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36th CfIT Plenary Meeting - 17 March 2005


1. Minutes of the Last Meeting and Matters Arising

2. World Cities

3. Local Authority Expenditure

4. DfT PSA Target for Congestion on Strategic Roads

5. Competition Within the Passenger Transport Sector

6. Retail and Leisure Parking

7. Media Update

8. The following papers will be taken as read:



Professor David Begg (Chair)
Sir Trevor Chinn (MF Chair)
Paul Collins (DfT observer)

David Leeder (Vice Chair), John Armitt, Garrett Emmerson, Stewart Francis, Peter Hendy, Sir Michael Hodgkinson, Helen Holland, Stephen Joseph, Sir Bill Morris, Mike Parker, Michael Roberts, Neil Scales, Ros Scott, Richard Turner.

Speakers (item 4):
Steve Gooding, Sarah Thomson, Peter Steele.

CfIT secretariat:
Ben Still, Catherine De Marco, Richard Mace, Grant Allan, Katie Allister, Martin Helm (CfIT Media Adviser).

Apologies for absence:
Apologies were received from Neil Betteridge, Sir Roy McNulty, and Archie Robertson.

1. Minutes 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 Recruitment of the new CfIT Chair:
DfT were in the process of sifting applications and expected to recruit a new CfIT Chair by the end of May. CfIT would not have an officially appointed Chair for a short period of time. David Leeder would act as Chair during the interregnum.

1.3 2005-06 Research Programme:
The next governance board meeting had been scheduled for the end of April/early May, following DfT's strategy away day on 22 April. The away day would focus on long term strategic objectives for transport policy, looking forward to the 30 year horizon. CfIT had held a productive meeting with transport academics in order to help inform the future CfIT work programme. Members agreed that more input from academics could be helpful in refining CfIT's thinking at the beginning of research projects, by drawing out the key issues for consideration in the form of a short essay. It was agreed to use academics to help frame CfIT's next steps in developing the work programme.

Action: Secretariat to circulate a short note of the meeting with academics.

Action: Secretariat to write to stakeholder organisations feeding back on their ideas following agreement of the 2005-06 research programme.

1.4 London Vision Paper:
The Chair was developing a paper examining to what extent best practice in transport delivery in London can be transferred to other towns and cities across the UK. The paper cross-references with CfIT's world cities project and identifies key challenges faced by London to 2020, including future projections on the demand for public transport and the growth in congestion in outer London without some form of demand management. It highlights what can be achieved through integrating transport and land use planning by introducing wider congestion charging to the M25 boundary. The paper deals with a wide range of policy and investment options in addition to charging regimes.

It was estimated that charging in this way would generate large amounts of revenue which could potentially be used in a number of ways, for example to reduce council taxes or business rates as well as investing in public transport. Given the size and policy significance of these revenue streams, CfIT needs to validate these estimates, which have been provided by TfL.

1.5 Members felt that a greater understanding of transport patterns in outer London would help to improve the transferability of best practice in London to other towns and cities. It was agreed that further research on the extent of transferability and implications for freight and business would enhance the evidence base. CfIT would also engage with the London Boroughs and other key stakeholders such as the AA, FTA and CBI. CfIT will need to validate the similarities and differences between travel conditions in suburban London and major provincial centres. Members felt it was inappropriate to publish this work ahead of the likely election, especially when more work was required on the evidence base.

Action: Secretariat to deliver a progress to the May plenary.

2. World Cities

2.1 The World Cities project seeks to make a comparison of transportation systems in several international cities, looking at the differences in their patterns of transport development, the strategies employed to improve transportation patterns and reduce congestion, and the subsequent changes to patronage and mode share.

2.2 Members were presented with the draft research reports for phases one and two, on metropolitan and large urban cities. Members agreed to proceed with publication on the CfIT website.

Action: Secretariat to arrange for publication of the research.

Action: Martin Helm to consider an appropriate media strategy.

3. Local Authority Expenditure

3.1 In December 2003, CfIT commissioned research to provide an objective, robust identification and assessment of Local Authority capital and revenue expenditure on transport-related activities, compared with their allocations received from central Government. In July 2004, CfIT members approved the technical research report produced by PWC/Atkins and agreed to re-establish the Local Authority Expenditure Working Group, increasing its membership, and commissioning it to prepare a CfIT covering report.

3.2 The Working Group had consulted with the Audit Commission, reflecting current proposals for the comprehensive performance assessment process, and had revised the CfIT covering report in line with discussion at the November Plenary. Members agreed to proceed with publication of the research on the CfIT website.

Action: Secretariat to arrange for publication of the research.

