Local Transport Today issue 802

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LTT802 10 July - 23 July 2020

POLICY | PLANNING | FINANCE | DEVELOPMENT

Bus operators raise capacity to 50 per cent p5 TransportXtra.com/ltt

DfT asks public for ideas on how to decarbonise transport

ENVIRONMENT by Andrew Forster

Shapps: net zero board

In Decarbonising transport: setting the challenge report, published in March, the DfT highlighted the size of the challenge to decarbonise transport, with a huge gap between what current policies are expected to achieve and what is needed to deliver the net zero target (LTT 03 Apr). Environmental transport academics this week stepped up their pressure on the Government to take decisive action to cut transport CO 2 , with a call for

Council may cut bus Covid-19 payments

BUSES

LUTON BOROUGH Council may stop paying bus operators concessionary fares reimbursement at pre-Covid-19 levels because of the council’s own financial problems. The DfT has asked all councils in England to pay operators at pre-Covid levels as part of the strategy to keep the bus industry afloat at a time when passenger numbers are a fraction of normal levels. The policy has caused disquiet amongst local authorities who themselves are facing huge losses from Covid19. Luton has drawn up a savings programme to address a shortfall in its budget this year, largely arising from the cancel-

lation of the dividend payment from Luton Airport, which it owns. The council proposes making £580,000 in-year savings on concessionary fares reimbursement. A council spokesman told LTT: “The level of usage of concessionary fares has reduced over recent years and the council is proposing to reduce the spend in the current year. “The council has followed the Government guidance for April to June but cannot continue to provide this level of support with the current budget position.” >> READ MORE?

Council grapples with airport troubles p9

Cummings: technical fix

nationwide road pricing, reduced speed limits and the scrapping of the Road Investment Strategy (see page 16). Meanwhile, a number of academics sympathetic to Extinction Rebellion are forming a ‘Braintrust’ to look at ways of decarbonising the UK economy earlier than 2050. Transport is likely to be a key area of the group’s work. The Prime Minister has meanwhile announced £100m of spending on research and devel-

Transport decarbonisation plan: call for ideas is available at https://tinyurl.com/ybvqthlp

>> READ MORE?

More climate news

p16

E-scooter rental trials are ready, steady, go!

17 Road tunnel for Woodhead pass?

4 Edinburgh to end bus v tram battle

7 Brighton’s streetspace plans 22-23 John Dales

26 Tom Cohen: what do we want from walking routes?

TOP10

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

Neuron’s e-scooter

The Tees Valley Combined Authority looks set to launch Britain’s first e-scooter rental trial this month, with many more schemes set for launch before the end of August. In this issue LTT speaks to Neuron Mobility, one of the company’s hoping to win a share of the market, and hears from another operator, Lime, about the factors that can make the trials a success. See pages 10-11

9.

Study into more third rail electrification

TfL reviews office requirements as home working ‘here to stay’

Withdraw e-scooter trial plans, visually impaired urge councils

Bradbury joins Uber from TfL

Three new east-west rail arcs explored for EEH geography

Council submits busway claim

One metre social distancing unlikely to boost bus capacity

No cash to increase bus services in Wales

Huge drop in TfL’s streets spend

10. Brighton proposes mixed fleet of rental bikes and escooters most read LTT stories on

26 June - 09 July 2020

THE DFT this week invited the public to put forward ideas for decarbonising the transport sector to support the 2050 net zero greenhouse gas emissions target. A call for ideas asks how emissions can be cut from different modes as well as different journey types: local transport, longer journeys, and freight. The Department asks if people find it easy to make travel choices based of emissions, and what type of information could make them better informed. The DfT’s Net Zero Transport board met for the first time this week. Meeting virtually, it was attended by three ministers, including transport secretary Grant Shapps, along with 15 sector representatives such as environmental campaigners, academics and industry leaders. The board and the call for ideas will help inform the Government’s transport decarbonisation plan, which will be published later this year.

opment into Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology, which captures CO2 emissions directly from the air. “If successful, DAC technology could be deployed across the country to remove carbon from the air, helping sectors where it’s tough to decarbonise such as aviation,” said Downing Street. Dominic Cummings, the PM’s aide, is reportedly keen on the idea. The Government this week granted development consent to reopen Manston Airport in Kent as a freight airport, against the advice of the Planning Inspectorate, which raised concern about the economic need for the airport, and the carbon dioxide emissions of more flights. The deadline for responses to the DfT’s ideas call is 31 August.

PROVIDING INDEPENDENT NEWS & ANALYSIS SINCE 1989


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Using data and technology to reimagine transport

T

he response to Covid-19, both globally and more so in the UK, has been the perfect example of data-driven decision-making. Transport data formed a key part of this intelligence, with the monitoring of the movement of people and goods, and the impact of lockdown, being core to the Government’s daily briefings. The last three months have seen an unparalleled real-time application of datadriven-decision making. The basis of the UK Government’s response and action plan to tackle the Covid-19 crisis is like that of many other countries; it is built on scientific evidence and underpinned by the availability and analysis of extensive data. We have also seen a large increase in the penetration of digital services and the user acceptance of digital solutions. One example is how even farm shops have now started connecting to their customers through digital channels, and have pivoted their business models to ensure that they maintain customer touchpoints and expand their customer base. The wide adoption of grocery delivery serves as a good reminder of how even some basic transactions have now moved to digital channels. The hospitality industry was one of the most COVID-affected sectors, but food delivery

Using data and data analytics to support decision-making and network monitoring will enable better prediction and minimise the risk of unknowns

In the third of our Reopen, Recover, Reimagine series, Nitish Bakshi, a Technical manager in Atkins’ Intelligent Mobility and Smart Technology practice, looks at the important role that data and technology can play in helping us reimagine our transport network services such as JustEat, Deliveroo and Uber Eats provided some respite as they have seen a benefit through alternative sources of revenue. There was also a significant growth in the number of restaurants and pubs providing new online delivery services. As we gradually reopen from the lockdown and move into the recover and reimagine phases, we must continue to build on these trends and ensure that data and technology play an even more important role in how we reimagine the mobility ecosystem. The use of technology provides the opportunity to increase the reach of services to a large user base, and the ability to be agile in delivery and iterate solutions rapidly. Using data and data analytics to support decision-making and network monitoring will enable better prediction and minimise the risk of unknowns. We are at a critical juncture where the tide can turn either way; we can either continue the positive strides made towards promoting sustainable travel choices or, we could revert to a path of high carbon energy dependency. Should the latter happen, it would undermine many of our decarbonisation, congestion, air quality and healthy lifestyle targets. Though the focus needs to be on supporting a rapid economic recovery, there is a risk that future mobility solutions and services will have to take the back seat whilst we focus on getting things back together quickly. Transport authorities, governments and transport operators must use this as an opportunity to speed up solutions that would not only support the short-term recovery but also enable us to reimagine transport in the long-term. Data could provide the tool that authorities and operators need to have a better and realtime view of the network, and to react quickly as circumstances change. Technology also has the potential to promote sustainable behaviours and support a green recovery. Whilst it can sometimes be difficult to understand the role of data and technology in this process; we have broken this down into three key areas, all of which are important in ensuring a smooth transition to a new normal and building user confidence.

