Local Transport Today Issue 796

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LTT796 17 April - 30 April 2020


Emergency funding for light rail systems? p4 TransportXtra.com/ltt

UK transport remains in deep freeze as lockdown extended TRAVEL DEMAND

LEGAL RESTRICTIONS on movement were extended for a further three weeks by the Government this week, amid signs they are helping slow the rise in Covid-19 cases. The restrictions on personal movement, introduced in week beginning 23 March, have caused travel demand to collapse. DfT data released this week suggests that rail and Tube use are down by 95 per cent since February. Road traffic is down by

about 60 per cent. Bus use outside London is down by almost 90 per cent, and in the capital by an estimated 80 per cent. Announcing that the movement restrictions will be extended, foreign secretary Dominic Raab, who is standing in for Boris Johnson while he recovers from the virus, said: “There are indications that the measures we have put in place have been successful in slowing down the spread of the virus.” But Raab said the Govern-

ment’s expert advisers thought it was a “mixed and inconsistent picture and, in some settings, infections are still likely to be increasing”. “In sum, the very clear advice we have received is that any change to our social distancing measures now would risk a significant increase in the spread of the virus. That would threaten a second peak, and substantially increase the number of deaths.” As of Thursday [16], 13,729 people in the UK have died after contracting Covid-19.

Although restrictions have been extended, public authorities and transport operators are now planning how transport services should be ramped up as restrictions are eased. London mayor Sadiq Khan this week called for everyone to wear face masks when travelling in the capital. Transport for London may increase the width of footways to help pedestrians keep two metres apart. >> READ MORE? Covid-19 news

pp2-7, 11


9 Edinburgh streets shake-up

5 Covid-19 ‘could change bus franchising debate’

6 Driverless cars: dystopia or utopia?

8 New probe into North’s rail needs

13 John Dales The almost empty A34 trunk road in Oxfordshire

Get building HS2, contractors told HIGH-SPEED RAIL

PREPARATIONS TO begin building the first phase of HS2 commenced this week, as the DfT authorised HS2 Ltd to issue ‘notice to proceed’ to the project’s four main works contractors. Accompanying the announcement, the DfT published a revised business case for the project. But the scheme’s critics quickly branded the analysis worthless, saying it was prepared before the Covid-19 pandemic that will fundamentally alter UK travel demand. HS2 Ltd awarded two-stage design and construction contracts for Phase 1 to four consortia in July 2017 (LTT 21 Jul 17). This week’s announcement allows the consortia to start full detailed design and construction. The consortia are:

• SCS Railways (Skanska Construction UK, Costain, STRABAG AG) • Align JV (Bouygues Travaux Publics SAS, Sir Robert McAlpine and VolkerFitzpatrick) • EKBF JV (Eiffage Genie Civil SA, Kier Infrastructure and Overseas, BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman) • BBV JV (Balfour Beatty Group, VINCI Construction Grands Projets, VINCI Construction UK, VINCI Construction Terrassement) Government company HS2 Ltd said construction would begin “in line with Public Health England advice during the coronavirus outbreak”. Phase 1 will have a staged opening, with services due to commence between Old Oak Common and Birmingham between 2029 and 2033. Up to

six trains an hour could be operate each way during this period. The latest cost estimate range for Phase 1 is £35bn-£45bn (Q3 2019), including contingency. The DfT is proposing a target cost of £40bn. The central case benefit:cost ratio for Phase 1 is 1.2:1, including wider economic impacts. This represents low value for money. The full Y network, comprising all three phases of the scheme (Phase 1, 2a and 2b), has a BCR of 1.5:1 including wider economic impacts, signifying ‘low to medium’ value for money. On Covid-19, the DfT says: “Until new information is available on the potential longer-term impact of Covid-19 on long-term demand and economic growth it is not possible to say whether this will materially impact the value

for money of HS2.” HS2 critic Lord Berkeley said: “The Government giving HS2 the go-ahead at a likely cost of over £50bn for Phase 1 just a day after the OBR suggested that the UK faced the worst recession for 100 years and a forecast drop in GDP of 35 per cent is certainly well timed to get minimal scrutiny.” Stop HS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin said: “One of the certain long-term impacts of the [Covid-19] crisis will be a drop in the demand for long-distance travel, as everyone is realising how well video conferencing actually works. We are certain there will be a legal challenge to this decision.” Full business case: High Speed 2 Phase One is available at http://tinyurl.com/y9or4zvc


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Halt Euston HS2 works until design is settled, says Berkeley

SYPTE likely to take over tram operation

Newcastle-York rail investment proposals

Liverpool to buy hydrogen buses

The UK is ready to take the e-scooter journey to transform city centres

Net Zero requires reappraisal of the road programme: but how?

DfT creates High Speed North company

Plan to relocate Sheffield inner relief road behind rail station

Operators riled as TfGM attaches 11 conditions to tendered services cash

10. Cash to transform Runcorn station link

most read LTT stories on

03 April - 16 April 2020

A deserted Waterloo station

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LTT796 17 April - 30 April 2020

LTT Online Reader Discussion

Pandemic: an opportunity for change – or soon back to normal?


LTT’s first online discussion tackled post-pandemic issues and the prospects for a permanent recasting of the transport landscape. There was quite a range of views and a lively debate ome important and significant observations on the impact of the Covid-19 shutdown on the future of local transport in the short, medium and long terms were generated during LTT’s first online discussion on Thursday 9 April. Forty-eight people joined the 90-minute discussion on Zoom, hosted by LTT editor Andrew Forster and led by five panellists: Professor Peter Jones (University College London); Richard Walker (now seconded from the DfT to the DecarboN8 network team at the Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds); Cliff Edwards (a psychologist and personal and corporate behavioural analyst); Keith Mitchell (regional (UK) director for community development and infrastructure at Stantec) and Lynn Sloman (director, Transport for Quality of Life). Some of the key areas of discussion were: how to rebuild the currently collapsed levels of bus and rail use and the finances of the operators; whether people would seek to resume their old travel patterns after the restriction ends, or adopt modified ones based on their experiences of the lockdown; and whether decisions on transport investment should be reviewed in the light of both behavioural changes and the environmental improvements experienced during the suppressed transport activity. Professor Peter Jones said changes in the areas of economic and social activity where transport’s ‘derived demand’ originated could be significant, and it was important to understand their implications. The travel restrictions were “more liveable with now” than they would have been ten or 20 years ago because of the capability of the Internet and telecommunications and the responsive efficiency of logistics providers, he said. There was probably a lot more online shopping activity going on, and people would be getting more used to that, and new patterns of distribution could significantly reconfigure freight delivery patterns. Meanwhile, the warnings of potential contagion by using public transport might make people more attracted to car journeys. Richard Walker mentioned that the Government’s response to the shock of the lockdown was probably better prepared for in the light of the no-deal Brexit planning that had been going on in the last year or so. Speaking of his new role on secondment as part of the University of Leeds carbon reduction project, he said for years carbon emissions in the UK had not gone down, and “now they have”. There was a need for a “climate-smart recovery” plan to recognise the benefits that had been achieved by reduced transport impacts, and to relate to the Government’s new transport carbon reduction strategy. Psychologist Cliff Edwards described the way people

Roger French showed this Government message as he contributed to the discussion

Some of the contributors to the online discussion ‘on screen’

react to crises and how they change in different ways. Some are keen to revert to their old behaviours, but others are early adopters of change. “Necessity is the mother of invention,” was the adage. Overall, he thought the majority of people would quickly click back into their previous behaviour patterns when the restrictions come off. But there was evidence of people learning new social and technical skills to deal with the current crisis that they would potentially continue to deploy in a new social and economic environment, and some others – albeit a minority – would use this opportunity to rethink their patterns of activity and priorities. Edwards also issued a warning: increasing population densities across the world meant viruses found it easier to spread, and it would be dangerous to assume that the current Covid-19 pandemic would not be followed by another variant. Keith Mitchell said that transport planning professionals had been trying to initiate a changed process of planning and development for years, and now it had happened, but “outside our control”. In the area of land-use, commercial and contractual changes were already underway with those engaged in the sector anticipating a move away from office-based working. “What might that mean?” he asked, “this has speeded up everything”. He foresaw new supply chains to serve locally-sourced retail. All these things could have significant impacts on landuse patterns and transport. He said the DfT should lead a review into what the crisis had brought in terms of travel and transport behaviour. In a later comment, Mitchell said “we’ve shown that much travel is not really essential or necessary”. Lynn Sloman said the upheaval “may change our view of what transport investment is really for”. It had traditionally been about increasing productivity, but she asked if that was the main priority now? Maybe economic resilience was more important, and might that change our priorities? She saw the current situation leading to a reassessment of the public sector’s role and its “crucial” leadership function. “I think the nature of public discourse over the last 20 or 30 years has very much been about government not being able to take on big issues, leaving things to the markets, and I think what’s so abundantly clear from coronavirus is that when you get a real emergency you need

government, you need the public sector to pull everything together. Climate change is a slow motion emergency compared to coronavirus but it is still an emergency, and I suppose in more hopeful moments I think that the lesson that we’re learning about the crucial role of the public sector, and of government, may play through into a legitimisation of a bigger role for government leadership and maybe even a greater confidence from government that if it explains why big changes are necessary, people will understand.” The massive amount of money being spent by the Government to respond to the virus might put transport investment under the spotlight, she thought. Her specific target was the DfT’s enhanced road programme, which was completely inconsistent with the Government’s net zero greenhouse gas emissions target. In the lively discussion that followed, Roger French, secretary of bus managers’ innovation group the Ten Per Cent Club, showed a visual of a Government notice urging people to “avoid public transport” – a message he hadn’t ever expected to see. This message would need a very quick and sharp reversal as restrictions were lifted, he said, or else people would stay in their cars. This could be a real short-term problem for the industry’s finances. He warned that a ‘City view’ of the value of investing in public transport companies and infrastructure could be very negative in the light of recent experience, and the rival opportunities to invest in pharmaceuticals businesses, etc. The discussion turned to roads and streets, and whether the reduced traffic levels presented opportunities to reallocate space away from general traffic towards active travel. Richard Walker quipped “We’ve cleared the streets – now what are we going to do with them?” John Dales thought that responses to the current situation had prompted behavioural changes that could stick, such as people walking to their local high streets. “Let’s build on that. We should prioritise space accordingly, and to help buses in their revival.” The two-metre social separation had shown the lack of capacity for comfortable use of the pavement, and if anything like that were to continue, it meant repurposing streets. “We must think now about how to allocate space going forward.” Roger Geffen, director of policy at Cycling UK, thought lots of new people had taken up cycling during the crisis, and it

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TransportXtra.com/ltt was a good time to introduce new facilities and benefits to lock that in. Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, sounded notes of caution. The professionals taking part in the discussion should recognise the fact they weren’t representative of the wider world and general public, and both in the Government and in wider society there could well be a clear wish to get things “back to normal” as quickly as possible. Some people would be saying, “‘let’s get the traffic moving, and de-restrict parking in our town centres to get people back into the shops’”. “Don’t forget real people,” he urged, suggesting that some professionals might be “entirely expert”, but “completely unpersuasive”. Martin Tugwell, programme director for the England’s Economic Heartland, said: “I just ask what would we do if we were told we could go outside as of now. Are we all content with the style of living that we’ve got right here right now? The vast majority of people are itching to get out. And I think whilst there are elements of what’s changed that we want to try and capture, we mustn’t be naive. We are social animals, we want to move, we want to experience, and that will be retained.” Former DfT chief scientist Professor David Metz said he had been impressed with the way health modelling had been used in the current crisis, describing it as “collaborative, open and crowd-sourced”. There needed to be the same for transport and its modelling methods. At this point Andrew Forster commented on the screen view of the discussion participants, “I haven’t seen so many nods on anything else!” Report compiled by LTT editorial director Peter Stonham

Watch the full discussion – and join our next one You can watch a recording of the full online Zoom discussion by going to TransportXtra.

Our next discussion will take place at 2pm on Friday 24 April.


If you’d like to take part, just register your interest with Tom Daldry at: tom.daldry@landortravelpublications.com or go to TransportXtra.com/events and you will be provided with the necessary access information.

LTT editorial director and Landor Links chairman Peter Stonham concluded last week’s discussion with some thoughts about the pandemic’s implications for his own business. There was a significant impetus to the shift away from traditional publishing concepts, and he felt the online Zoom discussion was a big step for Landor into live broadcasting. It was employing the same technology as broadcasters such as the BBC, who themselves were recasting their production and delivery models to bring together staff working from home and create interactive discussions like this one. He summarised the situation as “significant media convergence”. LTT’s first online discussion was generally very well-received by participants, who willingly overran the original hour time slot by 30 minutes. Forster quipped the event had been “ten times more fun than editing the magazine”. “I’m glad to hear that,” Stonham replied. “I’m sure you’ll be doing more of this kind of activity!” Comments made through the Zoom chat messaging system during the event suggested it had been a worthwhile experience. Transport consultant Ken Lin in New York, messaged: “A great session – but some of the radical changes you’ve been discussing would be unlikely to play over here!”

