales and Sir Bill Morris.

Sir Alistair Morton
There was a moment's silence for Sir Alastair Morton, the former Chair of the SRA and Commission member, who passed away recently.

1. Discussion with Dr Kim Howells MP, Minister of State for Transport

1.1 Kim Howells addressed to the plenary about Government policy. He focused on the low public perception of bus services nationally, and how this has been turned around in London. He was supportive of The Commission's study into the effects of pro bus strategies on local economies. His vision is for decisions to be devolved to the local level with strong leadership from DfT.

2. Minutes and matters arising

2.1 The Commission welcomed Catherine De Marco as a new member of the secretariat in the role of Policy Adviser and Research Manager.

2.2 The Commission discussed investment levels in public transport and the relationship between revenues, return and cost across modes.

Action: David Begg and David Leeder to discuss a major project around the differing external costs of transport, pricing and investment across modes.

3. Discussion with Frank Kelly, DfT Chief Scientific Adviser

3.1 Frank Kelly, the Department's Chief Scientific Adviser, gave a short talk to the Commission, followed by a discussion of the issues raised.

Items discussed included:

3.2 Mr. Kelly was of the opinion that information and communications technology could change the transport experience. He noted that the provision of real time and journey planning information would have large commercial advantages and this would probably lead to it being taken up and disseminated by the commercial sector. The role of the Department should be to lead on the provision of data, in a standardised format enabling this take up.

Action: CfIT to consider setting up a working group on new technology and its impact.

4. Discussion on "soft" measures with Jaqui Wilkinson, DfT Sustainable Travel Team

4.1 Jaqui Wilkinson gave a presentation to members and then led a discussion around 'soft' travel measures (changing travel habits, as opposed to building a larger infrastructure). These measures have a number of advantages - the relatively low cost, the speed in which they can be implemented and their effectiveness in reducing congestion. The report: Smarter choices - Changing the way we travel (DfT, July 2004) noted that £1 spent on soft factors can deliver up to £10 of reduced congestion.

4.2 The discussion then turned to issues of funding for Local Authorities, where it was felt there was a reluctance to spend money on soft factors as the financial support came from revenue funding, which is unyhpothecated, requiring soft factors to compete with other regional priorities. It was felt that there should be strong leadership from the centre on this issue to convince Local Authorities of the importance of soft factors.

Action: Jacqui Wilkinson to make report on soft factors available on LTPN (Local Transport Planning Network) website (www.ltpnetwork.gov.uk).

5. OfT / Competition Commission Issues (CfIT (04) 25)

5.1 Members discussed the paper prepared by TAS Consulting on 'Competition in the Transport Sector'. It was felt that the one core issue that required greater emphasis in the paper prior to publication was advice on 'what to do when there is no capacity for competition?'.

5.2 Members were also updated on the recent CfIT Working Group meeting, which discussed the process issues in the awarding of franchises and the compliance costs related to navigating the OFT/Competition Commission process. A CfIT paper is currently being developed and will form the basis of discussions with Competition Agencies and key stakeholders.

6. Additional points

6.1 The following points were noted:

Action: CfIT to circulate written evidence and to be submitted to members by Monday 13 September.

7. Additional papers

The following papers were noted and approved:

Date of Next Meeting

The next plenary meeting would be held at 9:30am on Thursday 18 November at the Royal Academy of Engineering.

CfIT Secretariat
September 2004