Gathering insight

It is essential that transport operators and local authorities continue to build accurate and insightful real-time information of the network. This would improve network management and help react effectively to relaxation in lockdown conditions, infection rates and usage patterns across the network.

n Network monitoring: Having a clear and detailed picture of the network in terms of capacity, journey times, key routes and congestion through developing real-time systems. Authorities should look at combining existing information with new data sources such as mobile phone data and artificial intelligence cameras to fill gaps. It is also important to explore if and how transport authorities and operators can derive further insights from existing datasets through better integration and correlation. n Capacity management: Social distancing is here to stay at least until we find a vaccine, and we have not designed mass transit systems to maintain social distances. But digital solutions, such as passenger counting systems onboard mass transit modes, can help in ensuring adequate supply is in place by smoothing activity through providing transparent information to users. Such systems will not only serve the purpose in the shortterm but in the long run, will help us assemble a more resilient network.

Keeping informed

We need to address the anxiety around users having information about the capacity, cleanliness and sanitisation of the services to help them rebuild trust in public transport and sustainable modes. This will help to keep the user informed and help them feel in control of their journeys and hence support the transition back into the network. n Customer Information: There is a strong user sentiment that safety in public transport modes is a major concern. Information about capacity, last cleaning and other associated information can help


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ADVERTORIAL 3

Data and technology will play an important role in how we reimagine the mobility ecosystem play a vital role. With the number and frequency of changes occurring, it becomes even more critical to provide accurate and up-to-date information to users through proper and trusted channels. The key is to ensure that we integrate these customer information channels and make them available to a wide audience and third parties. This would ensure the information reaches a broader customer base and there is a single version of the truth across different platforms. n Real-time updates and disruption information: Building on customer information is key to keep users informed as they make their journeys. In a time where the situation is changing rapidly, it is important to provide information to customers about their journeys to ease travel anxiety.

Making it easy

One of the main arguments of promoting sustainable choices among users is to make sustainable mode choices as easy as using private cars. This is especially true in the current scenario where a lot of changes in lifestyle have happened and we could consider that after almost three months in lockdown people are starting afresh. n Digital delivery of services: Building on the increased dependency and uptake of digital solutions, starting to accelerate the delivery of more services through digital means should be a key focus. Digital services have a higher penetration rate, react better to changes and thus provide a more agile tool. Transport authorities should focus on the roll-out of digital services not only to their users but also take the digital transformation journey themselves such as providing open data platforms, integrated ticketing and payment solutions, real-time information services and smart parking solutions. n Smart ticketing (Contactless/AccountBased): Reducing the handling of cash and maintaining social distance could be a challenge on public transport modes. We should deploy Smart Ticketing

solutions to minimise this. This would also increase throughput and help to reduce queuing and congestion at stations and bus stops. n Mobility as a Service: Many have often viewed MaaS as a solution with the potential to compete against the convenience and ease of travelling through private cars. Faced with a situation where the trends show that people would be more willing to pick up their car keys instead of using sustainable modes, it becomes even more important to accelerate the journey towards MaaS adoption. All the solutions detailed above form the foundations of the steps required to build a MaaS system. It is essential that transport authorities and operators explore further how they could enable seamless and integrated travel within their network which would make it easier for users to navigate a complex mobility ecosystem and provide them with confidence to use mass transit modes. n Accelerating autonomy: Speeding up the deployment of autonomous systems could further minimise the need for social contact. We should also look at freight deliveries as one of the first use cases for the potential deployment of autonomous solutions, i.e. we could specifically explore last-mile deliveries. Local Authorities

The lesson is clear: this period has shown what is possible and allowed us a taste of the benefits of reduced traffic and letting nature take back some control

should further explore how we can use autonomous vehicles to deliver certain services such as demand-responsive shuttles or utility vehicles. These would not only provide short-term benefits but would also test the deployment of automated vehicles in real-world scenarios further supporting the R&D into autonomous vehicles.

These solutions not only have the potential to help us quickly recover from the current Covid-19 crisis, but they can also support bringing back the numbers and increase the confidence required to sustain Public Transport. They can also help us reimagine and support the evolution of mobility in our cities by keeping a customer-centric view of how to make travel easier whilst seizing the opportunity we now have, to build a stronger and smarter transport network. n Atkins are the headline sponsor of the rearranged SWHA Highway to Zero Carbon conference which now takes place on 10 February 2021 at STEAM, Swindon. All delegate bookings for the original date remain valid. For further information please visit: www.highwaytozerocarbon.co.uk


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4 News

West Yorks ticketing company ‘in jeopardy’

TICKETING

WEST YORKSHIRE’S public transport ticketing company could be in jeopardy if public transport use does not recover strongly this autumn, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority has warned. The West Yorkshire Ticketing Company Ltd is a joint venture company owned by the combined authority and transport operators that manages the MCard smart public transport products. The company’s website says the not-for-profit partnership sells about £32m of tickets annually. Dave Pearson, WYCA’s director of transport and property services, told councillors that MCard sales had been “negligible” since March and many ticket holders had requested refunds. “Customers have been offered an extension of the duration of their ticket so they get the benefits deferred until they return to travelling to work. Whilst many have taken this offer, others have requested cash refunds. “The cost pressure of refunds is manageable at present,” said Pearson. “However, if sales revenue does not return in the autumn, the trading position of West Yorkshire Ticketing Company Ltd becomes in jeopardy.”

In Brief

Free parking to boost York economy The City of York Council is to offer free short-term parking in many council-owned car parks in July and August to encourage people to return to shops, cafes and restuarants. During July, two hours of free parking will be offered to people paying for parking using the Ringo app. One hour of free parking will be offered in August. The policy will not apply to car parks in the very heart of the city, nor to the Bishopthorpe Road car park.

£100m for local road schemes The Government has announced £100m for local road schemes in England. The funding has been awarded to 29 projects, including major maintenance schemes.

Edinburgh to end competition between its tram and bus firms PUBLIC TRANSPORT

by Andrew Forster

THE CITY of Edinburgh Council plans to end competition between its tram and bus compnaies by creating a single company. Municipally-owned Lothian Buses has continued to compete with the Edinburgh Tram on the airport to city centre corridor since tram services were introduced in 2014. In the absence of reform, the council believes the competitive tensions between the businesses will worsen when the tram extension to Newhaven in the north of the city opens. The tram route, which is currently under construction, runs down the heavily-bussed Leith Walk. Edinburgh has three armslength transport companies: Transport for Edinburgh Limited, formed in 2014 as a parent company; wholly-owned subsidiary Edinburgh Trams

Limited; Lothian Buses Limited in which Edinburgh holds a 91 per cent stage. The remaining nine per cent of shares are owned by Midlothian (5.5 per cent), East Lothian (3 per cent), and West Lothian (0.5 per cent) councils. Paul Lawrence, Edinburgh’s director of place, told councillors this week: “These arrangements have delivered high quality public transport in the city, but inefficiencies within the operating model have led to challenges

Tram-bus: one owner, still rivals

regarding collaboration and integration across and between them. “The structure encourages an environment where the transport companies are partly competing in the same market and it is anticipated that this will increase over time.” Councillors were presented with a proposal for a “rapid restructuring” to create a single transport company. “This option would put integration and improving outcomes for the travelling public at the heart of

public transport delivery and would see an end to the competition between tram and bus at a local level,” said Lawrence. It would also maximise operational savings. The council also wants to review the Lothian Buses network. “The current bus network is 100 years old and while this has served the city well in the past it now needs to be recast and modernised using best practice and external expertise as is being done in other cities such as Dublin,” said Lawrence. “Redesigning the network is an opportunity to review the evidence for public transport demand, and to design a network that meets those demands most efficiently.” Edinburgh will consult the three minority shareholding councils in Lothian Buses about the new structure. The city’s cycle hire scheme will also come within the remit of the new company.