LTT Online Reader Discussion

We asked one of the discussion contributors to develop his case for reinventing approaches to infrastructure planning

Seize the moment and shift the dial


an Covid-19 be remembered both as a crisis and a turning point? If you were listening to LTT’s unconference last week, ‘What are we learning for the future of transport from the Covid-19 crisis?’, you would be forgiven for thinking that the LTT audience fitted into one of two camps: the overoptimistic idealist who thinks that everyone will see the light and continue their new low carbon lifestyles; and the pessimistic curmudgeon who thinks that the selfish instincts of the human race inevitably means that we will trend back to a carbon intensive way of life. Who’d’ve thought?! But is there a middle way – not of compromise – but of an informed, pragmatic, can-do approach to moving the dial in the right low carbon direction? Let’s hope so. The crisis, (lest we forget – the climate and biodiversity crisis), is too important to leave it to the sceptical curmudgeon or the spirited idealist – we need the informed realists to come to the fore. People who are keen to learn from experience, and ambitious about what we can achieve together if we put our minds to it. There are many and varied predictions about what is going to happen once the Covid-19 crisis is ‘over’ – whenever that may be. What is not disputed is that the economic effects are going to be long and deep. At times of crisis we look to Government to take a lead, but it will be the rebuilding of private sector business that will be critical to the recovery. Already, many businesses are looking for new markets, and making changes to become more competitive – planning how to return to positive growth in the future. Just one example. Many a business has just moved its workforce from being largely officebased to working remotely. They are now paying office rents for vacant desks and are thinking about how this new way of working could provide an opportunity to reduce overheads and improve efficiency. In 2018, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that about 5% of the employed population worked mainly from home and that 16% worked from home or remotely. Some people have estimated that 50% of the workforce can now realistically work from home or remotely for part or all of the time. What might this mean for travel if 50% of all working hours were to be from home or remote? To help understand this, consider the approach of one of the largest global consulting firms, which has had a positive policy towards encouraging working from home for a few years now. Informed intelligence suggests that nearly all of its approximately 12,000 UK employees are part of a remote team and work remotely or from home some of the time. The take-up is greater amongst more senior people – less experienced people more often have constraints on home working space, and feel that they need to interact in the office to build their network. However, a reasonable estimate is that between 60 and 70% of total available working hours are remote, and between 40 and 50% are worked from home. If half of the working population were now to adopt remote working, what impact could this have on current commuting trips? Quite a lot. Perhaps the chances of this happening have just increased because – by necessity – the cultural resistance to home/remote working has just taken a big knock. But this won’t happen by itself. It will need positive planning and investment in IT systems and home working environments. It will

need a sharp focus on team building and communication, and a willingness to move towards managing by output rather than by how many hours you work. More companies are discovering that doing this can be worth the effort – not just through lower overheads, but also by creating a more attractive employee proposition, a more efficient workforce and greater commercial resilience. This is but one possible change that might be driven by business post-Covid-19. But consider what might happen if there was a widespread reduction in demand for office space, and lower commercial rents. Could this see a return of residential conversion of office space, and even reduced pressure for development in the Green Belt? Could this see demand for local work hubs to support an increase in remote working for those who don’t want to work in the home? Indeed, how might this all affect retail – already in the grip of disruptive change – and what does this mean for the future of our high streets? Recent data suggests that the ‘lockdown’ has resulted in an increasing reliance on home delivery, and reports suggest that supply chain resilience is now a key issue for retailers. Some local businesses have seen this as an opportunity, working together to provide local services within their communities – some using digital solutions (such as Near.St) to tackle the global distribution giants. Two contributions from the LTT unconference remain with me. First, Lynn Sloman, director of Transport for Quality of Life, who said that there is a need to change what we see as the purpose of infrastructure investment – away from economic growth and productivity, towards long-term economic resilience. Second, Richard Walker, now seconded from the DfT to the DecarboN8 Network team at the Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds), who talked about the need for a climate-smart recovery. Given the scale of change needed to deliver climate-smart growth, do we really understand how to deliver it? After all, we are the generation that has watched fundamental changes in travel behaviour take place amongst the younger generation over the last 20 years, and yet have done little to change our approach to infrastructure investment. A few months ago, at an RTPI Transport Planning Network event, Professor Phil Goodwin made the prophetic observation that the urgency of the climate crisis now required us to recognise that continued increases in consumption are unsustainable, and that we can no longer leave radical behaviour change to the next generation – we need to make change happen amongst our own generation. Well that opportunity is here now. Step forward you informed realists. n Keith Mitchell is regional (UK) director for community development and infrastructure at consultant Stantec.

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LTT796 17 April - 30 April 2020

4 News: Covid-19

In Brief

Users may shun bus & rail for long spell Covid-19 could have a long-term impact on public transport use, particularly if the virus remains a threat after the lockdown period ends. Officers told West Yorkshire Combined Authority this week that the area’s remaining bus and rail services, still running to provide a service for key workers, were carrying about ten per cent of their usual ridership. “The longer term impact on people’s willingness to use public transport, and consequential impact on the challenges of modal shift, is still to be determined,” they added.

Superbus bidding process delayed Covid-19 has prompted the DfT to delay the bidding process for the £70m Superbus fund. The funding competition, announced in February, will deliver packages of measures such as bus priority, fare caps, and increased service frequencies, in three local authorities (LTT 07 Feb). The bidding process for the All-Electric Bus Town and the Rural Mobility Fund, announced at the same time as Superbus, are proceeding as planned.

Brown delays his departure from TfL London transport commissioner Mike Brown has delayed his departure from Transport for London, to see the organisation through the Covid-19 pandemic. Brown had been due to leave next month to become chair of the Delivery Authority for the Restoration & Renewal of the Houses of Parliament.

Virus ‘will hit project delivery spend’ The West Yorkshire Combined Authority has asked the DfT to support revised timetables for project delivery because of Covid-19. “It is very likely that [capital] spend for 2020/21 will be lower than was originally expected,” said Craig Taylor, WYCA’s head of portfolio management office, in a report to councillors last week. He said the combined authority and member councils were actually exploring if some road traffic projects could be accelerated, to take advantage of the low traffic levels. Many projects were, however, likely to be delayed because of a lack of materials, said Taylor. In addition, “a number of projects are currently being tendered and there are reports of contractors not willing to tender in the current climate”. Some projects were also likely to be delayed because their progress depends on public consultation that cannot currently take place.

Treasury studies DfT’s case for light rail emergency cash pot


THE TREASURY is considering whether to financially support light rail and tram systems in England outside London that have been hit by massive passenger losses because of Covid-19. LTT understands that the DfT has prepared a case for emergency support and is awaiting a response from the Treasury. The need for a fund was highlighted earlier this month by the Urban Transport Group, which represents seven public authorities: Transport for the West Midlands; Transport for Greater Manchester; Merseytravel; Nexus; South Yorkshire PTE; West Yorkshire Combined Authority; and Transport for London. (LTT 03 Apr). TfWM, TfGM, and Nexus all take the revenue risk on their light rail/metro systems. Stagecoach takes the revenue risk on the South Yorkshire Supertram. Any emergency support package would also apply to tram systems in Blackpool and Nottingham. The question of financial support for Transport for

Metrolink revenues help pay off the borrowing for system expansion

London, whose Covid-19 financial losses are much greater than other urban transport authorities, is the subject of separate Government deliberations. Urban Transport Group director Jonathan Bray said the UTG’s six members outside London were seeing a combined loss of income of “tens of millions a month”. “This does not include additional expenditure costs and risks of Merseytravel exposure on the devolved Merseyrail Electrics franchise,” he said.

“On public health grounds we have done everything we can to discourage unnecessary use of our tram and light rail systems and as a result patronage has plummeted and, as a consequence, so has revenue,” said the UTG. Noting that the DfT is funding the revenue losses on the rail network, it pointed out that some of its members’ light rail and metro systems directly replaced heavy rail services – for instance, much of the Tyne and Wear network and parts of Greater Manchester ’s Metrolink network. The ten Greater Manchester local authorities use Metrolink fare revenues to pay off the borrowing that has financed the system’s expansion. The UTG is also keen to open talks with the Government about changing the deadlines and conditions attached to the various local transport grant funding streams. Local transport is funded through a huge range of grants, including: Local Growth Fund (nearing its end); Transforming Cities Fund; Housing Infrastructure Fund; the Large

Local Majors fund; the Major Road Network fund; various bus funds; clean air funds; and funds for electric vehicle chargepoints. The UTG says Covid-19 will cause members to pause work on projects, not only because of the lockdown but because “the scale of the crisis means some projects are going to be less immediately relevant”. “The Government should urgently review (and in a coordinated way) the conditions and deadlines attached to the many different funding streams that transport authorities are currently subject to,” it said. “This is with a view to relaxing those conditions in order to allow authorities to direct funding where it will have the most impact in addressing the immediate impact as well as the recovery from, and legacy of, Covid-19.” The UTG has urged the Government not to reduce urban transport funding. “The cost of dealing with this immediate crisis should not mean sacrificing our ability to invest and support the transport policies, programmes and projects that remain essential to addressing these objectives.”

Emergency fund for airports unravels


THE GOVERNMENT appears to have abandoned proposals for an emergency fund to help the UK aviation sector through the Covid-19 pandemic. On 17 March, as the economic disruption caused by Covid-19 was becoming apparent, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “In the coming days, my colleague the secretary of state for transport [Grant Shapps] and I will discuss a potential support package for specifically airlines and airports.” On 24 March, however, Sunak informed the aviation industry that there would be no specific fund for the sector. He said the Government expected “all companies to be pursuing all possible actions to preserve cash and maximise liquidity, including engaging with shareholders, lenders and the markets, and utilising all available assets and facilities”. “Given the significant importance of the aviation sector to our economy and economic recovery, the Government is prepared to enter negotiations with individual companies seeking bespoke

support as a last resort, having exhausted other options,” said Sunak. “However, further taxpayer support would only be possible if all commercial avenues have been fully explored, including raising further capital from existing investors.” LTT understands that Sunak’s letter came as a shock to the DfT, which had been confident that any aviation deal would include funding support for UK airports. It is unclear why the airports deal collapsed. One source told LTT that the problem arose with airlines. Media reports on 20 March that Easyjet would go ahead with paying a £174m dividend to shareholders may have coloured the Government’s judgment. The foreign ownership of airlines may also have complicated matters and airlines had different views on a support package. Airports were “collateral damage” in the failure of the airlines and Government to reach agreement, said the source. The collapse in air travel poses severe financial difficulties for many UK airports. The Welsh Government has

allowed Cardiff Airport, which it owns, to repurpose a portion of a £21.2m loan to help the airport deal with the “early impacts” of the virus and “maintain solvency”. The loan was initially made last year to support the airport’s growth. Transport minister Ken Skates said the UK Government should come forward with emergency funding for regional airports across the UK. “Our support from the Welsh Government is a short-term solution for the airport and this is not a sustainable position,” he said. “The UK Government has the key lead in supporting the aviation industry and must change its policy towards further financial help for regional airports.” But, with the idea of a dedicated aviation sector deal now apparently dead, Airlines UK, the Airport Operators Association, and industry body ADS, are trying to persuade the Government to amend its general support schemes to make them more useful to the aviation sector. Among actions they want to see is the Government to extend the business rate relief for retail,

leisure and hospitality to include aviation in England and Wales. The Scottish Government has already done this. The bodies also want the Government to extend beyond May the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, whereby the Government will fund 80 per cent of employees’ usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month. The bodies expect the aviation sector’s recovery to be long and slow, since it relies on international travel restrictions being lifted and consumer confidence returning to visit popular destinations such as Italy and Spain, which have been badly hit by the virus. Huge numbers of staff in the aviation sector have been furloughed as companies cut costs. Carlisle & Lake District Airport has closed completely until further notice. Cornwall Airport Newquay, Teesside International Airport, and London City are all closed to passenger flights. Heathrow has closed one runway and Manchester, Birmingham and Gatwick are operating from only one terminal.

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News: Covid-19 5

Covid-19 ‘could alter the terms of UK bus franchising debate’


COVID-19 COULD alter the debate about bus franchising, according to a consultant. The industry in England had appeared to be on the verge of a renaissance before the virus struck, with the Government announcing new funding streams such as for bus priority, ‘Superbus’ networks, demand responsive transport, and also promising a national bus strategy. But Matthew Moll, a senior consultant with the TAS Partnership, said the economic damage caused by Covid-19 and the consequent movement restrictions would “probably null and void” the forthcoming strategy. In a blog post, he said there was huge uncertainty about how many passengers will return to buses when movement restrictions are eased. “A large proportion of the population is now working from home and whilst some will be glad to go back to their office when it is all over, others may stay at home even if just for part

Franchising: will mayor’s want the burden of a troubled industry?

of the week. Will people flock back to the high street, cinemas and nightlife, or will this be the final nail in their coffins?” Moll said that, in the most optimistic scenario, near normality is restored quickly and bus patronage bounces back. But the bus industry would still suffer. “The likely impact will be the use of the money set aside by the DfT for electric bus towns etc. to instead compensate bus operators for the loss in revenue” [Since Moll wrote his blog the Superbus fund has been delayed but the electric bus town competition is continuing – Ed]. “This will mean the structure of the bus industry stays the

same but the money earmarked for boosting patronage will no longer be there. “Local authorities are likely to have little spare cash to spend on improving bus priority measures and infrastructure, whilst operators might be less willing to invest in new vehicles given their financial position; indeed, both First and Stagecoach have already said capital expenditure is likely to be the first casualty of the current crisis.” Turning to a more pessimistic scenario, Moll said: “At the other extreme we might have an industry on its knees with only a proportion of pre-crisis patronage returning. Even if 80 per cent of

the patronage returns it will have a massive impact on the future sustainability of the bus industry. “This could result in the view of operators to franchising changing. The big groups might start to support the plans of the metro mayors and others to take over control of the network. “It would mean that instead of fighting for survival as traffic generators fail to return, they could get a guaranteed profit margin and let the combined authorities worry about the lack of passengers and revenue.” Moll said that, in this scenario, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and mayors elsewhere, would be able to gain control of the bus industry without opposition. “But would they still want it?” he asked. “If the traffic generators for bus fail to fully return it is likely that this will be mirrored on the other forms of local transport. “Would Greater Manchester Combined Authority want to carry the burden of supporting the bus network whilst having to deal with a lack of passengers on Metrolink?”

Slump in car trips hits Footway widening to town hall coffers aid social distancing?


COVID-19 COULD cost councils much more than the amount of emergency support the Government has made available to them. Surrey County Council estimates that the virus will cost it £61.4m in the first half of 2020/21. This includes additional expenditure, a shortfall in income, and £18m of budgeted efficiencies that are unlikely to be realised. Surrey received £25.2m from the Government’s £1.6bn emergency funding for councils in England that was announced in

Parking: lost income

March. Of this, £1.4bn was based on the adult social care funding formula and the remaining £0.2bn on general need. Car parking is one of the big income losses for councils. Many have suspended on-street and offstreet charges and far fewer motorists are using car parks anyway because of the movement restrictions imposed on the public by the Government. Surrey may waive parking charges for a period after the Covid-19 restrictions end. It says a car parking charge “amnesty” for shoppers/residents for a period after Covid-19 would support the “revitalisation of our high streets and retail centres”. Brighton & Hove City Council had budgeted for on- and offstreet parking income of £39.5m in 2020/21 but Covid-19 will reduce this substantially. Neighbouring East Sussex County Council has deferred planned increases to on-street pay and display and permit charges that were due for implementation on 27 April until at least 1 July. The changes were expected to generate an extra £2.0m a year.


TRANSPORT FOR London may reallocate roadspace to pedestrians to help with Covid-19 social distancing policies. Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner, said: “We are looking at the busiest parts of our road network to see where we can give people walking more space. We

are [also] looking to adjust traffic signals to make it easier for people to cross while still enabling critical workers to use the road network easily.” Norman said TfL and City Hall would work with London boroughs who wanted to reduce traffic on residential streets “as long as this does not hinder the emergency services or other essential journeys”.