4. DfT PSA Target for Congestion on Strategic Roads

4.1 DfT had announced its intention to publish in July a new Public Service Agreement target for congestion on strategic roads. The new target aimed to incentivise improved management of the road network and would provide greater transparency. The Department had undertaken a considerable amount of preparatory work in order to populate the target. The data obtained would provide a useful resource for motorists, assisting with journey planning and improving journey reliability.

4.2 DfT were keen to receive feedback from CfIT members on the preparatory work completed to date. The new target was aimed at focussing more on what matters to motorists, based on journey time reliability. The headline target centred on improving journey reliability by making the worst journeys quicker. DfT had captured congestion data on 100 main corridors at 100 different times of the day. The main indicator populating the target would be the maximum time motorists would need to allow in order to reach their destination 19 out of 20 times.

4.3 Members welcomed the general direction of the work carried out so far, and agreed that the target should focus on improving the worst journeys. It was suggested that indicators must be meaningful to the public, if they are to influence travel behaviour. Members felt that a "9 out of 10" measure would be slightly easier to interpret, and it was suggested that an additional "5 out of 10" (i.e average journey time) indicator would also be helpful for motorists. If possible, it would be helpful for indicators to be comparable across the modes (particularly train journey times).

4.4 Members also felt that further research would be necessary to consider how best to convey this information to motorists in a form that was generally understood by users of the road network. TRL had carried out research in order to gauge the perceptions of transport users, including whether and how people actually interpret timetable information. DfT was doing some work through focus groups on road user perceptions of the journey time reliability information that could flow from the proposed new targets, and would be considering further the wider issues on conveying journey planning information.

4.5 The information collated by DfT also presented potential benefits to businesses and the UK freight industry. Forming a virtual "weather forecast" of journey times across the strategic road network would assist forward planning. Over time, the trends might also assist in calculating optimum sites for warehouses and vehicle depots.

5. Competition Within the Passenger Transport Sector

5.1 In November 2004, CfIT members approved the circulation of a consultation document on competition process issues. This was forwarded to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), the Competition Commission (CC), the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department for Transport (DfT). The paper offered a number of practical proposals which were felt could minimise uncertainty, improve consumer benefits, and create a more transparent and predictable process in considering competition issues.

5.2 CfIT received two responses from the OFT and a response from DTI, encompassing the views of DfT and SRA. The DTI felt that significant changes to OFT processes (e.g. considering each bidders notification, as opposed to their previous process of focussing upon the preferred bidder; increased scope for informal discussions) removed the need to consider further changes. They do however note that there may be advantages to clarifying with the passenger transport industry the opportunities available to them to discuss competition issues with the OFT.

5.3 The OFT response offered three alternative approaches to improving the franchise award process. These are:

5.4 As a course of action, the Secretariat is arranging a meeting between the OFT, Competition Commission, DTI, CfIT working group members to consider the alternative options outlined in the two responses. Members agreed that ongoing dialogue with between CfIT and competition agencies would assist in considering competition issues as they affect transport integration.

Action: Secretariat to analyse the Budget announcement for competition issues.

6. Retail and Leisure Parking

6.1 Members reviewed the draft technical report and CfIT covering reports, which had been produced as a result of CfIT's research to date. There was a general sense that the consultant's technical report was poorly argued and poorly presented to a lay audience and failed to give a clear indication of this important set of problems. The evidence base and linkages between the different elements of this issue was also considered to be weak. Therefore the current draft could not show how the recommendations would address the problems. DfT commented that a greater evidence base would be necessary in order to provide advice to Ministers on retail and leisure parking policy. Members agreed that CfIT's covering report, commenting on the effectiveness of policy surrounding retail and leisure parking and the inherent complexity in understanding the issues, would provide the basis for further research.

Action: CfIT to convene a working group to present a strategy for further research at the May plenary.

7. Media Update

7.1 The Chair had received a number of interview requests following the result of the referendum on congestion charging in Edinburgh, and the implications for the future of charging policies following the "no" result. There had also been considerable media interest in viability of London's transport network, following the visit of the IOC. The Chair had also been interviewed by Jeremy Vine on issues of public transport and climate change. [Paper]


The following items were noted and approved:

9. Any Other Business

9.1 Members were particularly pleased with the quality of CfIT's response to Defra's consultation exercise on climate change. It was agreed that the paper would form the basis for further research in the 2005/06 research programme.

Action: Climate change to be discussed at May plenary.

9.2 Members paid tribute to Professor David Begg's Chairmanship over the last six years and wished him every success in the future. The Chair commented that CfIT was at its best when it focussed on radical, long-term solutions, with its independent stance enabling the Commission to tackle some of the more contentious transport issues dispassionately and practically. CfIT were also a valuable sounding board for new initiatives, such as DfT's congestion measurement work.

Date of Next Meeting

The next plenary meeting would be held at 9:30am on Thursday 19 May.

CfIT Secretariat
March 2005