Solent model upgrade Office workers want delayed by Covid-19 home working to stay

MODELLING

SOLENT TRANSPORT is delaying a major update to its sub-regional transport model (SRTM) because Covid-19 has fundamentally altered travel patterns. The mutli-modal landuse/transport interaction model was developed in 2010 by a team led by SYSTRA, and went through an extensive update in 2015. The core modelled area is Southampton, Portsmouth, Isle of Wight and parts of south Hampshire county – the four authorities that make up the Solent Transport Joint Committee. Solent Transport manager Conrad Haigh told last week’s committee meeting that the model required a major update by the end of 2021 for it to remain compliant with DfT guidance on modelling and scheme assessment criteria. “Whilst a do-minimum update would achieve continued compliance at the lowest possible cost... more recent developments in modelling technology and software offer the opportunity for a major update to create a more flexible model that could be used more effectively and efficiently by the partners,” he said.

Haigh said the cost of the minimum update was likely to be between £500,000 and £800,000, whereas “a more significant redevelopment could require an estimated initial outlay of £1m£1.2m based on high level estimates from one potential provider”. But Haigh said Covid-19 had presented new risks around the timing of the model update. “Major short, medium and probably long-term changes to travel patterns are expected to occur. A ‘new normal’ is anticipated to slowly become established, particularly once the pandemic is over. The timescale for this is very uncertain but is unlikely to be before 2021. “Until this ‘new normal’ is well established, any data collection to inform the major model update will not capture representative travel volumes, flows, patterns etc in the ‘new normal’ and is likely to be of limited long-term value. “Therefore, we recommend that the major SRTM update is deferred for at least a year, in light of the Covid-19 issues and related traffic levels, and that we continue to operate the current model until such time as an update can be recommended.”

TRAVEL BEHAVIOUR

MANY OFFICE workers want to continue working from home after the Covid-19 pandemic recedes, a survey suggests. A survey of 1,500 UK adults by consultant SYSTRA found that 29 per cent of office workers who expect to stay in the same or similar role no longer want to spend any time working from the office. Of those that commute by rail or bus, this increases to 32 per cent. Fifty-five per cent of UK workers would like to work more flexibly, including changing their start/finish times or working their hours across fewer days. Fifty-nine per cent thought it likely their employer would let them make the changes they want. Evelyn Robertson, SYSTRA’s research lead, said: “These findings suggest that travel behaviour may permanently be affected by the impact of Covid-19.” Considering the implications for public transport, Neill Birch, SYSTRA’s director of public transport, said: “Public transport is well overdue a ticketing revolution. Operators will need to carefully consider how their tick-

eting products will appeal to a passenger base demanding more flexibility. “Pricing will need to be carefully managed to cover peaks, which may be certain days of the week, not just times of the day.” A continuing resistance to using public transport is revealed in the latest Transport Focus research. It employs Populus to quiz 2,000 different people each week during the pandemic, to track attitudes to travelling. The survey for the end of June found that 44 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement, ‘Once restrictions are relaxed I will drive more for journeys where I would have used public transport before’. Forty-eight per cent said they were more likely to walk and 27 per cent were more likely to cycle for journeys that they would previously have made by public transport. Presented with the statement ‘I think my job will be home-based in the future, with limited travel to my workplace,’ 13 per cent strongly agreed, 24 per cent tended to agree. Travel during Covid-19 track research week 9 is available at https://tinyurl.com/ya4vzozn


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News 5

Operators raise bus capacity to 50% after risk assessment

BUSES

by Andrew Forster

BUS OPERATORS across Britain are expected to raise vehicle passenger capacity to 50 per cent in the coming days after a review concluded that one passenger per row is compatible with the Government’s Covid-19 social distancing advice. Most major operators have restricted capacity to approximately 25 per cent of a standard double deck bus during twometre social distancing. Passengers are typically asked to leave a row of seats empty in front and behind them. The Government reduced the social distancing advice from two metres to ‘one metre plus’ in England on 4 July. The Scottish Government has made public transport one of the settings where one metre will suffice, while retaining the two metre advice elsewhere. The Welsh Government was expected to announced one metre distancing for public transport as LTT closed for press. Operators initially said the reduction to one metre would make little difference to vehicle capacity (LTT 26 Jun). The key

The change will improve the economics of bus operations

constraint is the seat ‘pitches’ on buses that are typically less than one-metre, with a minimum of 72cm between seat-backs. But a risk assessment by the Confederation of Passenger Transport now makes the case for passengers sitting in each row of double seats. “Taken in the round, the combination of on-bus mitigation measures + face coverings + short duration of passenger journeys + low background infection rates enables an appropriate risk environment for passengers against the context of national guidance ‘one metre plus’,” says the CPT. “National sector specific advice confirms that in these circumstances, the one metre distance is

not an absolute requirement.” Face coverings have been mandatory for public transport in England since 15 June and in Scotland since 22 June. The Welsh Government is expected to announce mandatory face coverings on public transport alongside its move to one metre social distancing. The CPT advice relies in part on previous advice from Public Health England that, to minimise transmission risk, people should not come within two metres of someone outside their household for more than 15 minutes. “Data from a number of operators indicates that the majority of passengers spend less than 15 minutes on the bus or that the

average journey time, particularly in urban operations, is around 15 minutes,” says the CPT. “On most services, buses will not be busy for extended periods with routes typically experiencing increased loadings as they move toward a major attractor such as a town or city centre. “These factors combine to mean that in most cases, passengers will not need to sit within one metre of other passengers for more than 15 minutes.” The CPT adds that operators have taken out of use seats where passengers face each other within two metres. “Therefore seated customers are all facing in the same direction and side-by-side contact should only occur with members of the same household. A no standing policy will be maintained.” The risk assessment requires bus windows to be kept open. The CPT has advised members to observe any localised lockdown restrictions. They will therefore retain the circa 25 per cent capacity rule in Leicester for the time being. The city became the first place in Britain to go into a local lockdown last week, amid concern that it is a hotspot for Covid-19 infections.