Wear face mask when travelling, says Khan


PEOPLE SHOULD be advised to wear face masks when travelling in London, Sadiq Khan said this week. The mayor believes masks could help reduce the spread of Covid-19. The BBC quoted him saying: “The evidence around the world is that this is effective. I’m lobbying our Government and advisers to change their advice, and I want us to do that sooner rather

than later. They are already reviewing this on the basis of our representation.” The Government’s social distancing guidelines do not currently mention face masks. Although there is a debate about how effective masks are at reducing the risk of contracting the virus, some health experts say the bigger benefit comes from reducing the risk of a carrier spreading the infection.

Local Transport Today provides fortnightly coverage of the total urban and regional UK transport scene from the viewpoint of planners, policy makers, traffic engineers, analysts, investors and managers of resources involved. Editorial Office Apollo House 359 Kennington Lane London SE11 5QY. Tel: 0207 091 7875 Email: ed.ltt@landor.co.uk Publisher/Editorial Director Peter Stonham Editor Andrew Forster Design & Production natalie.clarke@landor.co.uk Managing Director Rod Fletcher

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LTT796 17 April - 30 April 2020

6 News

In Brief

WYCA audits CO2 impact of projects The West Yorkshire Combined Authority is procuring consultants to develop a method for assessing the carbon dioxide emissions from all of the CA’s proposed transport projects. Craig Taylor, WYCA’s head of portfolio management office, told councillors that the assessment tool would “allow the combined authority to map and detail the emissions footprint of the 180+ projects in the West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund and Leeds City Region Local Growth Fund pipeline”. “This will ensure that the business cases for these reflect the Leeds City Region climate emergency and that we can evidence that they will reduce carbon emissions (both directly and indirectly).” A consultant was due to be appointed by the end of March. The technical work should be completed by September.

Surrey explores low emission zones Surrey County Council plans to explore the case for low emission zones, to help it meet its net zero greenhouse gas emissions target. The council plans to spend £100,000 in 2020/21 exploring the idea. It also plans to spend £500,000 on 80 on-street fast charge points. Surrey wants to reduce its own emissions to net zero by 2030 and the area’s emissions to net zero by 2050. “Currently, 46 per cent of Surrey’s emissions come from the transport sector and transport represents Surrey’s biggest challenge in the journey to become a net zero carbon county,” says the council. Surrey has a high dependency on car use, with 86 per cent of households owning a car, compared to 73 per cent nationally.

All-electric bus fleet for Exeter? Devon County Council is putting forward Exeter to the DfT’s £50m All-Electric Bus Town competition. The competition was announced in February (LTT 07 Feb).

Plan for Northants unitaries progresses Northamptonshire’s two new unitary authorities will be legally established next year, despite the cancellation of next month’s local elections. North and West Northamptonshire will replace the two-tier structure of Northamptonshire County Council and district/borough councils. Elections to the new authorities have been postponed until next May but Simon Clarke, minister for regional growth and local government, said: “Steps are in place to ensure that the current plan for the new authorities to the legally established in April 2021 can proceed.”

Travel demand in week 4 of Covid-19 lockdown

Travel demand in the UK this week continued at historically unprecedented low levels as people obeyed the legal restrictions on movement imposed to combat the spread of Covid-19.

The restrictions were introduced on 23 March and took legal effect on 26 March. Emergency powers make it an offence for any person to leave their home without “reasonable excuse”.

Exceptions include: to obtain basic necessities; to exercise; to seek medical assistance; and to travel for work if it is not possible to work from home.

Driverless cars: dystopian or utopian? DRIVERLESS CARS

THE GOVERNMENT will have to carefully regulate driverless cars to ensure they serve public interests, transport professionals have said. The message is contained in a report summarising six workshops organised by Glenn Lyons, the Mott MacDonald professor of future mobility at the University of the West of England, working with Landor Links. The events brought together driverless car evangelists, opponents and agnostics, and were branded ‘Driverless cars emulsion’ because, say the organisers, like oil and water, driverless car advocates and critics seldom mix. The focus was on fully autonomous cars (Level 5 on the Society of Automotive Engineers’ scale) and the premise was that these would form a significant part of the transport system in 2050. Sub-groups in the workshops considered what a utopian and a dystopian future of driverless cars might look like. Participants then considered how society could transition to these futures and suggested principles for ensuring a move towards utopia. Characteristics of “plausible utopias” included: reduced urban parking provision; improved public realm; “fit for purpose” vehicle designs; inclusive mobility; improved road safety; electric mobility; reduced private vehicle ownership; pricing for demand management; and strong public sector governance. Dystopian thinking came “easily” to participants, says the report. “Knowledge of existing problems with, and consequences of, the mobility system readily fuelled contemplation of the plausibility of dystopian futures significantly defined by driverless cars, in which unsatisfactory aspects of today’s mobility system persist or are exacerbated.” The characteristics of “plausible dystopias” included: increased social inequality; trans-

port systems vulnerable to disruption; the erosion of public transport; less active travel; streetspace reclaimed for cars; more urban sprawl; large corporations in control; transport sector unemployment; an unequal geographic coverage of driverless cars; increased energy demands; private ownership of driverless cars; and more traffic. Participants considered how current developments in policy and society could contribute to these contrasting futures. Developments contributing towards the utopian outlook included: a greater focus on active travel; more micromobility modes; more compact settlement patterns; falling levels of car ownership; heightened concern and action on climate change; and growing distrust of technology companies. Developments heading society towards the dystopian future included: rising populism and a declining trust in experts; the growing gig economy; increasing corporate power; low levels of regulation; rival and incompatible technology platforms; a focus on technology means rather than societal ends; low levels of land-use/transport planning integration; more road building; and low levels of investment in active travel and public transport. Some people’s views of driverless cars were changed by the workshop experience. “People changed their initial views in the course of dialogue with others – some haters became more positive, while some lovers reduced their confidence.” Overall, “over twice as many of our participants had become more negative than had become more positive about the proposition ‘Driverless cars are a great opportunity for society’”. The report suggests ten principles for driverless car policy. “To address them all effectively will require a new strength of public sector governance that surpasses much to date,” it says. “The private sector alone

cannot deliver a fair system of services, but the public sector must support change too.” A “cornerstone” of driverless car use is that the safety of every road user should “demonstrably improve”. “This must be a shared goal of all those involved in driverless car design, development and operation.” Driverless cars “should be designed, priced and introduced to support rather than detract from greater social inclusion”. Through their design and operation, they should “significantly contribute to improving air quality and reducing carbon emissions”. Workshop participants saw compatability between driverless cars and a nationwide system of mobility pricing. “The provision and usage of driverless cars should fit within a system of variable pricing for mobility, enabling public sector influence over the market,” says the report. The workshop organisers would have liked stronger representation from the technology companies involved in driverless car developments. “As a self-selecting group of participants it was recognised that there are many others involved with examining the prospects of driverless cars who would have benefitted, and brought benefit, from participating – particularly the ‘new tech people’ who are entering the transport sector with their ideas for solutions, and indeed the incumbent car manufacturers. It was not for want of trying that tech industry representation was conspicuous by its absence (seemingly not an uncommon problem).” The event sponsors were: Mott MacDonald, UWE, the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation; Transport for Greater Manchester; Transport for West Midlands; Transport Scotland; Leeds City Council; and the Urban Transport Group. Driverless cars – a great opportunity for society? is available at https://tinyurl.com/yb4aq8ek

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News 7

In Brief

Operators and councils get to grips with Covid-19 bus grant


by Andrew Forster

THE DFT has written to local authorities and bus operators in England (outside London) explaining how the £166.8m of emergency funding for the bus industry will be distributed. The Covid-19 Bus Services Support Grant (CBSSG) will fund the reduced bus networks operating across the country during the movement restrictions imposed by the Government to slow the spread of the virus. The 12-week grant is capped at £166.8m. The majority is being paid to bus operators (‘Commercial CBSSG’) but £21.5m will go to local authorities to cover revenue shortfalls on supported services. The DfT believes the operator payments should be sufficient to deliver up to 50 per cent of scheduled commercial mileage. “If a local transport authority and operator jointly agree that capacity to provide a service level of less than 40 per cent of scheduled commercial mileage is

required, a joint letter justifying this position from the authority and relevant operators must be sent to the DfT,” explains Catriona Henderson, deputy director of the Department’s buses and taxis division. “Operators will still receive CBSSG under these circumstances.” Henderson reminds operators that a condition of the grant is that they accept English National Concessionary Travel Scheme passes before the statutory start time of 9.30am on weekdays and “on the basis that local transport authorities maintain concessionary travel reimbursement at pre-COVID levels”. The first four-week payments to operators will be based on the following three-step formula: • 2017/18 commercial BSOG live kms / 52 multiplied by 4 • multiplied by the percentage of the service level operated • multiplied by £1.0051 (this being the CBSSG rate per km). From the second four-week period, payments will be adjusted to reflect the actual level of service each operator

provides, removing the 2017/18 historic data from the formula. The CBSSG payment rate of £1.0051/km will also be adjusted in the second four-week payment by comparing patronage in that month against average patronage before COVID-19. The first monthly payment assumes patronage and fare receipt revenue is 5 per cent of pre-outbreak levels. Operators will be able to request a review of their grant payment if they believe it is at least 20 per cent less than the level required to provide the required level of sufficient capacity, “and that this will likely lead to the operator entering financial distress”. Operators “will not be permitted to achieve an operational margin through CBSSG funding”. They must supply the DfT with extensive data and participate in an “open-book reconciliation exercise”. The three-month grant will be reviewed at monthly intervals to ensure it aligns with the Govern-

ment’s policy on movement restrictions. Local transport authorities will receive monthly payments of their share of the grant. Individual authority allocations have been calculated based on historic supported service mileage, with a top-up for rural areas. The DfT is paying Transport for Greater Manchester both forms of CBSSG because it already handles all Bus Service Operator Grant payments under the devolution agreement struck with the Government. TfGM’s share of commercial CBSSG will be £3.3m for the first four weeks. CBSSG comes on top of the DfT continuing to pay Bus Service Operators Grant on the basis of estimated service levels before the virus outbreak. The DfT has also requested that councils continue to pay operators for tendered services, concessionary fares reimbursement and home-to-school transport at the levels before the virus affected service provision and patronage (LTT 03 Apr).

Half of Clean Air Zones delayed to 2021 public stay at home AIR QUALITY


ALMOST HALF of people taking part in a travel survey made no trips by car, bus or train in the early stage of the Government’s Covid-19 movement restrictions. Transport Focus contacted 15,808 people on its Transport User Panel on 2 April to ask about their travel in the last seven days. Responses were received from 5,791 panellists. Forty-six per cent said they had not made a journey using car/van, bus or train. When asked why, 88 per cent said they had been following the Government’s instruction not to travel and 22 per cent said they had no reason to make a journey. Of the 54 per cent who had made a journey by these modes, 80 per cent did so by car/van, 20 per cent by bus, and seven per cent by train. The main reasons for trips were shopping (77 per cent), work (21 per cent), and caring for friends/relatives (17 per cent).

THE GOVERNMENT has delayed the introduction of clean air zones in Birmingham and Leeds until 2021 because of Covid-19. The cities had planned to introduce their CAZs this summer. Business organisations such as the Freight Transport Association had been lobbying for a delay.

Environment minister Rebecca Pow has now written to the FTA to say that the CAZs will not be implemented until at least January next year. Natalie Chapman, the FTA’s head of urban policy, welcomed the news. “With the industry focusing all its attention on ensuring the public, supermarkets and other retailers continue to receive the essential items they need

during the pandemic, logistics businesses simply do not have the resources to dedicate to preparing for the imminent introduction of CAZs. “In addition, supplies of technology, equipment and trucks are being disrupted by the pandemic, making it harder for businesses to upgrade their fleets to meet the emission standards required of the schemes.”

Khan delays lorry safety scheme LONDON

ENFORCEMENT OF London’s new Direct Vision Standard (DVS), which aims to reduce accidents between lorries and vulnerable road users, has been delayed by four months because of Covid-19. So too has the tightening of the capital-wide low emission zone standards. Enforcement of the DVS was due to start on 26 October. Anyone caught driving an HGV within Greater London without a valid HGV safety permit (free on application) will receive a penalty charge notice of up to £550. The DVS will still become legally enforceable on 26 October but London mayor

Sadiq Khan has asked that no enforcement takes place until at least the end of February, with the date remaining under review. The tightening of the LEZ standards had also been due to be implemented in October. This too has been suspended for at least four months. Khan said the delays would enable the freight industry to concentrate on core operations during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Freight Transport Association welcomed the announcement. Natalie Chapman, its head of urban policy, said: “Logistics businesses are having to give their complete attention to the urgent task of keeping goods moving

across London throughout the Covid-19 outbreak; there is simply no time, resource or funding for them to undertake the significant work needed to prepare their fleets for the arrival of DVS and the tightening of the LEZ.” She said both schemes might have to be delayed further. “Whilst the announced delay will give welcome relief to logistics operators, a longer period is likely to be needed for businesses to adjust.” The LEZ, the central London ultra-low emission zone, and the central London congestion charge are all currently suspended because of Covid-19 (LTT 03 Apr).

Capital transport worker fatalities rise Twenty-six employees of Transport for London and its contracted operators have died after contracting Covid-19, TfL reported this week. Bus workers account for 20 of the deaths. Of the remainder, three worked for London Underground, one for TfL head office, one for London Trams, and one was a contractor.

TfL trials ban on front door bus boarding Transport for London is trialling banning passenger boarding through the front doors of buses to reduce the risk of bus drivers being exposed to Covid-19. The trial of boarding through the door in the middle of the vehicle began last week on several Abellio routes that operate out of the Walworth bus garage in south London. Across the London bus fleet, TfL has installed clear film to cover holes in the drivers’ protective screen, and installed signs discouraging the use of seats near the driver.

No change given on Brighton buses Brighton & Hove Buses has stopped giving change to passengers paying by cash, citing the danger of passing on Covid19. The operator is encouraging people to pay the correct amount or use a contactless card or mobile phone.