First pledges end to diesel as CPT Franchises demanded calls for green bus fund revamp BUSES

FIRSTGROUP HAS pledged to purchase no more diesel buses after 2022. Its announcement came as the Confederation of Passenger Transport called for a new funding model to deliver green buses. FirstGroup said this week it did not plan to purchase any new diesel buses after December 2022 and would operate an entirely zero-emission bus fleet by 2035. The CPT’s call for a new funding model for green buses reflects the fact that Covid-19 has destroyed bus company investment plans that would normally deliver about 2,750 new vehicles a year. The industry body said the virus also meant the Government’s traditional model of grant funding to support operator purchases of low or zero emission buses was defunct because it required “significant upfront investment from operators”. In May LTT reported com-

ments by Oxfordshire County Council that, because of Covid19, bus operators were unable to give financial commitments in the council’s bid to the DfT’s AllElectric Bus Town competition (LTT 29 May). Oxfordshire said other authorities were likely to face the same problem with their bids. The CPT recommends a leasing model, whereby operators would pay a fee in exchange for long-term use of the zero emission bus. The purchase of the buses would be financed through £2bn of Government and private investment. “By leveraging in an equal amount of private finance, the Government funding would go further and speed up the transition to a zero emission bus fleet,” it said. “Under this model £1bn of Government money could secure at least 4,000 green buses for England over the next four years.” Boris Johnson announced funding to deliver 4,000 new zero

emission buses in February (LTT 21 Feb). The CPT also wants the Government to provide at least £200m to help meet the cost of depot infrastructure upgrades for electric and/or hydrogen buses. Electric buses meant “fundamentally altering depot layouts to allow simultaneous charging of the whole fleet”, it said. “We have estimated the cost of upgrading a single depot of 50-plus vehicles at around £1.5m-£2m and believe there are approximately 100 key bus depots in urban areas, which would be central to the transition to zero emission urban operations. “This suggests an investment of £150m-£200m is needed for connection of key urban depots. “There will also be additional, unknown supplier connection charges, which vary from place to place and can be quite substantial.” The CPT says the costs associated with converting depots for hydrogen are estimated to be £100,000-£250,000 per bus.

BUSES

BUS OPERATOR Abellio has called for the swift introduction of franchising in the UK. Alan Pilbeam, its deputy managing director and chief operating officer, told Route One magazine that franchising would give councils a bigger stake in the industry and encourage them to install more bus priority. He said the industry continued to focus on a small number of successes from deregulation. “If the industry points to a few successes – that it has won a few battles but is still losing the war – and thinks that is convincing, my counterargument is simple. The commercial market has not worked. It’s time to take time out and do something different. “We should bolden our expectations through franchising.” The process should involve big, bold goals, he said, such as zero emission fleets. Abellio is owned by Dutch state rail operator NS.

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 Commercial Director Daniel Simpson Tel: 0207 091 7861 E-mail: daniel@landor.co.uk Advertising and Recruitment Sales Executive Jason Conboy Tel: 0207 091 7895 E-mail: jit@landor.co.uk Subscriptions Christina Pierre (Mondays-Thursdays 10:00-17:00) Tel: 0207 091 7959 E-mail: subs@landor.co.uk Subscribe on line TransportXtra.com/shop Accounts Irina Cocks Tel: 0207 091 7854 Registered office 359 Kennington Lane London SE11 5QY LTT is available on subscription only. The annual UK subscription rate is £130 including dispatch by first class post and supply of special supplements. The overseas rate is £180 for Europe and £220 for the rest of the world. Printed by Stephens & George Print Group Goat Mill Road Dowlais Merthyr Tydfil CF48 3TD Tel: 01685 388888 www.stephensandgeorge.co.uk ISSN 0962 6220. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without the written permission of the publisher. LTT is published by Landor LINKS Ltd. © Landor LINKS Ltd 2019 www.landor.co.uk

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6 News

More cash for English councils

FUNDING

THE GOVERNMENT has announced another £500m of support for local government in England to cope with the impact of Covid-19, and further assistance to partially cover lost income from parking. The £500m takes the total Covid-19 support to councils in England to £4.3bn. The Government also announced a new scheme to compensate councils for losses, over and above the first 5 per cent of planned income from sales, fees and charges, at a rate of 75p in every pound. Many councils have lost huge amounts of car parking income. Prior to the news of the new funding, Leeds City Council revealed an updated estimated budget gap of £95.6m in 2020/21 and £117.8m in 2021/22. The latter was projected to be £52.2m before Covid. Councillors will receive an emergency budget for 2020/21 this summer.

In Brief

GLA may quit City Hall The Greater London Authority may leave City Hall on the south bank of the Thames and move to the Crystal building in the Royal Docks to save money. London mayor Sadiq Khan has promised a consultation on the move, saying the change could save £55m over five years.

Cash aid for Bucks bus operators Bus operators who provide some school services in Buckinghamshire will receive a proportion of the council’s Covid-19 discretionary business grant. The Government grant, announced on 1 May, is worth £4.59m to support businesses that were not eligible for bespoke sector grant programmes. “The local authority will exercise its discretion and use a small proportion of this funding for grant payments to local bus companies operating ‘closed commercial’ school routes as these operators are unable to access any support apart from the Government’s job retention scheme,” said Buckinghamshire Council. Operators could receive up to £25,000.

DfT explores further round of emergency cash for bus & rail

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

by Andrew Forster

THE BUS industry is in talks with the DfT about an extension to the emergency grant funding that has paid for service enhancements as England comes out of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. The DfT’s first £166.8m 12week Covid-19 Bus Service Support Grant (CBSSG) paid operators to provide a basic service at the height of lockdown. It ended on 8 June. The £254m 12-week Covid19 Bus Service Support Grant Restart (CBSSG Restart) scheme was introduced on 12 May (the two grants running side-by-side for a period). It is paying operators to restore service levels to near normal mileage at a time when social distancing constrains vehicle capacity and passenger numbers remain far below pre-Covid levels. Patronage is slowly recovering, although the picture varies between markets. Some operators are now carrying in the region of 30 per cent of normal levels. The 12-week CBSSG Restart is due to end at the beginning of

Rail: extended support

August but one operator told LTT that the DfT understood that a further round of support would be necessary. “Even with 50 per cent vehicle capacity with social distancing, at 80 per cent of mileage it will need some extension. The DfT get that, there’s a common understanding between us.” Local authority leaders in the conurbations have written to transport secretary Grant Shapps calling for any end to emergency funding to be tapered. They have also repeated calls for the Government to pay any new round of grant to combined

authorities who would then administer it to operators. The bus industry opposes such a reform. “The current system has clearly worked,” said an operator. “Why would you change a functioning arrangement?” The Government is also considering extending the current emergency arrangements for the railways beyond September. The DfT suspended rail franchises in March for at least six months. A reduced timetable has operated across the network since then, though services are gradually being restored as movement restrictions ease. Some operators introduced additional services this week. Patronage remains far below pre-Covid levels, leaving a huge revenue shortfall for the Government to fill. The additional cost to the taxpayer has not been revealed but is known to dwarf that of the support for the bus industry. LTT has submitted a Freedom of Information request to the DfT about the railway expenditure. West Yorkshire Combined Authority officers reported last week: “The current emergency government funding under emergency measures agreements

currently ends in September, it is understood that an extension of this is under consideration.” Northern was due to raise its service levels from 60 per cent of normal to 68 per cent on 6 July, adding peak services into urban centres including Leeds. TransPennine Express was increasing its services from 70 per cent to 85 per cent of normal on the same date. It was due to increase train length from three to six carriages whenever possible on the busy ManchesterHuddersfield-Leeds corridor, to help with social distancing. From 6 July Cross Country was operating 85 per cent of its normal daily seating capacity, up from about 55 per cent in March. The operator is running fewer trains than normal but running some trains at double the normal length to help with social distancing. The company has removed some station calls to facilitate social distancing and ensure timekeeping is maintained with longer boarding and alighting times. Affected stations include Winchester and Brockenhurst in the south. East Midlands Railway is now running 13 of its 14 peak time arrivals into London St Pancras.

Fall in business rates Boroughs back road could hit TfL’s coffers charging for capital

FUNDING

TRANSPORT FOR London could face further financial pressures from an expected fall in the capital’s business rates revenues because of Covid-19. London mayor Sadiq Khan has said the Greater London Authority group, of which TfL is a part, faces a £493m budget shortfall over the next two years under a “reasonable worst case scenario” because of predicted losses of business rates and council tax revenues resulting from Covid-19. Business rates make an important contribution to TfL’s finances. The mayor’s budget guidance to the GLA group, published at the end of June, provides a breakdown of the savings that will be required over the next two years if the Government does not come up with additional funding. It states: “Based on the current

‘reasonable worst-case’ estimate of seven per cent losses in council tax revenues and reductions of 11 per cent in business rates income by March 2022, TfL will have to save £75.5m in 2020/21 and then £211.9m in 2021/22, as its contribution to the total £493m savings required. “As over three-quarters of business rate income is provided to TfL, the mayor has determined that TfL should bear a proportionate share of the overall losses of business rates income anticipated in 2020/21 and 2021/22. “The actual figure will therefore be dependent on projections of actual business rates income, including the impact of any Government support for the business rates system.” In May the Government provided TfL with a £1.095bn grant and £505m loan facility to keep transport services running until September (LTT 29 May).

ROAD CHARGING

LONDON COUNCILS is pressing the mayor and Transport for London to pursue a London-wide road pricing scheme as part of a green recovery from Covid-19. London Councils’ leaders’ committee this week endorsed eight proposals drawn up by officers. One is to “radically reform the focus of the road network in London by working with the mayor and TfL to introduce a London-wide road pricing scheme that can underpin fair contributions by people using our roads, and supporting significant enhancement of strategic interconnection of walking and cycling routes across borough boundaries”. It proposes the establishment of a working group of TfL, the Greater London Authority and borough officers in the first instance to develop some suit-

able options based on work already undertaken by TfL and bodies such as the Centre for London think tank. TfL is currently conducting a road user charging strategic options study looking at whether distance driven, emissions, time and road danger can be incorporated into charges (LTT 12 Jun). The Centre for London published a report in April last year recommending distance-based road charging for the capital (LTT 10 May). TfL provided input to that work. London Councils also calls on the Treasury to devolve Vehicle Excise Duty receipts from London to the mayor, “to support this refreshed and holistic approach to fair road user charging”. Since April VED receipts in England have been ringfenced for the National Roads Fund, chiefly targeted at the Highways England network.


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News 7

Brighton sets out next steps of roadspace reallocation plan STREETS

by Andrew Forster

BRIGHTON AND Hove City Council has outlined a package of roadspace reallocation projects in key parts of the city centre and on the seafront. In April, the council introduced an experimental closure of Madeira Drive to motor vehicles (except for access), to allow space for people to exercise and make essential journeys while physical distancing. Madeira Drive runs along Brighton’s seafront east of the pier. The future of the closure is the subject of hot debate. Brighton’s full council meeting later this month will receive petitions arguing for the road to be reopened to vehicles and for it to be permanently closed. Closing the road permanently will lead to a full-year loss of parking income for the council of £1.3m. “A full closure is difficult to maintain in the long-term with the need to facilitate the development at Black Rock and access for Blue Badge holders,” the council adds. A plan is being prepared to reopen the road but with more space for walking and cycling than existed before lockdown. “It is possible to introduce a scheme that would provide improved walking and cycling along the road, re-open 70-80 per cent of parking, and allow it to be reopened,” says the council. This would introduce a oneway access from the Aquarium roundabout to the bottom of

How the permanent cycle route on the A259 could look

Dukes Mound and create more space for walking and cycling by removing the parking on the southern side of the road. Echelon parking would remain on the northern side. The council is implementing changes to the operation of standalone pedestrian crossings. Traditionally, the green man has been activated either when there is no traffic approaching or a maximum period of wait time is reached. In future they will respond immediately a pedestrian button is pressed, unless it has just operated. Temporary cycle lanes implemented on the Old Shoreham Road in May have attracted a mixed response. Cycle ‘wands’ are be installed at conflict points and to stop vehicles using the lanes to undertake other vehicles, particularly on the approach to junctions. The council has drawn up new plans to improve cycle facilities along the seafront A259 road from the Aquarium Roundabout

westward to Hove. The existing footway cycle lane along the road between the Aquarium roundabout and Hove Lawns is narrow and pedestrians and cyclist come into conflict at a number of points. A new cycle lane will be created by reallocating the westbound nearside lane from vehicles to cyclists. This will allow the existing footway cycle lane to be used by cyclists travelling eastbound only. The scheme will extend to Fourth Avenue in Hove. Parking along the route will be reduced by 60 per cent. In a second phase, the council wants to extend cycle facilities scheme up to the West Sussex County Council boundary, where they could linking up with a county council scheme. Implementing the initial scheme on a temporary basis will provide an opportunity to monitor the impact on traffic movements across the city. “As the Interim Local Cycling and

Walking Implementation Plan identifies, this cycle route is key to unlocking active travel across the city,” says the council. “The feasibility of a high-quality permanent scheme has also been commissioned.” The permanent scheme would be an on-carriageway two-way cycle lane from Aquarium Roundabout to the council’s western boundary. Consultant the Project Centre has worked on the design (see image). “The permanent scheme would require significant funding due to the need for major changes to the existing road layout,” the council says. “The guidance and timeframes for the DfT’s Tranche 2 Active Travel Emergency Fund have not yet been announced but with further development it is possible that the permanent scheme could be included in a future bid submission.” The council is also to introduce traffic restrictions in The Lanes, a set of narrow streets in The Old Town district. A previous scheme to remove cars from the area was stopped after it went to a public inquiry following objections to loading bay removals. Two options have been identified that remove cars from the Old Town but allow cycling and improve walking by widening footways. Loading, Blue Badge Holders and private access will continue to be allowed at all times but other traffic will be covered by a 24-hour restriction implemented via an experimental traffic order.

Pop-up cycle lanes for Birmingham roads STREETS

BIRMINGHAM CITY Council has given more details of the temporary traffic schemes it plans to implement with DfT emergency funding and says the projects could be made permanent with the second round of DfT grant. Proposals include pop-up cycle lanes on seven routes; reallocating space in Moseley and Stirchley local centres; street closures to create low traffic neighbourhoods in Lozells and Kings Heath; and more cycle parking at rail stations. A pop-up cycle lane will be installed on the Sutton Coldfield ring road. The two-way segregated cycle route will be

Brassington Avenue, Sutton Coldfield: cycle lane plan

implemented on Brassington Avenue, a heavily trafficked oneway section of the ring road that serves as a barrier to active travel. Birmingham says the scheme will begin to deliver the vision of

the Royal Sutton Coldfield regeneration partnership’s masterplan, which includes remodelling the ring road to prioritise active travel modes over the private car. Another of the pop-up cycle lanes will be implemented on the A45 between the city centre and Small Heath. Light segregation will be provided between Bordesley Circus in the city centre and Small Heath, taking away road space from general traffic and removing some on-street parking. Pop-up cycle lanes are also planned for the A38 corridor between Selly Oak and Northfield. A two-way light segregated cycle route will be created from Selly Oak Triangle to Dale

Road, combined with a contraflow cycle lane on Dale Road. These facilities will connect with the existing A38 ‘blue’ cycle route with links beyond to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, University of Birmingham and the city centre. Councils receiving cash from tranche 1 of the DfT’s Emergency Active Travel Funding must deliver schemes within eight weeks of receipt of the grant. The West Midland Combined Authority’s tranche 1 allocation is £3.4m and its provisional allocation of tranche 2 funding is £13.8m. Birmingham’s provisional allocations are £1.0m in tranche 1 and £4.1m in tranche 2.