Google issues mobility reports Google has released trip data reports from countries around the world, showing how Covid-19 and governments’ responses to the virus have affected travel demand. The reports present aggregated, anonymised data from smartphone users who have turned on their location history setting. Data for the UK is broken down by local authority area, though data for conurbations are not disaggregated further. The data is being released weekly and compares the latest trips against a baseline of the median data from 3 January to the 6 February. Trips are classified into six categories: retail/recreation); grocery/pharmacy; parks (including places such as beaches, plazas); transit stations (subway, bus and train stations); workplace; and residential. All categories show big reductions with the exception of residential, which have risen, though the reports do not actually explain what is being measured in the “residential” category. Covid-19 community mobility reports are available at https://tinyurl.com/tvkeeuk

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LTT796 17 April - 30 April 2020

8 News

Bucks HS2 station resurfaces


THE IDEA of an HS2 station in Buckinghamshire may return to the planning agenda. The station site would be close to the village of Calvert, where the proposed East-West Rail line from Oxford to Bletchley will cross the London-West Midlands high-speed line. The National Infrastructure Commission considered a station in its work on the Oxford to Cambridge Arc. The final report published in 2017 did not mention it, but did float the possibility of building a major new “city-scale” development between Bicester and Bletchley, where Calvert is situated (LTT 24 Nov 17). Now the idea of an HS2 station has resurfaced in Doug Oakervee’s review of HS2, published in February. It said: “The DfT should consider making passive provision for a future HS2 station near to Calvert. If it is decided that an HS2 station should be built, passive provision will help prevent any disruption to HS2 services. “There could be merit in developing an HS2 station in the future here if local plans support a significant residential and commercial development in this region, and if there is passenger demand to justify the cost of developing a station here,” said Oakervee. The cost of developing the station could be shared with others “including potentially the East West Rail Company”, he suggested.

In Brief

Covid-19 hits NR’s delivery plan The Office of Rail and Road has waived the requirement for Network Rail to make its delivery plan for 2020/21 publicly available because of Covid-19. “We recognise that Network Rail’s plans and targets will be significantly affected by current events and are expected to require review and reprioritisation,” says Carl Hetherington, the ORR’s deputy director for railway markets and economics, in a letter to Charles Robarts, Network Rail’s director of planning and regulation. NR was required to submit detailed plans for 2020/21 to the ORR, the DfT and Transport Scotland by 31 March, but on the understanding that they will require revision and will not therefore be made public.

NIC calls for evidence on rail needs of Midlands and North


THE NATIONAL Infrastructure Commission (NIC) is seeking views about the rail needs of the Midlands, North of England and cross-border routes into Scotland. The evidence will inform the NIC’s assessment that will, in turn, inform the Government’s rail plan for the Midlands and the North. The Prime Minister announced the preparation of the plan alongside the decision to proceed with HS2 in February (LTT 21 Feb). The plan will consider the most effective scoping, phasing and sequencing of HS2 Phase 2b, Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR), the Midlands Rail Hub projects and other rail investments in the area. The interaction between HS2, NPR, and the Midlands Connect rail plans was discussed by Doug Oakervee’s review of HS2 for the Government, which was also published in February. Oakervee said the current NPR proposal makes use of up to 69 miles of the proposed HS2 Phase 2b (Crewe-Manchester and West Midlands-West Yorkshire) routes. Meanwhile, Midlands Connect

wants to make use of the eastern leg of HS2 for proposed Birmingham-Nottingham and BedfordLeeds services. HS2 will also release existing capacity in the Midlands, allowing local connectivity to be improved. This could benefit Midlands Connect’s Midlands Rail Hub proposals. Said Oakervee: “It is unlikely that an optimal solution providing maximum benefits to the Midlands and the North of England will be possible unless the various plans (NPR, Midlands Engine Rail and HS2) are developed in an integrated way.” Discussing HS2 Phase 2b specifically, he recommended that the Hybrid Bill preparations be paused. “It would be worthwhile considering how best to break the current proposal down into parts and deliver sectors sequentially as they become ready ... integrated with the conventional rail network and with NPR and Midlands Engine Rail proposals.” Oakervee also recommended that the DfT consider reducing train frequencies on HS2 Phase 1 to 14 trains per hour, with passive provision for 16. One way in which this change could be achieved, he said, would

be by deferring construction of the connection between HS2 Phase 2b and the existing railway at Church Fenton, east of Leeds. This would remove York and Newcastle from the HS2 network. “Analysis of this scenario indicates that, while there would be cost savings, benefits and revenues would also fall,

although the overall impact on the benefit:cost ratio for the full HS2 network would be relatively small (a reduction ... of 0.1 to 0.2).” Rail needs assessment for the Midlands and the North – call for evidence is available at https://tinyurl.com/s9f654r

Questions, questions The questions posed by the NIC in its call for evidence include: • What potential investments should be in scope of the assessment? • Which set of rail investments do you believe would, together, best unlock capacity within the Midlands and the North, and best improve connectivity? • Which individual investment(s) should be the highest priority? • What supporting policies need to be in place to deliver the benefits? • What impact would the investments have on greenhouse gas emissions?

• What are the potential environmental effects (positive and negative) of the investments? • What broader impacts on people’s quality of life could the investments have? • How would the costs and benefits of the investments be distributed economically, socially and geographically? • Which set of investments would best improve rail connectivity with Scotland? • What would be the impact of the investments on international connectivity across the Midlands and the North? The call for evidence closes on 29 May.

Euston developer Funds sought for two rejects Berkeley claim Devon rail revivals RAIL

THE COMPANY appointed to oversee the redevelopment of Euston station and its surroundings has rejected Lord Berkeley’s claim that the firm may walk away from the project. Lendlease was appointed development partner for Euston in 2018, with a view to delivering the redevelopment of 54 hectares of land after construction to accommodate HS2 services is completed (LTT 05 Mar 18). Berkeley, a critic of the HS2 project, wrote to HS2 minister Andrew Stephenson last month saying word had reached him that Lendlease “wishes to terminate its development agreement on the grounds of engineering design uncertainty and escalating cost” (LTT 03 Apr). But Lendlease has told LTT that Berkeley’s claim was “not correct”. A spokeswoman added: “Investment in major infrastructure unlocks enormous opportunities for regeneration, economic and social benefits

within the local Euston area, across London and the wider UK. We look forward to learning more about the Government's plans and will continue to work with our partners, including the wider community, to progress this unique opportunity.” Doug Oakervee’s review of HS2 for the Government, published in February, said the existing HS2 plans for Euston were “not satisfactory”. “Historically, there has been limited joined-up thinking between HS2 Ltd and Network Rail to optimise the railway design to minimise both risk and cost,” he said. “Euston should be viewed as one station and not the two at present to ensure it is delivered in a cost-efficient and passenger-friendly way. “In essence, there needs to be a single plan for the overall Euston project and a single organisation responsible for the overall development of the project.” The Government has accepted Oakervee’s recommendation that HS2 Ltd should not lead the project.


TWO SECTIONS of a longclosed railway through north Devon are candidates for reopening to passengers via the Government’s new Restoring Your Railway fund. The Exeter to Plymouth line through north Devon was severed in the 1960s by the closure of the central section. The western end between Plymouth and Bere Alston remained open as part of the Gunnislake branch. The eastern end remained open to just beyond Okehampton for freight. The DfT’s new grant has three streams: an ideas fund for early stage proposals; an accelerating existing proposals stream; and a new stations fund (LTT 21 Feb). Devon County Council has applied to the accelerating existing proposals stream for funding towards relaying the railway between Bere Alston and the town of Tavistock. Meanwhile, Dave Black, Devon’s head of planning, transportation and the environment,

Tavistock: rail connection?

told councillors: “It is understood that Great Western Railway are working with the DfT to progress the reopening of the Okehampton to Exeter rail line.” Repeated calls have been made to restore the whole line, not least to create a diversionary route to the existing line from Exeter to Plymouth along the south coast, which can be disrupted by storms. Work started last June on the first stage of an £80m project to build a new, larger sea wall at Dawlish.

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News 9

Edinburgh approves major shake-up to city centre streets


by Andrew Forster

A £16M project to give pedestrians and cyclists more space at the expense of vehicular traffic in central Edinburgh city centre has moved a step closer after councillors authorised the commencement of statutory processes. The Meadows to George Street project covers the streets between the Meadows public park, south of the city centre, and George Street in the city’s New Town to the north. The corridor links the city’s Old and New Town areas across the Waverley Valley and a number of visitor attractions lie on it, or close to it, including: the National Gallery, National Museum, National Library, Greyfriars Bobby, The Royal Mile and Princes Street. Many of the University of Edinburgh’s buildings are located near the Meadows. A two-way segregated cycle path will be installed along the corridor, and footways will be widened in places, such as on George IV Bridge. End-to-end general traffic will be banned. Edinburgh’s leadership advisory panel, a committee set up to take decisions during the Covid19 restrictions, has now approved the start of statutory procedures for the Traffic Regulation Orders and Redetermination Order to deliver the project. Transport and environment convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “The Meadows to George Street project will deliver a significantly improved environment for pedestrians and cyclists as part of the Edinburgh City Centre Transformation project. Not only will this encourage active travel along a key route but

The corridor, showing some of the proposed changes (image reproduced courtesy of City of Edinburgh Council and AECOM)

it will result in a more relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.” The segregated cycle path will vary in width between 2.5 and three metres. At George Street it will connect up with a proposed segregated east-west cycle route on the south side of the street. This is part of the council’s separate £20m George Street and First New Town project. Edinburgh says banning through general traffic on the George Street to Meadows corridor is necessary to allow the cycle path to be installed on the narrow Bank Street, at the top of the Mound on the approach to the Royal Mile junction. The cycle

path here will narrow the remaining carriageway to such an extent that an alternating one-way traffic flow will operate, controlled by traffic signals. Only buses, taxis and vehicles requiring local access will be permitted. On George VI Bridge, two of the four lanes for general traffic will be removed, reducing the carriageway width to 6.5 metres. Footways on both sides of the street will be widened to more than six metres. ‘Floating’ bus stops, whereby the cycle path passes round the back of a stop, will be installed at some locations along the corridor. Zebra crossings will give pedes-

trians priority when crossing the cycle path to/from the bus stop. More seating areas and planting will be installed in places. The proposals also affect Market Street, which runs from a junction on the Mound down to Waverley Bridge and on along the south side of Waverley station. The street will be closed to through traffic between Cockburn Street (at Waverley Bridge) and Jeffrey Street further east, with camera enforcement. The council says this will reduce footway overcrowding. Blue Badge holders will continue to be able to drop-off and pick-up at the Market Street entrance to Waverley station. Drop-off for general traffic will still be available on Calton Road on the north side of the station, or further east on Market Street. The council is still considering design changes to Market Street between the Mound and Waverley Bridge, to improve cycle connectivity to the station. This is part of a wider project studying active travel connections across the Waverley Valley, including Waverley Bridge, East Princes Street, North Bridge and a possible new walking and cycling bridge over Waverley Station. The George Street to Meadows works have an estimated construction cost of £15.9m, up from the £13.8m reported in January 2019. The figures do not include the works on Market Street, on which design work is continuing. Transport Scotland is contributing 55 per cent of project costs via the Sustrans Places for Everyone fund. The remaining 45 per cent comes from the council’s active travel budget. Construction is planned to commence in 2022. Consultant AECOM has led the project design.

Scots council capital funding allocated


THE SCOTTISH Government has announced how £15m of additional active travel expenditure will be shared by councils in 2020/21. The increase to the ringfenced capital grant is overshadowed, however, by a sharp fall in capital grant for local authorities overall. The capital grant for councils falls from £1.092bn in 2019/20 to £778m in 2020/21. Much of the grant ringfenced for specific purposes. The amount of general

capital grant has been cut from £712m to £468m. The top five allocations of the general grant are to: • Glasgow £50.7m (down from £80.6m in 2019/20) • Edinburgh £38.1m (down from £59.2m) • North Ayrshire £27.5m (up from £18.2m) • Aberdeenshire £26.3m (down from £37.6m) • Highland £24.9m (down from £37.7m) Dundee sees its general capital grant more than halved, from

£30.7m in 2019/20 to £14.9m in 2020/21. Aberdeen’s falls from £27.9m to £18.5m. Ringfenced capital grants fall from £357m to £295m. Most are not for transport. One that is, the Cycling, Walking and Safer Streets (CWSS) fund, will have a baseline value of £8.9m in 2020/21, the same as in 2019/20. Glasgow is the only authority to receive more than £1m of it (£1.02m). Edinburgh receives £851,000. In addition, the Scottish Government has agreed a £15m

one-off top-up to CWSS in 2020/21. This is the result of budget negotiations between the SNP administration and the Green Party, whose support the SNP needed to pass the budget in Parliament. Three authorities receive more than £1m of the £15m pot: Glasgow (£1.7m), Edinburgh (£1.4m), and Fife (£1.0m). Other allocations include £938,000 for North Lanarkshire, £880,000 for South Lanarkshire, £628,000 for Aberdeen, and £410,000 for Dundee.

Car clubs drop plug-in hybrids


A BIG fall in the number of plugin hybrid cars within Scotland’s car club fleet is reported by shared mobility charity CoMoUK in its annual survey of Scotland. The survey records 488 car club cars in Scotland. The proportion that were plug-in hybrid fell from 26 per cent in 2018/19 to just two per cent in 2019/20. The proportion of petrol hybrids rose from eight per cent to 31 per cent. Battery electric cars went up from 14 to 15 per cent. “Feedback from operators suggests the shift from plug-in to petrol hybrids in the fleet is a result of issues with EV charging, either infrastructure problems, or members not charging correctly, which impacts customer experience,” says CoMoUK. Membership has risen from 19,872 in 2018/19 to 25,193, broken down by 14,117 individual members and 11,076 through corporate schemes. The two main operators in Scotland are Enterprise Car Club and Co-wheels. The report also covers data from three community car clubs.

In Brief

Ebike hire tender for Inverness The Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership is tendering a design, installation, operation and maintenance contract for an Ebike share scheme in Inverness. The three-year contract is supported by funding from the Scottish Government and an Interreg North Sea Region Programme project.

Regional spatial planning reviewed The Scottish Land Commission has appointed Edinburgh-based planning consultant LUC to prepare a report on the international experience of regional landuse planning. The £24,722 contract will: identify and examine examples of regional land-use planning; assess their strengths and weaknesses; and consider lessons for regional land-use partnerships and plans in Scotland. The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 places a duty on Scottish local authorities to work together to prepare regional spatial strategies. These will help inform the Government’s National Planning Framework document.