New criteria for tables and chairs STREETS

THE CITY of London Corporation has published new criteria for deciding whether restaurants and bars should be granted licences to place tables and chairs on streets while social distancing guidelines remain in place. The reopening of bars and restaurants in England last weekend presents challenges for councils because licences granted for tables and chairs will reduce footway space for pedestrians. The City of London Corporation originally looked likely to rule out granting licences during social disdaining (LTT 12 Jun) but now says licence applications will be reviewed on a case-bycase basis according to five additional principles: • the need to support the economy • safety first • no privatisation of public space • having regard to space required to queue outside premises • having regard to new or existing public seating nearby The specific criteria for these principles include things such as the width of the highway, social distancing guidelines, pedestrian footfall, and the presence of street furniture. “Many of the streets in the city are narrow with footpaths that only have the minimum permitted 2.2 metres remaining (the tables and chairs policy requirement) once tables and chairs are in place,” said Peter Davenport, the City’s licensing manager. “In these locations, officers would not recommend that the tables and chairs licence is reinstated while social distancing requirements are in place.” With social distancing guidelines of one metre, officers believe that 40 premises could be permitted to trade with tables and chairs. “Officers will explore the potential to expand this number by reallocating carriageway space for tables and chairs, where it is safe and practical to do so,” said Davenport. The City suspended all 138 of the annual tables and chairs licences when the country went into lockdown in March.


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8 News

Emissionbased parking charges PARKING

THE LONDON Borough of Hounslow is proposing to introduce emissions-based parking charges for on- and off-street parking, and parking charges in Hounslow town centres on Sundays. Hounslow already has an emissions-based element in residential parking permits, with a £50 diesel levy and free permits for lower emission vehicles. The council says extending the principle to on- and offstreet parking, as well as business parking permits, is a “logical extension” to support its climate emergency and air quality objectives. Three tariff rates will apply to on- and off-street parking, with the lowest rate for zero emission vehicles and an intermediate rate for low emission vehicles. The definition of a low emission vehicle is 75gCO2/km or below (the consultation had proposed 50gCO2/km). Low emission vehicles will pay broadly the same as now. Vehicles with higher emissions will pay more. Charges for up to 30 minutes in an on-street bay will be 80p for zero emission, £1.20 for low emission, and £1.60 for other vehicles. For two hours the rates will be £2.40, £3.60 and £4.80 respectively. For five hours they will be £8, £12, and £16. The discounts will only be available to people paying by phone. Pay and display machines cannot distinguish different vehicle emission classes. The low emission criterion for business permits will be set at 100g/CO2km because there are fewer low emission commercial vehicles available on the market. Parking charges will apply in Hounslow town centre between 11.00 and 17.00. The consultation had proposed a longer period of coverage, 08.00 to 18.30. Implementation of the changes is planned for January.

Air pollution ‘likely’ to worsen Covid symptoms – COMEAP

AIR QUALITY

by Andrew Forster

PeoPle exPoSeD to poor air quality may be more susceptible to severe symptoms of Covid-19 but the linkage has not been demonstrated, health experts have told the Government. the Government asked the Air Quality expert Group (AQeG) to report on how Covid-19 has affected air pollution and if there is evidence that the severity of Covid-19 symptoms is related to air pollution exposure. the AQeG referred the latter question to the Committee on the Medical effects of Air Pollutants (CoMeAP). CoMeAP reports: “long-term exposure to air pollution is associated with increased morbidity and mortality from chronic diseases, some of which have also been identified as increasing the risk of severe Covid-19 symptoms. “Given this, it would not be surprising if there was a link between exposure to air pollution (past or present) and the occurrence or severity of Covid-19 infection.” CoMeAP says several unpublished studies have examined this effect, and have reported associations with past exposure to both

PM2.5 and no 2. But it adds: “there is currently no consensus on the pollutant responsible or the magnitude of any effect. Such studies require very careful control for confounding influences, and further work is needed before there can be confidence in their findings.” CoMeAP says most studies into possible links have not been “subjected to the rigours of scientific peer review”. “two ecological epidemiological studies have investigated the association between long-term average concentrations of air pollutants and Covid-19 mortality in the uS. these reported associations with different traffic-related pollutants. “Wu et al (2020) found a link with fine particle (PM2.5) concentrations while liang et al (2020) found mortality to be associated with no 2 , but the association with PM2.5 was statistically non-significant.” CoMeAP remarks: “Attempts to control for confounding by other risk factors have been made in both of these studies, to some extent, but it is nonetheless difficult to rule out residual confounding because many of the risk factors for disease transmission and severity are likely to be correlated with concentrations

of air pollutants. “A number of other studies which report correlations without appropriate attempts to adjust for confounding are also emerging in the literature but, because of their limitations, are not informative. “In summary, although there is, as yet, no clear empirical evidence that exposure to air pollutants increases the likelihood or severity of Covid-19 infection, knowledge of the impacts of air pollution on health suggests that this is likely. In addition, infection may temporarily increase subsequent responses to air pollution, in those with preexisting illnesses.” the AQeG reports that the most significant changes to uK air quality during Covid-19 have been to urban nitrogen dioxide concentrations. “once weather effects are accounted for, mean reductions in urban nox averaged over the lockdown period considered have been typically 30-40 per cent, with mean no2 reductions of 2030 per cent. “In general, nox and no 2 reductions have been greater at roadside than urban background sites. these reductions would typically correspond to decreases in concentrations of 10-20μgm3 if expressed relative to annual

averages. “this clearly reflects the direct impact of local traffic reduction at sites where traffic is the dominant contribution to nox and no2.” looking ahead, the AQeG says the economic harm of Covid-19 could slow the vehicle replacement cycle and so delay expected air quality improvements. “new car sales have fallen substantially in recent months and if they remain low this will impact on the future rate of vehicle fleet turnover, slowing down the penetration of lower emitting vehicles in the fleet, resulting in larger emissions in future years than originally projected.” For fine particulates (PM2.5), the AQeG reports: “Meteorological conditions have led to higher PM2.5 during lockdown than the average experienced in equivalent calendar periods from previous years.”

Estimation of changes in air pollution emissions, concentrations and exposure during the Covid-19 outbreak in the UK – rapid evidence review is available at https://tinyurl.com/y9637dn3

Electric buses take to Kent floats electric Birmingham’s streets bus fleet for Fastrack BUSES

nAtIonAl exPReSS West Midlands has taken delivery of its first fleet of double deck electric buses. nineteen vehicles will serve the number 6 route between Solihull and Birmingham city centre. electric vehicle charging facilities have been installed at the company’s yardley Wood depot. the vehicles have been manufactured by Alexander Dennis ltd (ADl) and ByD europe. they charge up in four hours, and national express says they can run for 190 kilometres (119 miles) between charges. the operator has invested £11m in the initiative, with the Government contributing £3m. Zenobe energy has supplied an end-to-end eV system, including the batteries, the charging system at yardley Wood, and a software platform

to optimise energy use. national express Group announced in February that it would not purchase another diesel bus for its uK operations, which cover the West Midlands and Dundee. Its ambition is for the entire fleet to be zero emission by 2030. the company also wants to switch to electric coaches and in February said the first electric coach would be in service next year. last May Zenobe announced its £120m funding for fleet operators to help boost available funding and bring electric vehicles. Its first project brought nine electric buses to Guildford, in partnership with Surrey County Council and Stagecoach. Zenobe has also helped introduce electric buses in newport and london. It will launch electric buses in leeds in the coming months.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Kent County Council is procuring two frameworks for electric vehicle charging, one specifically for bus infrastructure. the description of the bus charging lot says: “Initially there is a requirement for an electric vehicle infrastructure that accommodates the power requirements and charging profile of Fastrack services.” the Fastrack network features two routes. Route A connects Dartford and Bluewater shopping centre. Route B runs between Gravesend and temple Hill via Dartford/Bluewater/ebbsfleet. Part of the network is a dedicated busway. Services are operated by Arriva. the other lot covers electric vehicle charging points. Kent has plans to install points at an initial 156 sites. Suppliers will be expected to fund “most of the works” and agree revenue sharing

Fastrack: electric vision?

with the council. the framework will be available for the six other members in the Se7 grouping of local authorities to use: Medway, Brighton & Hove, east Sussex, West Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire. Kent may procure eV chargepoints on behalf of district and borough councils in the county. the framework is due to commence on 1 September and end on 31 August 2024.


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News 9

In Brief

Luton Council hit by airport’s Covid-19 financial troubles

AIRPORTS

by Andrew Forster

LUTON BOROUGH Council and its airport London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL) are facing huge financial pressures caused by the collapse of air travel during the Covid-19 pandemic. The council owns 100 per cent of the shares in the airport and normally receives a substantial dividend payment that helps pay for council services. Covid-19 has prompted the airport’s board to cancel dividend payments for 2020/21 and 2021/22. This has prompted the council to launch a major cost-cutting programme, including job losses (see below). Luton Borough Council had expected the airport to pay a dividend of £16m in 2020/21. The cancellation of the payment accounts for the lion’s share of the council’s forecast £22.2m funding shortfall due to Covid-19. “The council’s position as 100 per cent owner of a major airport is unique amongst local authorities,” Dev Gopal, Luton’s service director, finance and audit, told councillors. “The nearest equivalent is those authorities who are shareholders in the Manchester Airport Group, but that comprises ten authorities between them owning 65 per cent of the operating company.” LLAL also wants the council to approve a new loan to stabilise the company. The airport’s financial circumstances have been adversely affected by a number of other factors in addition to Covid19. “The stabilisation of the company [LLAL] will require it to borrow £59.6m,” said Gopal.

Luton Airport: no dividend

The council has been the company’s sole source of borrowing. “If Luton Borough Council is unable to support the stabilisation of LLAL, then the gross income from LLAL included in the council’s budget – currently £43.7m for 2020/21 – is at risk, and not just for the next few

years,” he added. The £43.7m comprises debenture interest of £24.6m; a dividend of £16m; and rental income of £3.1m. This is offset by £10.3m of debt financing, resulting in net income to the council of £33.5m. One of the non-Covid factors impacting LLAL’s finances is the rising cost of building DART, the Direct Air Rail Transport rapid transit link connecting Luton Airport Parkway railway station and the airport. It will replace the current bus shuttle operation. Gopal said DART’s cost had risen by £18m above the level covered by existing debenture loans from the council. DART is scheduled to open in 2021 and is at an advanced stage of construction. Bridges, lengthy sections of the guideway, the core

of both stations and some of the tunnelling are already in situ. Gopal said there was further uncertainty about LLAL’s financial position because Covid-19 poses a risk to concession payments made by the airport operating company, London Luton Airport Operating Limited (LLAOL). The contract between LLAL and LLAOL includes ‘force majeure’ clauses about what happens if there is an event outside the control of the parties to the contract, preventing one or other of them fulfilling their obligations. “Exactly how each of these clauses will apply in current circumstances is now a subject of considerable legal interest and interpretation, the outcome of which will impact on LLAL’s financial position,” said Gopal.

Access charges for guided busway BUS OPERATORS in Luton will have to pay access charges to use the LutonDunstable guided busway as part of Luton Borough Council’s plan to increase income to help cover a budget shortfall due to Covid19. Introducing access charges is expected to raise £20,000 in 2021/22. Said a spokesman: “The proposal is to charge operators for access to the busway and would be subject to further discussion with operators.” Luton also envisages reducing concessionary fares spend in 2020/21 by £580,000 because of reduced trips (see

front page). These are among the many measures the council is drawing up to balance its budget in response to Covid19 and the loss of the dividend from Luton Airport. About 365 jobs will be lost at the council, representing about 12 per cent of the workforce. A number of the posts are currently vacant. Two posts in Luton’s planning and transport major projects team will be deleted. Road maintenance spend will be cut by £393,000 this year. Spending on road signing and lining will be cut £50,000. Savings of £400,000 in

2020/21 are forecast from a ‘highway services options review’, including from reducing cost and increasing income. Luton is also reviewing its need for office space in the light of increased homeworking. “Working from home works, as the last few weeks have proved,” says the council. “Obviously it is not an option for all services, but in many areas of the council we envisage that working from home for at least part of the time will become the norm.” The council intends to use £13.4m of reserves over two years.

Wales announces new Covid bus scheme

BUSES

THE WELSH Government has announced a new scheme to help bus operators increase service levels as Covid-19 lockdown restrictions ease. But there is no clarity about if additional funding will be available. Since lockdown restrictions were introduced in March the Welsh Government has continued paying operators Bus Service Support Grant, concessionary fares reimbursement and MyTravelPass payments, all at pre-Covid levels (LTT 03 Apr). Deputy transport minister Lee Waters said last week this so-

called Bus Hardship Fund support would shortly come to an end and be replaced by a Bus Emergency Scheme (BES). This would be introduced in phases and deliver “a more integrated and flexible network to match supply to demand, flex services,” and allocate “any additional funding”. BES will operate for an initial three months and provide “an operating subsidy in lieu of lost revenue due to Covid-19 and significantly reduced vehicle passenger carrying capacity due to social distancing”. Waters said BES was “intended to signal the beginning

of a lasting partnership between operators and public bodies to enable a reshaping of Wales’ bus network, supporting the management and interaction across transport modes including smart ticketing, unified routeing, and integrated timetabling”. Operators will work with councils and Transport for Wales to determine the initial routes and frequencies that should be delivered within available funding. One operator told LTT there was no clarity about the new scheme. “I don’t really know what it means. It’s absolutely unclear when, if at all, we will get top-up money.”

Said Waters: “Going forward, the Welsh Government, supported by Transport for Wales, will design a new funding scheme in collaboration with local authorities and bus operators, which will include a fair and consistent approach to fares, building patronage, and agreement to the principles of an economic contract and a social charter.” The Government’s press release hinted at regulatory change, saying: “This is the first stage of a wider plan that will see the public sector funders of the bus industry begin to regain control of buses for the first time since de-regulation in the 1980s.”