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LTT796 17 April - 30 April 2020

10 News

Barriers used to cut Red Route abuse TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT

LUTON BOROUGH Council has had to install physical barriers on a road to ensure that drivers observe red route no stopping restrictions. Councillors this month approved the making of red routes permanent on Old Airport Way and in the town centre, following their introduction using experimental traffic regulation orders in late 2018/early 2019 respectively. Old Airport Way is on the approach to Luton Airport. Many motorists continued stopping to drop-off passengers after the red route was implemented. The council put up posters to discourage them and last November installed temporary barriers at the worst affected locations. The actions appear to have worked. Penalty charge notices issued on this road climbed to 1,611 for the period July to September last year but had fallen to just 90 in the period 1 January to 20 March. PCNs issued for the town centre red routes peaked at 2,254 in April to June 2019, falling to 1,426 in October to December. The council says the red routes have reduced inconsiderate and illegal parking. But none of the three bus operators in the town – Arriva, Grant Palmer, or Centrebus – think the red routes have eased congestion or encouraged modal shift to buses, according to a review of the schemes by consultant the Project Centre.

In Brief

Early release signals for Pompey cyclists Portsmouth City Council is planning to install early release low level traffic signals for cyclists at road junctions across the council area during 2020/21. The council also plans to start delivery of the city’s first “dedicated, continuous cycle facility”, a 2.3-mile route between Fratton Way roundabout and the Hard Interchange via the city centre. This will take three years to build.

‘Use virus to rethink future of Oxfordshire’s development’


LOCAL AUTHORITIES in Oxfordshire should take the opportunity created by the Covid19 pandemic to rethink the county’s spatial development, a group of academics and retired local government officers has said. POETS (Planning Oxfordshire’s Environment & Transport Sustainably) has written to local MPs and councillors urging them to abandon plans to build thousands of new homes in car-based developments and associated road infrastructure. Chris Cousins of POETS said: “One lesson from the Covid-19 pandemic is that early action in response to the scientific evidence provides the best basis for bringing the crisis under control. There are parallels here with the climate emergency.

Coming soon: more greenfield development

“One of the unlooked for benefits of the current crisis is the dramatic reduction in air pollution as traffic levels have fallen. It gives a glimpse of the future that could be achieved with sustained investment in public transport, walking and cycling. “The last thing we should be doing when this crisis is over is embarking on major new road

construction, reducing biodiversity, or planning new development that can only be served by car. “Some believe Oxfordshire’s interests are best served by ‘growth’ – economic growth as measured by gross domestic product (GDP). This is the thinking behind the ‘Oxford Cambridge Arc’ – a shaky notion supposedly built on linking two university cities, but seemingly designed to further overheat the South East economy at the expense of other regions and the environment. “GDP has never been a good measure of the wellbeing of society or the environment. However, it is potentially disastrous in the face of a climate emergency, when increased use of fossil fuels and the resulting rise in carbon emissions count towards GDP growth.”

Demanding an end to “anyplace” sprawl, it says: “The focus should be on access over mobility – convenient access to the goods and services people need locally, rather than promoting everincreasing levels of movement. In general, proposals for increasing road capacity on new or existing roads should be abandoned.” POETS says councils are currently “patently unable to maintain the county’s existing infrastructure, with a massive and growing backlog”. “The Oxfordshire Growth Board has estimated that its plans require £9bn spending on new infrastructure, much of it for new roads. So far, only a tiny fraction of this has been secured.” A vision for Oxfordshire’s future is available at https://tinyurl.com/semvxym

Bucks permit charges Devon rejects lighting anger utility firms for rural roundabout


BUCKINGHAMSHIRE COUNTY Council has rejected utility company criticisms of the decision to introduce charges for streetworks permits on all roads in the county. Buckinghamshire’s permit scheme currently applies to all traffic sensitive streets and non traffic sensitive streets defined as reinstatement category 0, 1 or 2. This amounts to about 564 miles (28 per cent) of the county’s 2,026 miles of road. On all other roads a noticing system applies, whereby works promoters only have to inform the council of their intention to carry out works. Buckinghamshire’s streetworks team receives an average of 27 permit applications a day and 121 notices. Councillors have now approved plans to extend permitting to all roads and for a charge to be made for all permits. A 30 per cent discount on the permit fee will, however, apply in certain circumstances, including where activities are carried out outside traffic sensitive times, and for works undertaken in collaboration with other works promoters. Utility companies have criticised the council’s decision not to issue permits for free on less busy streets.

Responding to a consultation on the proposals, Openreach, part of BT Group, pointed to DfT guidance stating: “Unless there is a very strong benefit case otherwise, it is strongly recommended that permit fees are only applied to the more strategically significant roads: category 1, 2 roads and traffic sensitive street roads. This will mean that although permits would still be required for works on non-strategic routes, it should be very unlikely that these works would attract a permit fee. These permit applications would receive only ‘notice’ equivalent treatment by the authority.” Energy company SSE said: “Whilst we agree moving to all permits is required, we are disappointed you are charging for permits on non-traffic sensitive streets, especially as you state you are going to use an automated process.” Buckinghamshire has responded saying: “There is a clear benefit for requiring permits of category 3 and 4 [non-traffic sensitive] roads and charging a fee to cover the costs of additional resources to co-ordinate these activities.” Buckinghamshire calculates the benefits of the permit scheme at £1.332bn against costs of £22.2m, resulting in a Net Present Value (NPV) of £1.309bn and benefit:cost ratio of 60:1.


DEVON COUNTY Council is to leave a new rural roundabout unlit, saying the environmental benefits of doing so outweigh any possible road safety benefits of lighting. The council has received £2.2m from the DfT’s Road Safety Fund for improvements to the east-west A3123 in the north of the county. The fund was established to improve conditions on the 50 most dangerous A roads in England identified by the Road Safety Foundation. The A3123 had 27 collisions between 2012 and 2016. Devon says three accident clusters exist because of poorly aligned junctions. At one site, Lynton Cross, the council will replace the junction with a four-arm roundabout. A briefing paper prepared by the council’s road safety team notes that the Highways England’s Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB) says streetlighting should be provided on all roundabouts. “The primary application of DMRB is on the high volume high-speed strategic road network,” said officers. “[But] it is often used as a baseline for lower volume rural roads in Devon. Currently there is very little, if any, recent research into the difference between lit and

unlit roundabouts in rural areas.” Devon has studied accident rates at 11 unlit roundabouts elsewhere in the county. “Unlit roundabouts were found to have a slightly elevated darkness collision percentage (33 per cent) compared to a selection of lit roundabouts in Devon (25 per cent) and national collisions at all roundabouts (26 per cent),” said officers. “The number of killed and serious darkness collisions at unlit roundabouts was lower (eight per cent) than at lit (13 per cent) and nationally at rural roundabouts (14 per cent).” The paper adds: “Having no street lighting at all on a new rural roundabout where the circumstances suggest that it is an appropriate design would accord with the need to balance road safety and key environmental policies.” Dave Black, Devon’s head of planning, transportation and environment, told councillors: “The likelihood of an accident occurring at such a rural roundabout is low and the difference between lit and unlit is small and the severity may be slightly lower.” Leaving the roundabout unlit would “minimise the ecological impact on the adjacent English meadow, take account of the dark skies in the rural area, and have minimum ongoing carbon requirements”.

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News 11


Stagecoach sets out strategy to cope with bus use collapse BUSES

STAGECOACH HAS furloughed more than half its drivers and engineering staff outside London to reduce costs during the Covid-19 lockdown. About 55 per cent of drivers and engineering staff in its regional bus business have been placed on the Government’s Coronavirus job retention scheme that sees the state cover 80 per cent of employees’ usual monthly wage costs. Other bus operators are thought to have furloughed similar proportions of their staff but have not gone public with the figures. Operators have slashed services in response to an unprecedented collapse in demand, with the Government ordering people to stay at home unless absolutely necessary. Stagecoach revenues on regional bus were about 15 per cent of normal in early April. The operator initially cut vehicle mileage to about 50 per cent of normal and expected this to drop

to about 40 per cent in week commencing 7 April. The megabus.com intercity coach network was suspended in England and Wales on 5 April but continues to run in Scotland. Revenues at South Yorkshire Supertram are around ten per cent of normal levels and vehicle mileage is around 30 per cent. Stagecoach has discussed with local authorities the possibility of ceasing operations altogether. Stagecoach has also revealed the impact of Covid-19 on its investment plans. The operator had planned to make cash capital expenditure of circa £105m and enter circa £38m of new leases in 2020/21. The new plan will see these cut to circa £40m of cash capital expenditure and circa £20m of new leases. The operator said: “The scaleddown plans reflect vehicles ordered that are either already built or largely built, vehicles required for new London bus contracts secured, electrical infrastructure work required for new London bus contracts

secured, the completion of some ongoing land and buildings work, and a reduced spend on technology and change projects.” Stagecoach said it had about £506m of available cash and undrawn, committed bank facilities, though £94m of this is for outstanding net rail liabilities. Covid-19 caused a big drop in public transport operators’ share prices. Stagecoach shares were worth 75.5p on Thursday (16 April), up from a low of 57.5p on 18 March but still far below the 164p at the beginning of the year. The company has explained the actions it is taking to help key workers get to/from work. In London, it is working with TfL to run dedicated shuttles for NHS staff working at the new 4,000bed Nightingale emergency hospital in Docklands (as of this week, the facility had seen only a handful of patients). Dedicated bus services for NHS staff are operating at the Hull Royal Infirmary; Kings Mill Hospital in Mansfield; and the Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital

in Grimsby. NHS workers can receive discounted tickets in and around Aberdeen. Free travel on a dial-abus service is available for NHS staff in the Inverness area going to or from Raigmore Hospital and New Craigs between 7-10pm. In Glasgow, Stagecoach and McGill’s are offering inter-operable ticketing on their routes between Glasgow and the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. Stagecoach is offering free travel to NHS workers in South Wales as part of the Welsh Government’s bus support package. Free travel is available for NHS workers at the Royal Devon Hospital. Discounted fares are available for NHS staff at Southmead Hospital in North Bristol and NHS staff in Gloucestershire. Stagecoach has extended the 14/14A route in Oxford to a temporary parking facility for staff at the John Radcliffe Hospital. In Teesside, the Tees Flex demand responsive buses are being kept on standby to help with patient transport services.

Covid-19 puts two bus Virus hits work by firms in administration transport tech firms


TWO BUS operators have ceased trading, citing Covid-19 as a contributory factor. Swallow Coaches, based in Rainham, which operated tendered services for Essex County Council, posted a notice on its website announcing that the company would be passed to administrators after the close of business on 31 March. It operated routes 13, 61 and 133 under contract to Essex County Council. The company said the decision “was not taken lightly”. “However, given the current situation with coronavirus and the renewal of our insurances due on 1 April, we feel the decision has been made for us.” In West Yorkshire, Halifaxbased TJ Walsh has gone into administration. The Halifax Courier reported managing director Neil Walsh saying the business had suffered in recent years from rival FirstGroup “over-bussing” routes and discounting fares, as well as a low reimbursement for concessionary

travel of 79p per passholder. This meant the operator had for the last few years “only just been trading and keeping employees in work, but has been unable to build up cash reserves to help in times of crisis”. Covid-19 dealt the knockout blow. “There is an irony that we had just applied for and been told we were successful in a bid to run three additional tendered services for the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and that would have helped to increase our cash reserves,” said Walsh. “Obviously these are not being awarded now in this time of crisis.” Walsh said he had considered a temporary cessation of services and putting staff on furlough, with the Government paying 80 per cent of an employee’s wage costs up to £2,500 a month. “This at first seemed like a possibility but with little or no cash reserves still means that by the time it is implemented we will have had to pay weeks of wages until it is reclaimed.” The operator would still have had to pay overheads too, he pointed out.


TRANSPORT TECHNOLOGY firms have reported a fall in business because of Covid-19. ITS (UK) surveyed its members on behalf of the DfT, which is gauging the transport sector’s challenges. Three-quarters of respondents had lost some business, with work put on hold and contract awards deferred. A third have furloughed staff or cut pay. A tenth were “very worried” about the future, but more than half were confident their business would return to normal. ITS (UK) held a webinar to discuss Covid-19’s impact. Peter Eccleson, owner of Smart Video and Sensing, which supplies detection and sensing solutions to the transportation and security sectors, said all his staff had been furloughed. “All the work that we had in the pipeline, which is primarily around installation work, has been put on hold. From a sales perspective, we were constantly visiting local authorities and government bodies, we can’t do that either. So that’s meant that basically the business has ground

to a halt.” While welcoming the Government’s furlough scheme, other support was not turning out to be useful, he said. “The banks are saying you’re eligible for the business interruption loan scheme as long as you can prove to us that your business is viable in four months’ time when you’ve had no revenue. Well, that’s the reason we’re looking for the loan! It's like a catch-22 scenario.” John Nightingale, a director of traffic signal consultancy JCT, said his company had turned to offering training courses online. “The bookings are not massive at the moment, but I think people are still trying to find their feet working from home.” Krishna Desai, global marketing manager at Cubic Transportation Systems, said: “I think the way to stay relevant no matter what the size of your business is to use your voice through social media. Let your customers know that you’re thinking of them. Lead with empathy. Nobody’s looking for a sales pitch at the minute, nobody wants to be sold to.”

Go-Ahead to take 92 new buses to Cornwall BUSES

BUS MANUFACTURER Alexander Dennis has delivered the first buses in a 92 vehicle order for Go-Ahead Group’s new tendered network in Cornwall. Cornwall Council’s enhanced tendered network commenced on 29 March, though it is currently operating at reduced levels because of Covid-19. Go-Ahead won the contract for 73 tendered local bus services and 71 school bus services, ending FirstGroup’s dominance of the area’s tendered market (LTT 07 Feb). Alexander, based in Larbert, central Scotland, delivered 44 Enviro200 single deck buses in time for the start of the new network. A further 48 vehicles, including 17 Enviro400 double deckers, will follow. They were initially expected to be delivered by June but production at ADL’s British manufacturing sites has been temporarily suspended in response to the Government’s advice on social distancing. Richard Stevens, managing director of Go Cornwall Bus and Plymouth Citybus, said: “With tight timescales for the contract, the two biggest worries would be getting enough drivers and buses. The deal for 92 new buses eased the strain of the second. With the reduction in service due to Covid-19, we have managed to not use any borrowed buses, but go live with what is a brand new fleet. We look forward to phase two and for Transport for Cornwall [the partnership between the council and operators] having the newest fleet in the country.” Canadian bus and coach manufacturer NFI Group acquired Alexander Dennis last year.

Slump in new vehicle registrations New vehicle registrations slumped in March as a consequence of Covid-19. New car registrations fell 44.4 per cent to 254,684 and new light commercial vehicle registrations (vans) fell 54.3 per cent to 30,247. For cars, private buyer and fleet registrations fell 40.4 and 47.4 per cent respectively. Registrations of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) rose almost three-fold to 11,694 units, accounting for 4.6 per cent of the market.

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Comment 13


Planning for walking? Whatever will they think of next?


John Dales Urban Movement

t’s amazing, really, isn’t it? There we were, carrying on as normal, going about our daily lives, giving no more thought to walking than we would to breathing. When suddenly walking becomes an officially state-sanctioned means of keeping fit and sane (and breathing); so long, of course, as we stay at least two metres away from anyone else that isn’t from our household. What you may have found, though, is that social distancing isn’t all that easy when many footways and footpaths aren’t much wider than two metres and many more are narrower; especially when occupied by things such as trees, fixed street furniture and loose clutter. Which brings me to something else that’s also amazing, in its way, even if it’s got nothing to do with global pandemics: the recent publication of The Planning for Walking Toolkit by Transport for London. Although it’s subtitled ‘Tools to support the development of public realm design briefs in London’, the toolkit is – as with many good things on which TfL takes a lead – applicable far beyond the capital’s boundary. Indeed, when I mentioned the fact of the Planning for Walking Toolkit’s existence on Twitter, there were very many expressions of joy at the fact – the majority from outside London, and several from outside the country. There was also the following comment from a friend: “Not a criticism, but doesn’t it say something about us that there is a need for such a toolkit?” My reply was characteristically robust, forthright and incisive: “It does. And it

Download it; read it; and start applying it with all deliberate speed

doesn’t.” I then proceeded to try and explain myself along the following lines. The fact is that, hitherto, we (by which I mean the authorities, agencies and professions whose role it should be to make walking easy, safe and pleasurable) have very rarely treated walking as a mode of transport worthy of its own guidance. We’ve just generally assumed (or hoped) that anyone who wants to walk will quietly get on with it and not make a fuss. After all, every street (more or less) has footways, ergo the urban walking network is ubiquitous. What’s not to like about that; and, accordingly, what’s more to do? Well: take a look around. As I have previously had cause to mention in these pages, more than once, the simple existence of a dense network of walking routes is by no means the same thing as having walking conditions of adequately high quality. That walking is very nearly an everyoneeveryday mode of transport makes it supremely familiar and, in keeping with the old saying, we have generally treated it with something approaching contempt. Which means that, despite the fact we almost all walk somewhere every day, we have not become at all expert at making better provision for walking. You’d like to think it would be instinctive; but it obviously ain’t. The idea of walking being an ‘everyone-everyday’ mode brings to my mind a report published in 2014 by Public Health England entitled Everybody Active, Every Day. Amongst other things, this stated that “a wealth of evidence shows that an active life is essential for physical and mental health and wellbeing” and rightly observed that “building more physical activity into daily routines involves creating the kinds of environments that support active living”, including walking and cycling. Such evidence is why the Government remains keen that everyone should get out for a daily walk or ride; and the cover of the PHE report (amended somewhat) would serve perfectly as a public information poster for these trying times. With all the above in mind, I would conclude that we do and should need a Planning for Walking Toolkit and, further, that the publication – or adoption – of one should be de rigueur for every single local highway authority. At the very least, this would be a clear expression of the recognition that walking genuinely is a highly valuable, and valued, means of getting around; not just the one we put at the top of our modal hierarchy as an exercise in virtue signalling. I allow adoption as well as publication because, quite

frankly, there’s no need to keep reinventing wheels. (I know that seems like the wrong phrase when we’re talking about walking, but there you go. Idioms, eh?) If someone has produced a perfectly decent toolkit, why go to the time, effort and expense of producing your own? And Transport for London’s toolkit is as decent as one might expect. It would be even decenter, in my view, if it hadn’t written ‘publicly’ as ‘publically’ on five occasions; because that makes my flesh creep somewhat. And there are a few other things I’d personally have changed, left out or added – but then I haven’t personally published any walking guidance at all, so I’m (a) very grateful that someone has and (b) not complaining. It’s exactly 100 pages long, less than ten of which are specifically about the London context. That gives everyone around 90 pages of goodness to enjoy, including seven Pedestrian Network Design Principles and information about a wide range of approaches, tools and techniques to help make walking the most natural and attractive option for short journeys. It’s strongly focused on outcomes and has a handy section on ‘Bringing it All Together’ towards the end. And it closes with seven case studies (a page for each) from which anyone anywhere can learn, even though they’re all from London, of course. In closing, you’ll be glad to know that – unlike seemingly everyone else – I don’t have a ‘hot take’ on how the post-viral future will unfold. But I will observe that we must somehow capture the value currently ascribed by politicians and the general public alike to the humble and marvellous act of walking. As I’ve hinted at in my last two articles, it has always been (and must be) possible to engage people more positively and constructively with the idea of travelling actively more and using cars less. I believe we can find further impetus to do so from our present experiences; and next time I’ll suggest how. Promise!

Everybody active, socially-distanced, every day

Walking more is better for all; and that may be more believable now than even

John Dales is a streets design adviser to local authorities around the UK, a member of several design review panels, and one the London mayor’s design advocates. He is a past chair of the Transport Planning Society, a former trustee of Living Streets, and a committee member of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety. He is director of transport planning and street design consultancy Urban Movement. Tweet John @johnstreetdales

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14 Comment


LTT796 17 April - 30 April 2020

We can’t let the virus put commuters into cars. Safe mass transit is the answer Sam Ryan Zeelo

The morning crush on the Tube or bunching up to others on buses and trains across the UK has long been part of the daily routine for millions of Britons. Yet as the world battles the invisible threat of coronavirus, this commuting ‘norm’ now seems like an alien concept as we prepare for a post-virus world. Coming out the other side of the crisis, it is hard to imagine many parts of everyday life going back to normal, and that includes our commuting habits. Things will change – part driven by commuters looking for space, part by operators looking to keep staff safe – and as an industry we need to lead that change. At Zeelo we have always been focused on highlighting the problem of personal car reliance and the daily commute: why should hundreds of people from the local area drive themselves to the same place of work when they could be saving pounds and the planet by going together? Now, as the virus takes hold, we have tailored our service to ensure commuter travel is safe. And that means equipping drivers with PPE (the number of deaths among Transport for London bus drivers is a disgrace) and ensuring social distancing is obeyed even after the virus has departed. For although we know that Joe Public will dive straight back into their cars as soon as the lockdown has lifted, the challenge for us all is to ensure they

The challenge for us all is to ensure that Joe Public doesn’t see the car as the only way to travel safely in the future.

In Passing

With an economy in freefall from the onslaught of Covid-19, France’s President Macron may be ruing his decision to set up a Citizens’ Convention for the Climate to advise on emissions reduction. With impeccable timing, the citizens have come forward with their recommendations, which, according to The Times, include the closure of out-of-town hypermarkets to encourage shopping locally, shelving the 5G network because it uses 30 percent more electricity than previous iterations, and prohibiting the sale of cars that emit more than 110g of CO2 per kilometre by 2025 – i.e. the majority of the cars on the road today. Oh, and most adverts for products generating high levels of CO2 should be banned, and those that are authorised will have to carry the wording: “Do you really need this? Overconsumption harms the planet.” Not exactly a textbook recipe for getting the country back on its feet, perhaps. What is Extinction Rebellion up to during the Covid-

don’t see the car as the only way to travel safely in the future. Relying on our cars continues to make congestion, air quality and the welfare of people across the world generally worse. Indeed, for towns, cities and businesses, cars are a barrier to success – if it’s not congestion, car parks are taking up valuable space or the commute is affecting their ability to recruit and retain staff. Recent figures showed commuters spent on average four days a year looking for a parking space, according to research from the British Parking Association. The car is turning from an aspirational symbol of wealth and freedom to a polluting, time-wasting necessity, and that has to change moving forward. Outside of London, over 70 per cent of daily work commutes are by private car. That’s a lot of cars, a lot of cost, a lot of car park spaces, a lot of time wasted in traffic, a lot of pollution, a lot of emissions. The likelihood is that many of us will have to start looking towards public transport and other means of travel to the car – saving money, ridding our driveways and roadsides of under-used machines and helping to keep pollution levels at the record lows we’ve enjoyed in recent weeks. Zeelo already moves half a million people a year to their place of work, running services with employment giants such as Ocado, JLR, Argos and Boohoo. We don’t own any vehicles, instead we work with a brilliant network of family-run coach and bus operators. But there is room for more services and there is a need for more safety. We grabbed the headlines by introducing social distancing on our buses and we also partnered with Addison Lee, London’s biggest private hire operator, to offer reduced cost trips for key workers at the outset of the virus. Indeed, if the virus has taught us anything, it’s that the people who had been invisible before – the checkout operators, the health care workers, the warehouse operators – now have a seat at society’s top table and we must improve our services to look after them. There is competition for their custom, of course. In more and more cities, the density of dockless

bikes now makes them a viable commuter platform. Likewise, now that e-scooters seem to be an inevitable addition to the landscape, they can be relied on for commutes that are just too long to walk. Also being transformed are the staid old worlds of car-sharing and car-pooling: Whatsapp, GPS and a range of focused apps have eliminated the friction involved in recruiting, coordinating and locating fellow-passengers. While all of this sounds great, the reality is that, left to their own devices these services and modes of travel will actually make the commute even more chaotic and congested than it already is. What we need to do is look at how to move large numbers of people at peak times over medium distances in shared vehicles, but at a level of flexibility and service that today’s commuter demands, or ‘Macromobility’ as it is now known. Innovation is essential if we are to keep our orbital and cross-town roads flowing. At Zeelo what we envisage is ‘smart’ bus services developed in partnership with major employers, business parks or councils, to help them get their staff out of their cars and into bigger, cleaner vehicles. But to succeed on a countrywide scale we need a variety of stakeholders to work together: municipalities, transport authorities, mobility companies, HR directors, property developers, land owners and many more. There’s a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes but the thought of a commute that is pleasant, efficient, healthy and affordable, rather than one of gridlock, pollution, danger, cost and frustration, certainly puts a smile on your face. This has always been more about culture than legislation and it’s clear that 2020 will change our culture and our behaviour quicker than at any other time in history.

19 lockdown? Journalist David Rose has been doing some digging and presented the fruits of his labours to readers of The Spectator this month. Rose has obtained a discussion paper written by Rupert Read of the University of East Anglia, who, by the way, was once an avid letter writer to LTT, and who is now one of the leading lights in the climate direct action group. Entitled, ‘Some strategic scenario-scoping of the coronavirus – XR nexus’, Read sets out his strategy: “The moment to make these very real parallels, between climate and corona, is when the virus starts to wane. Because that is when there will suddenly be a collective sigh of relief, and huge ideological forces will swing into action to say: start shopping and jetting again, go back to ‘life as normal’. That is the moment when we need to say (in words, and actions): let’s not jump from the frying pan of coronavirus to the fire of climate cataclysm.” Airports, Highways England and HS2 Ltd: you have been warned!

LTT may be a late-comer to video conferencing, but, in for a penny, in for a pound, our inaugural event last week on coronavirus certainly opened our eyes to the possibilities. A few things struck us about the nature of the event, run on Zoom. For instance, while we started with a ‘panel’ who gave their perspective for three minutes each, once the discussion got going, there was a rather nice sense of democracy, each person having a window of equal size on the screen. All quite different from the formal top table and delegate rows of a conference. Secondly, it was striking how good natured the event was. Differences of view were certainly expressed, but the exchanges were all remarkably civil. Was that down to the medium, or perhaps because everyone was at home and feeling relaxed? It’s hard to say. Having dipped our toes in the water, we’re venturing in a bit deeper next week, considering how the lockdown might affect travel behaviour. Details are on page 16. Why not pop-in, the more the merrier – and the drinks are on us afterwards!

Sam Ryan is CEO of coach commuter platform Zeelo, which he founded with university friend Barney Williams. Operating in the UK and South Africa, with new markets being explored in Ireland and Italy.

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Decarbonisation must be the priority after Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted discussion of the implications for travel behaviour once it is over. Will the recent downward trend in trips to work and for shopping accentuate? Might people prefer their cars and bikes to travelling on crowded public transport? Will there be a bounce back in leisure air travel? All is speculation at present. More immediately, we see that the new highly infectious virus has prompted huge and rapid global efforts of technological development: tests for the virus and antibody, and novel vaccines. The epidemic has also stimulated extensive efforts to model the consequences, modelling that is open, transparent and collaborative, and that has proved crucial in informing Government decisions, in particular to see how new technologies can lessen the need for social distancing. There are lessons for the transport sector, for which the main priority must be decarbonisation to achieve the Government’s net zero carbon target by 2050. Technological development should be stepped up in the areas of batteries for surface transport, and new propulsion technologies for aviation and marine. Electric charging infrastructure needs to be made generally available to stimulate the purchase of electric vehicles. The models employed in the transport sector are neither open nor transparent. They are obsolete in that they were developed well before current concerns with carbon dioxide emissions and are deficient in predicting observed outcomes. We need a new generation of travel/transport models that are open, transparent, and possibly crowdsourced, to inform decisions on policies for decarbonisation, including how new technology can complement behavioural change. Transport decarbonisation is the top priority. In contrast, automation is not important. As I argued in my recent book, Driving Change, autonomous vehicles will be difficult to deploy on the existing road network, and the benefits are quite limited. It is for the car industry to develop automated features if it thinks that customers might purchase such vehicles. It is for Governments to put in place suitable regulatory regimes. But it should not be a priority for governments to support the development of the technology, which would be a distraction from decarbonisation efforts. David Metz Centre for Transport Studies University College London

A low carbon transport plan for life after Covid-19

Covid-19 has led to a remarkable reduction in all forms of travel, one of the consequences of which has been a massive drop in pollution levels with clearer skies and cleaner air. It is something to be grateful for in the current health crisis. It also has consequences for the production of the DfT’s transport decarbonisation plan (‘Net Zero Transport Council to advise DfT on decarbonisation’ LTT 03 Apr). Such a plan is intended to show how transport can respond by 2050 to creating a net zero carbon economy. In itself this is a tall order and it will entail a major change in how, where and when we travel. Many of the measures, if they are to be effective, will have to be started immediately and will certainly need to be in place long before 2050. The combination of Covid-19 and decarbonisation points the way to a re-think about how transport is provided and used. The ramifications from Covid-19 would suggest that major changes in travel behaviour could occur, particularly for the journeys to/from work. More flexible working and less office use could follow with implications for peak hour travel. But travel will not disappear entirely and there is now an opportunity to emphasise investment that induces more environmen-


tally benign means of travel – particularly locally – and particularly in major towns and cities where pollution is more prevalent. The announcements in the last Budget sent rather mixed messages on that score with no increases in fuel duty, limited help for electric vehicles and a lack of focus on where and on what new transport investments should be. What was missing particularly, and which needs to be addressed, is a commitment to a programme of local and integrated travel improvements embracing amongst other things better pedestrian and cycling facilities, a greater use of enhanced public transport and appropriate traffic management coupled with complementary spatial development policies and plans. Such a programme should also include rail electrification projects. Rail electrification, however, needs to be focused on where improvements can motivate and induce changes in travel habits. It should be a phased, but continuous, programme, over a number of years. Such a programme should initially concentrate on: • urban schemes that enable diesel services to be converted into electric ones, e.g. Leeds to Bradford, Leeds to Selby and York, the Camp Hill line in Birmingham; • infill schemes that allow for full electric services to be introduced, e.g. Reading to Basingstoke and Bristol Parkway to Bristol Temple Meads; and • schemes that permit railfreight to be electrified, e.g. container services between ports and inland freight terminals. The programme must also be accompanied by a rolling stock strategy geared to be implemented as new projects are commissioned. Where then does that other transport announcement of 2020 fit in – HS2? The approval of HS2 Phases 1 and 2a can be viewed as complementary to the programme outlined, in that it releases capacity on the existing West Coast route for more local, inter-urban and freight services to be run. HS2 Phase 2b is more problematical, more long-term and still awaits Parliamentary approval. Phases 1 and 2a also provide a spine route that in time connects London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds together (if an appropriate Northern Powerhouse scheme between Manchester and Leeds can be put in place). However, such a route must be connected to local improvements with high-speed stations as city centre hubs – otherwise the local connections and access will be lost. Tony Bolden Littlehampton West Sussex BN16

Peer’s plan for Euston is nonsense on stilts

It seems that Lord Berkeley has but one letter, which he writes to ministers every fortnight regardless of the issue of the day! You report that he has written a letter flogging the idea of HS2 and conventional services sharing tracks into Euston – apparently a reheating yet again of his ‘Euston Express’ wheeze, feeding HS2 trains onto existing lines at Queens Park (‘Euston development partner may be about to quit – Berkeley’ LTT 03 Apr). This scheme was comprehensively analysed during petitioning for the HS2 Phase 1 hybrid Bill, and rejected because of its many operational and engineering defects. These defects included an extensive and largely undefined reconfiguration of the Euston approaches, so any suggestion that the scheme would not involve significant disruption is, at the very least, open to dispute. Berkeley also suggests that dropping the speed of


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Comment 15

Recovery planning Surveying the scene of transport and travel in the UK this week, the fourth week of movement restrictions to combat Covid-19, there are some notable themes. To an extraordinary extent, (indeed, it has caught politicians by surprise), the public has accepted these unprecedented actions to control their lives. There have not been the riots some feared, nor mass civil disobedience. Rather, there is a sense of patient acceptance, a recognition that the Government and the emergency services face an extraordinary set of circumstances and deserve our support. The transport sector has settled down as best it can, with largely empty trains and buses plying back and forth, airports largely dormant, and roads free of the usual tailbacks, leaving those who do have to travel no doubt wishing that if only every day could be like this... If all of this appears to speak of a strangely settled country, let us not underplay the sheer misery that the virus and the consequent lockdown are loading on families and businesses. As of this week the UK death toll stood at almost 14,000. Many transport workers are on the front line of risk and it was shocking to hear this week that 26 employees of Transport for London and its contracted operators are among the fatalities. Of these, 20 were bus workers, which raise obvious questions about their safety. We share London transport commissioner Mike Brown’s sentiment of “utter devastation” at the toll it has taken on his workforce. Speaking to people in the industry this week, what is clear is that, although the lockdown has just been extended for three more weeks, transport operators and authorities are making preparations for a return to something more normal. One described the recovery stage as winning the war, emphasising that beyond that, once a vaccine has been developed, there would be a further legacy stage of ‘winning the peace’ when the substantial hangover issues of the virus will have to be addressed, be they funding, regulatory frameworks or such like. The recovery stage might sound straightforward, simply being a reversal of the shutdown. But for transport operators, it is likely to come with added complications because no one knows how fast demand will return to the system. Reintroducing normal timetables will be a costly business for operators if the passengers don’t come flocking back.

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LTT795 03 April - 16 April 2020



£167m for buses as virus destroys travel demand


13 Plan to relocate Sheffield’s inner relief road

10-11 Micromobility consultation opens

15 Cambs transport powers wrangle

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “We have been very clear during the outbreak that the

best way to stop the spread of the virus and protect the NHS, is to stay at home if possible. “[But] Our buses are a lifeline for people who need to travel for work or to buy food – including our emergency services and NHS staff – and it’s vital we do all we can to keep the sector running.” Confederation of Passenger Transport chief executive Graham Vidler said the funding would “plug the gap between the cost of running essential routes and revenue being received, and will help the country through the outbreak, allowing critical journeys to continue”. Travel demand has collapsed following the Government’s introduction of travel restrictions to control Covid-19’s spread. On 23 March the Prime Minister announced that people would only be allowed to leave their home to: shop for basic necessities; one form of exercise a day; any medical need; and for travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.

Businesses including pubs, cinemas, theatres and casinos were ordered to close on 21 March. Shops selling non-essential goods were ordered to close on 24 March. Road traffic levels have slumped and passengers have deserted buses and trains. The London Underground was this week carrying just five per cent of the passenger volume it carried this time last year. The DfT has taken temporary control of all remaining rail franchises. It cannot take control of the buses because the industry is largely privately-owned. One bus operator this week highlighted the financial peril the industry would be in without a rescue package, telling LTT that patronage was down 90 per cent but service levels were down only 40-50 per cent. “There would be a point in time when we would all have gone bust. It’s just basic arithmetic.” Stagecoach and FirstGroup have both put non-essential capital expenditure on hold. Stagecoach directors are sacrificing 50 per cent of their salaries/fees for a period of time.

The pandemic is certain to delay FirstGroup’s plan to sell its North American businesses, which have also been badly affected by the virus. The Urban Transport Group is calling for Government funding for its members, who operate tram, Metro and Underground systems. The UTG is also doing some initial thinking about what the funding and organisational structure of England’s bus industry should look like once the virus has been brought under control. “We’re looking at an industry that is going to be kept on life support,” a participant in the discussions told LTT. “Operators are going to stop investing in new fleet, so it doesn’t put them in a condition to come out all guns blazing after the crisis is over. It’s too early to say where all this leads.” The bus industry had appeared to be on the cusp of a renaissance with ministers announcing billions of pounds for bus priority in February and promising a national bus strategy.


Covid-19 news


1. 2.

3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

WSP and AECOM to merge?

Double deck electric buses for Manchester

More car parking needed in new housing estates – Wigan

20 March - 02 April 2020


BUS OPERATORS in England were thrown a financial lifeline by the DfT this week, with a £167m emergency fund to help them survive the Covid-19 virus pandemic that has seen travel demand collapse across all transport modes. The Covid-19 Bus Services Support Grant will be paid over the next three months at a rate of up to £13.9m a week. It comes on top of the Government’s commitment to continue paying operators Bus Service Operator Grant on the basis of pre-virus service levels. The DfT has also urged local authorities to maintain operator reimbursement for the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme at pre-virus levels, and to continue payments for tendered service contracts. The £167m will be paid to operators on the condition that they maintain services at a level sufficient to meet the much reduced demand. They must also allow adequate space between passengers on board to minimise the risk of the virus spreading.

21 Phil Goodwin: Net Zero requires a road programme rethink. But how?

Welsh Government publishes bill to reform bus industry

London Councils suspends London lorry control scheme Virgin withdraws open access rail bid

TfWM reveals the details of its enhanced partnerships

Review of HE’s role in the conurbations Net zero ‘the next Brexit’

10. Leeds’ Clean Air Zone could outlive city’s air quality breach

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LTT796 Viewpoint and letters.qxp_LTT759_pXX 17/04/2020 10:05 Page 14


HS2 to 320kph would allow a simpler layout at Euston. This is clearly nonsense, for the simple reason that the maximum speed of the line is already only 320kph from the north portal of the Chiltern tunnel and even less for the Old Oak Common – Euston section itself. What the maximum speed might be in deepest Northamptonshire has no bearing whatsoever on how the London terminus operates. He then relies on his already-discredited suggestion that HS2 capacity should be regarded as only 14 trains per hour (see my comments in LTT 10 Jan), to propose that the station approaches should be simplified. I do appreciate that “a halfpennyworth of tar” will sound ironic, but even those who oppose building HS2 in the first place would agree that if it is to be built, to bake in a constraint at the London terminus, which can never be eased, that prevents the whole railway ever operating to its full potential, would be a case of “spoiling the ship”, in spades. William Barter Potcote Towcester NN12

The UK’s rural roads are more under-used than railways

Paul Withrington has a thing about railways: he doesn’t like them (Letters LTT 20 Mar). If his case for rail to road conversion is so compelling – and the advantages are as great as he makes them out to be – then why are the coach operators, haulage companies and highway contractors not all queuing up and clamouring for the transformation he demands? Why have only 250 miles of 10,000 disused miles of railway track been converted to date? Why are leading haulage concerns – such as Stobart – switching traffic to, not from, rail? And why is there no demand from the travelling public for such a conversion? Mr Withrington has his answer off pat: it’s all due to our irrational fixation with trains implanted during our formative years (LTT 20 Mar). We are all closet train spotters! Everyone, it seems, is out step but himself. The practical barriers to his conversion plans are obvious. No transport manager with a brain in the head would divert his trucks, or his coaches, from motorways and shoehorn them onto narrow rail formations where they are likely to be buffeted, or blown off, viaducts and highsided embankments by strong side winds – or worse still – run the risk of bashing in their roofs and sides by driving them through narrow tunnels only to collide head on with oncoming traffic. Not unless he’s in the kamikaze business or contemplating hari-kari. Rail tunnels lack sufficient clearance for conversion and would need to be lit and ventilated as well as being widened and deepened. Since Network Rail has around 600 tunnels – more than 40 over a mile in length – that would require an awful lot of electricity (and money). Emergency access and exit would also need to be provided with walkways on either side (meaning even less space to squeeze a road into). Every year Network Rail suffers over 2,000 bridge strikes from HGVs. That figure would be multiplied many times should HGVs and public service vehicles start running over converted tracks. Ernest Marples – the UK’s most pro-road minister of transport (hardly a closet railfan or anorak) – had no time for conversion: “The idea is open to insuperable objections. The estimated cost is much too low and does not take account of construction of junctions. Unless all overbridges and tunnels are rebuilt, it would be unusable by large vans and double-deck buses. It would require a very high capital investment.” It’s not just tunnels, viaducts, cuttings and embankments; Network Rail also has around 6,000 level crossings, of which some 1,500 cross public highways. Conversion would mean they would need to be remodelled or removed, adding further complications and upping costs. Britain’s road network (246,700 route miles) is roughly 25 times the size of the national rail network (9,870 route


Comment 17

miles). However, according to Transport Statistics Great Britain 2019 – road freight only carried 8.9 times more traffic than rail (152 as against 17 billion tonne kilometres, in 2018), and road passenger traffic (of all types) was only 8.8 times more (718 as against 81 billion passenger kilometres, in 2018). Therefore taking the country as whole, it is the road, not the rail, system that is underutilised. TSGB stats also show that the motorways – which make up less than one per cent of total road mileage – carried 21 per cent of all traffic, while the corresponding minor road shares were 87 per cent and 34 per cent respectively. I’m sure if Dr Beeching were still around he would have something to say about the latter! Underused roads carry less traffic than underused railways (but are never closed, please note). Rail also takes up less acreage. A four-track main line is about 50 ft (15.3 metres) wide, about twice the size of a double track one. A four lane motorway – including central reservation and hard shoulders but excluding verge areas – measures between 126 ft (38.4 metres) and 143 ft (43.5 metres) according to Highways England’s Design Manual for Roads & Bridges (DMRB). Rail formations Two graphs of temperature change. Paul Withrington says figure one, from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is are less generous (width-wise) than is misleading, and the data is more accurately presented in figure 2. generally supposed. I do not have the current figures to hand, but in 1948, multi-track route mileage (four tracks and more) accounted for less than eight per cent of total BR route mileage (1,507 out of 19,630), whereas the single track proportion made up more than a third (7,234 miles). Mr Withrington fantasises about the efficacy of the What a terrifying read LTT of 3 April was: the headlines, express coaches. Coaches are bound by a statutory 70 mph ‘Net Zero Transport Council to advise the DfT on decarmaximum limit (60 mph for vehicles over 12 metres), and bonisation’ and the London Borough of Croydon’s have a maximum 2.55 metres (8ft 4in) width. Trains can climate assembly vowing to ‘Punish people who don’t travel at twice these speeds in complete safety, whilst carback Net Zero’, let alone the plethora of stories to do riage widths – despite the cramped confines of the British with clean air zones and the rest. Terrifying for two loading gauge – are more generous, ranging from 2.7 reasons: firstly, the extremism, and secondly, perhaps metres (8ft 10in) to 2.82 metres (9ft 3in). Conversionists worse, the dishonesty behind the stories, or is it bonedream about buses/coaches leaving Liverpool Street and headed ignorance? Waterloo every few seconds to provide a more frequent For example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate service. Thousands of coaches – and drivers – would be Change uses figure 1 to publicise the one degree temperneeded but they have produced no timetables, or come up ature rise since pre-industrial times, i.e. 1850, claiming with any traffic management schemes for coping with such the entire rise is man-made. However, inspection shows huge traffic volumes. How they would run in ice, snow and that the orange line is a disgraceful smoothing of the fog still goes unexplained. The result would be chaos and data, which should appear as in figure 2. anarchy. The not so ‘nimble bus’, would soon find itself Clearly the warming up to 1940 was largely natural. gridlocked (especially as it needs space to turn, something a After all, emissions to that date were trivial in today’s train does not have to do). terms. There is then a largely unexplained dip before the Mr Withrington also repeats the old canard about the natural, pre-1940, trend continues. So, of the supposed government making money out of the road system. As he one degree between 50 and 90 per cent may be natural. full well knows – or should do – revenues from Vehicle Yet the IPCC claims all of it is the result of humans. Excise Duty and fuel go (like the taxes on tobacco and If the organisation is prepared to distort on that scale, drink) directly into the Treasury pot to pay for the NHS, can we even believe the alleged one degree temperature education and other services, and that VAT is largely recovrise? erable [Since this month, VED in England is ringfenced for The long-term damage to the scientific community the new National Roads Fund – Ed]. Toll roads apart, roads caused by this climate scandal will be such that (after its in this country have never been required to make a profit or exposure) nobody will believe a scientist ever again. show a return on capital, and have always been funded less The climate change alarmists may not be quite as bad as stringently than rail. By contrast, the GB rail infrastructure those idiots burning 5G masts in the belief that they was built by and paid for by private companies, at no cost spread Covid-19, but even so... to the taxpayer. For over a century profits from private railFor more detail see Topics 21 and 26 on the Transways not only paid out dividends to shareholders, they port-Watch website. went in taxes and rates to governments as well. Paul Withrington John Helm Director, Transport-Watch Chatham ME4 Northampton NN2

Study the science before accepting a green dictatorship

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Specialists in all types of Traffic and Transport Survey and Data Consultancy Operating throughout the UK, Ireland and internationally, we utilise the best and most appropriate technology, techniques, skills and experience available to deliver data solutions. Our central support and technology teams together with our network of operational bases employing over 200 full time specialists allows us to deliver some of the largest and most complex data collection contracts in the UK alongside individual local projects all utilising the innovation and skills Tracsis are known for. Technologies we use include digital ANPR, Video, Bluetooth, WiFi, ATC, Video Analytics, GIS asset management and Mobile Phone Network Data Analytics. See our website for local office details or contact our Head Office at: Tel: +44 (0)1937 833 933 Email: TaDS@Tracsis.com www.TracsisTraffic.com

The Transportation Consultancy (ttc) is a dynamic and innovative transportation consultancy that specialises in transport planning, traffic engineering, sustainable transport and transport economics. Our people have over 100 years of combined technical knowledge and can offer you expert advice covering the whole transportation sector, helping you to make sound decisions in today’s complex environment. Our advice is underpinned by innovation, technical excellence and expert opinion, enabling our clients to make sound decisions in what is often a complex and challenging environment. “ttc” has a set of values that guides us in our everyday business and continues to drive our ambition to provide unrivalled advice that helps deliver the best transportation solutions to our clients. Please contact Alan Bailes Tel: 07803 894686 Email: info@ttc-transportplanning.com www.ttc-transportplanning.com

The CIVINET UK & Ireland Network is the sustainable transport network for local authorities. Members can access European and national funding information, comprehensive sustainable transport expertise and networking events. Private organisations are welcome as associate members. Tel: 0117 907 6520 Email: civinet-uk-ireland@civitas.eu www.civitas.eu/civinet-uk-ireland

PTRC Education & Research Services Co Ltd is a company within CILT (UK). PTRC is the leading international organisation specialising in the training of transport, highways and planning professionals. Tel: 020 7348 1970 Emai: info@ptrc-training.co.uk www.ptrc-training.co.uk

Join the Transport Planning Society – the professional home for transport planners and transport planning qualifications! The TPS facilitates, develops and promotes best practice in transport planning and provides a focus for dialogue and debate between all those engaged in it, whatever their background or other professional affiliation. TPS works closely with its four partners ICE, CILT (UK), CIHT and RTPI to further the profession and in the development of professional qualifications, such as the Professional Development Scheme (PDS) and the Chartered Transport Planning Professional (CTPP). We also hold great events, bursary competitions, awards and much more – check out our website for details. Tel: +44 (0)20 7665 2238 Email: info@tps.org.uk www.tps.org.uk


View their full CVs at TransportXtra.com/consultants

BURGESS Peter. M.Sc. (Econ), B.A.(Ind.Econ), Cert.Dip. AF, MCILT Transport Economics Limited DfT Business Case Support. Economic Impact Reports. Mode Split Revenue Support Grant. Waterbourne Freight Grant. European Funding (Evaluator): (INEA) Connecting Europe Facility; (EASME): HORIZON 2020 (SMART cities and Urban Mobility). Innovate UK bid support: Economic and Environmental Impact criterion Email: peter.burgess@transportecon.com www.transportecon.com HURDLE David. DipTP, MA, MRTPI, FCILT Transport Planning Consultant Travel Plans, Transport Policies/Strategies and Active Travel Audits. Broomfield, 20 Holt Road, Sheringham NR26 8NB Tel: 01263 822300 Mobile: 07808 533165 Email: d.hurdle@btinternet.com www.davidhurdle.co.uk STAVELEY Peter. MSc CMILT Public Transport Consultancy Railway and bus operational planning, public transport strategy, railway timetabling, capacity studies, software development, data manipulation. 247 Davidson Road, Croydon, CR0 6DQ Tel: 07973 168742 Email: Peter@PeterStaveley.co.uk www.PeterStaveley.co.uk

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The LTT Directory

The LTT Directory 19

Learning Intelligence Networking & Knowledge Sharing


//Automatic Traffic Surveys

// Skilled and dedicated teams throughout the UK


Full national coverage

// Manual Surveys


Roadside Interviews / Public Transport / Cycle & Pedestrian Surveys / Parking Studies / Market Research

// Video Surveys ANPR / High Mast / Covert Studies/ Journey Times Surveys


Contact Joe Maclaren or Jeremy Rowlands

surveys@ctstraffic.co.uk // 01772 251400


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The next issue of LTT will be published: Friday 01 May Advertising booking deadline: Tuesday 28 April

The LTT Directory 21

For recruitment advertising please contact Jason on: 020 7091 7895 or email: jit@landor.co.uk

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Recruitment 23

The best jobs for transport specialists start here Below is a selection of the top vacancies currently advertised on the UK’s leading transport jobs board: www.Jobs-in-Transport.com

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods Programme Lead P04: Starting salary £41,466 pa This post attracts the 7% market supplement that the service currently offers its professional transport team officers 18 months fixed term opportunity with possibility to extend This is an exciting opportunity to join the Transport team, playing a key role in delivering this flagship programme for Lambeth’s ambitious new Transport Strategy. We are looking for a candidate with motivation and capability to match this ambition. Low Traffic Neighbourhoods aim to reduce traffic on residential streets in Lambeth and in doing so transform conditions for walking and cycling, improve air quality, reduce emissions and make our streets safer. We need to carefully consider changes to the local road network and work closely with local communities to ensure a successful outcome. It’s not just about what the project delivers, but also how we go about it. We are committed to an inclusive approach that reaches out across our diverse communities and provides opportunities for local people to get involved. This is a behaviour change project and every step of the process needs to reflect this, raising awareness, providing opportunities to do things differently and supporting people through change along the way. Working with senior staff in the Transport team, senior management and Members, you will be responsible for leading on LTNs at a number of locations in Lambeth, making sure that the benefits are realised and shared by our many local stakeholders. Providing advice, oversight and support, you will work with a wide range of internal and external partners to help us deliver the programme. This role is initially offered as a 18 month fixed term contract from 01 April 2020, with the strong potential to extend for the right candidate. The candidate: l Will demonstrate experience of playing a key role in complex, high value transport projects. l Will demonstrate a thorough knowledge of local, national and international transport policy approaches and an appreciation of best practice in the implementation of walking, cycling, and neighbourhood improvement schemes.

Major Scheme Interface Manager £47,015 - £52,916 per annum 36.5 hours per week Permanent Who we need You will be a dynamic individual with extensive knowledge, understanding and experience of managing major investment programmes. You will be able to quickly identify, develop and deliver appropriate tactical strategies to minimise disruption, manage travel demand and maintain resilience across the networks. You will be a confident negotiator and able to influence external programmes. You will have built excellent technical knowledge and practical understanding of transport planning throughout your career. You will have exceptional stakeholder management skills and understand the importance of building and maintaining relationships across the directorate as well as with external partners and investors. About the role You will manage the coordination and delivery of tactical strategies to minimise disruptive impacts of major scheme delivery across the region. This will mean working across major investment programmes including HS2, Midland Metro Extension, the Commonwealth Games capital programme and major highway investment programmes to take a holistic view of all major schemes to ensure conflicts are managed out and appropriate mitigations are put in place. The role will have a strong and particular focus on maintaining resilience on the Key Route Network and local bus network. To programme manage the development and delivery of mitigation programmes and interventions to reduce the cumulative impact of planned disruption from major scheme delivery. This will involve working closely with multiple external partners and agencies at all scales of transport planning. The role will work closely with colleagues across the Network Resilience Directorate, TfWM bus team and other regional programme partners; principally, this will focus on identification and delivery of mitigation and targeted interventions to help keep the region moving through disruption. This could include highway scheme development to maintain resilience for local buses, working with transport operators to provide increased capacity during demand surges and development of travel demand management strategies. How to apply Please provide detailed information in your application outlining your suitability for the post and ensure it is submitted by the closing date. Closing Date: Tuesday 28th April 2020

l Will have experience of programme management.

Interview/Assessment Date: Monday 11th May 2020

l Will demonstrate a systematic approach to project management as well as political awareness and excellent stakeholder engagement skills.

We are committed to developing an organisation that is representative of the diverse communities that we serve and welcome applications from all sections of the community.

l Will have a thorough understanding of the complexities of transport planning and operating in a local authority context.

The following groups are currently underrepresented: young people, Black, Asian and ethnic minority groups and women at senior levels.

l Will have excellent communication skills, the ability to build strong working relationships, internal and external, and to contribute to the development of the service. l Will demonstrate commitment to deep and meaningful community engagement and innovative approaches to achieve this. Closes: 26th April

APPLY NOW: http://bit.ly/3aCqiRT

We are a Disability Confident Employer and offer a guaranteed interview scheme for applicants who meet the essential job role criteria. We will make reasonable adjustments, in line with the Equality Act, for disabled applicants if these are needed. Wherever possible we will offer flexible working options which assist work-life balance and support service delivery for the customer. Closes: 28th April

APPLY NOW: http://bit.ly/2RHZuIx

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Published 01 May 2020


LTT796 17 April - 30 April 2020



Young Londoners’ Virus halts travel habits probed charity


LONDONERS IN their 20s and early 30s who live with their parents make fewer trips than those who live independently, according to new research. Alice Saunders has won the 2019 Voorhees-Large prize, worth £1,000, for her transport and city planning MSc dissertation on how living with parents affects the travel patterns of young Londoners. She studied at The Bartlett, University College London. “An estimated 14.5 per cent of 25-34 year-olds in London now live with their parents, up from 7.8 per cent in 2002,” said Saunders, an analyst in TfL’s city planning team. Controlling for demographic and geographical influences, she found those living ‘at home’ travel less frequently than those living independently. “Traditionally large numbers of

young people move into inner London for work, attracted by the connectivity and ‘urban buzz’,” she said. “Those who remain living in their family home are more likely to live in suburban locations that are less accessible by public transport. They record higher levels of car access and, on average, travel further to work and for leisure. They make a smaller proportion of trips by walking, cycling and public transport. “My findings confirm the need for transport planners to look beyond traditional determinants of demand and consider the external constraints under which young adults make travel choices, as well as the norms and habits that might develop during this time.” The Voorhees-Large Prize is awarded by the Brian Large Bursary Fund in memory of consultants Alan M Voorhees and Brian Large.



THE REES Jeffreys Road Fund will make no further research or bursary awards this year because Covid-19 has hit the value of its investments. In a statement, the Trustees said: “The Rees Jeffreys Road Fund relies entirely on its investments to support its work and, given the volatile and uncertain state of the markets, it has decided it is prudent to pause all further spending this year and concentrate on honouring its existing commitments.” Chairman David Tarrant said: “This is just a pause and I am in no doubt the Fund will continue for many years yet. I have asked the secretary to continue to work with potential applicants so that we will be prepared to restart the Fund’s work as soon as possible.”

Speed takes the helm at Tactran Mark Speed has joined Tactran, the Tayside and Central Scotland regional transport partnership, as partnership director, succeeding Tom Flanagan who has retired. Speed was Sunderland City Council’s head of place management. His previous posts have included: commissioning manager for transport and infrastructure at Peterborough City Council; senior travel demand engineer at TRANSIT New Zealand; and a senior policy officer in the Tyne and Wear local transport plan team.

McMahon is shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon has replaced Andy McDonald as shadow transport secretary following Sir Keir Starmer’s election as Labour’s new leader. McMahon, 39, has been MP for Oldham West and Royton since 2015 and before that was leader of Oldham Council.

Mudhar joins Staffs from consultancy Amrit Mudhar has joined Staffordshire County Council as an infrastructure project engineer from consultant Royal HaskoningDHV where she was a principal transport planner.

Hood appointed chair of ITS UK Ryan Hood is the new chair of transport technology body ITS (UK). Hood is strategic account manager at the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and succeeds WSP’s Ian Patey.

Transport Planning Associates promotion Consultant Transport Planning Associates has promoted James Darrall to be a director. Darrall has led the firm’s Bristol office since July 2018 and has more than 18 years’ experience in development transport planning.

Clarke is Metro infrastructure director

Make climate the priority, says TPS

Nexus has appointed Stuart Clarke infrastructure director for the Tyne and Wear Metro. He joined Nexus in 1997 as an apprentice electrician.

THE TRANSPORT Planning Society is making climate change and creating “a sustainable, healthy future” the themes for its campaign leading up to this year’s transport planning day. Because of Covid-19, the campaign will be run online, from now until the autumn. It is likely to include blogs, podcasts and webinars showcasing successful transport planning projects and policy initiatives. The TPS will not run the People’s Award this year because of the virus.

Boss leads road surface body


To support this year’s themes, the TPS has set out six policy asks of Government, including “developing the case for national road user charging”. The other five are: delivering climate change actions that will reduce emissions; more closely integrating spatial and transport planning decision-making; significantly increasing the funding settlement for active travel; integrating public transport in the city regions; and putting social need at the heart of new technology deployment. The TPS still hopes to hold a parliamentary reception in

October and Transport Planning Day on 16 November. If this is not possible, the events will be held virtually. Stephen Bennett, chair of the Transport Planning Society, said: “We are all aware we need to move people and goods in a far cleaner and greener way to achieve a net zero future. “We need the UK Government to pick up the pace with supporting the integration of spatial planning and transport planning, and reducing the need to travel, with a clear focus on decarbonising the transport system, whilst improving accessibility.”

Paul Boss will take up the position of chief executive of the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) on 1 July. Since 2005, he has been Staffordshire’s highway asset manager, joining Amey in 2014 as part of the Staffordshire County Council/Amey Infrastructure+ strategic highway partnership. Rory O’Connor will become the RSTA’s chief technical officer on 1 May. He has worked closely with the RSTA for ten years as a director of member company Tarstone Surfacing Ltd.

Rowland Pittard Rowland Pittard, secretary of the Welsh branch of rail campaign group Railfuture, has died. After completing a certificate and diploma of transport studies at the University of London, Pittard became a lecturer in transport. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of South Wales’ railways, both historical and present day, and helped establish the Gwili heritage railway, near Carmarthen, in the 1970s.