£10m for Manchester rail capacity study The Government has awarded Network Rail £10m to explore ways to relieve capacity constraints on the Greater Manchester rail network. The most notorious bottleneck is the Castlefield corridor between Deansgate and Manchester Piccadilly.

Local rail stations design competition Network Rail is to launch a design competition for small and medium-sized stations. The competition will be run by RIBA, the Royal Institute of British Architects, and should be launched this month. The competition brief will be informed a new ThinkStation report prepared for Network Rail by the Design Council. Anthony Dewar, professional head of buildings and architecture at Network Rail, said: “The ambition here is to raise the quality of design across our network as well as responding to the evolving role of infrastructure within communities.” ThinkStation is available at https://tinyurl.com/yap9r95b

New station opens on Durham Coast A rail station serving the former coastal mining community of Horden in County Durham has opened on the Newcastle to Middlesbrough line. Horden is served by one train an hour each way. It cost £10.55m to build, with £4.4m provided by the DfT’s New Stations Fund.

Cash for NE station design works The DfT has approved £8.7m and £2.45m to prepare proposals to enhance Darlington and Middlesbrough stations. The work at Darlington could include two new platforms for local services, one new platform for southbound long-distance services, and station access improvements. The new platforms would be built on the through running lines, which are separated from the existing station by a wall. The works at Middlesbrough could see platform 2 extended to accommodate longer trains, and a new platform built.

WMCA consults market on stations The West Midlands Combined Authority is engaging the market about building new stations at Willenhall and Darlaston on the freight-only Wolverhampton to Walsall line. The estimated value of the procurement is £20m. WMCA says the market engagement will help it “better understand the market and the issues faced during the current climate”.


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10 News

Teesside first in the queue f Trials of rental e-scooters will begin in Britain this month. Andrew Forster spoke to Neuron about its hopes of winning a slice of the market while Lime’s Alan Clarke offers some advice to help ensure trial success

E-SCOOTERS

THE FIRST trials of e-scooters on public roads in Britain will get underway in Teesside this month, with many more areas expected to launch before the end of August. Tees Valley Combined Authority, led by Conservative mayor Ben Houchen, has struck an agreement with UK escooter company Ginger to provide a rental scheme across the area, initially featuring 100 scooters. The changes to legislation facilitating trials of e-scooter rental schemes across

E

Britain came into force on 4 July. The use of individually-owned e-scooters on public roads remains illegal. The DfT expects most trials to launch before the end of August. They are likely to run for a year, but could be extended. E-scooters will be permitted on roads, cycle lanes and cycle tracks but not on footways. The DfT has made changes to the permitted specification of e-scooters following a consultation this spring (LTT 12 Jun). The maximum speed has been increased from 12.5mph to

15.5mph, maximum continuous power rating raised from 350W to 500W, and permitted mass raised from 35kg to 55kg. E-scooters will continue to be classed as motor vehicles during the trials, meaning riders will have to have a driving licence – a provisional one will do. Rental companies will have to provide insurance cover. “Following trials, we may look to amend the law to treat e-scooters more like electrically assisted pedal cycles (EAPCs), which are not treated as ‘motor vehicles’ in law,” says the DfT.

Wearing a helmet is recommended but will not be mandatory. All trials will have to be approved by the DfT. Local authorities will be free to decide whether to run a trial with one or multiple operators. Operators will be able to offer different forms of rental arrangement – for instance, long-term lease arrangements as well as dockless schemes for casual use. The DfT will commission a central monitoring and evaluation contract covering all trial areas.

Neuron emphasises safety to stand out from the crowd scooters are about to hit Britain’s streets, but how will local authorities choose between the dozen or so rental companies vying for a slice of the

action? Neuron Mobility thinks its approach to safety, innovation, and partnership working will set it apart from the rest of the industry. Last week I spoke to Collette Dunkley, the company’s external relations director for the UK and Ireland, and Joe Oliver, its head of communications, about the company’s ethos and ambitions. Neuron was founded in 2016 by engineer and green tech entrepreneur Zachary Wang (chief executive), and artificial intelligence guru Harry Yu (chief technology officer). The company began operating escooters in Singapore and Southeast Asia but then withdrew and switched its attention to Australia and New Zealand (the business development team remains in Singapore). Its first Australasia schemes launched last year and it now operates in eight places, including Brisbane, Adelaide, Darwin, and Auckland. The smallest operation has 300-350 e-scooters and the biggest about 1,000. “We’ve never lost a contract bid in Australia or New Zealand,” says Oliver. Neuron was attracted to these countries by their regulated markets and Britain appeals for the same reason. “We’re not trying to become the biggest market share company by geography,” says Dunkley. But, once a target country has been identified, Neuron will throw resource at it. “We can scale very quickly,” she says, discussing market opportunities here. “We’re applying for quite a lot.” Neuron designs its own e-scooters, which are manufactured in China. This, says Oliver, allows the company to innovate quickly, unlike other prospective operators who source scooters from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). “We can literally innovate in a matter of months.” Neuron’s e-scooter design is strikingly

Neuron’s e-scooters feature larger wheels and a unique helmet lock

different from others you may see on the street and many of its features are designed with safety in mind. The scooter’s 11.5 inch wheels are considerably bigger than the 8-10 inch versions typically seen on other models. Larger wheels ride over road surface imperfections more smoothly, says Dunkley. “There’s a big difference.” The platform of the Neuron e-scooter is also wide (21cm), allowing users to ride with their feet side-by-side. Another distinguishing feature of Neuron’s model is the lock that attaches a helmet to the e-scooter shaft. Users release the helmet using their smartphone app. Oliver says the design is unique and ensures that a helmet will always be attached to the scooter. Helmet-wearing is mandatory in Australia but it will not be in Britain and nor is it in New Zealand. “We feel strongly that everyone should have the opportunity to wear one,” says Oliver. The e-scooters also feature some hidden tech. Sensors detect if the scooter is lying on its side. The information is useful for Neuron’s 24/7 teams who, among other things, ensure scooters are parked in autho-

rised locations, standing upright. An emergency button feature detects accidents. The rider receives an app message asking if they are okay and a call to emergency services can be made if not. The company will soon launch a ‘share my ride’ facility allowing users to choose a friend or relative who can follow their ride on the app. Neuron’s e-scooters are GPS-enabled and so can be controlled by geo-fencing. “We want to be the best possible partner to cities,” says Dunkley. “We talk of ‘nogo’ areas, ‘slow-go’ areas and no parking areas.” “And there are incentivised parking areas,” Oliver chips in. The e-scooter slowly comes to a halt if it strays beyond the authorised operating zone agreed with a local authority. If it’s left in a location that has been designated a no parking area, then the rental period will continue running, racking up a hefty bill for the user. Neuron’s scooters have a top speed of 15.5mph – the maximum permitted by the DfT. But Oliver says the company will always have a secondary conversation with the local authority to decide if low speed

zones should be designated, such as in a particularly busy area. The lower speed can be enforced through geo-fencing too. Asked about the company’s safety record, Oliver says Neuron has recorded under two incidents requiring hospital treatment every 100,000 kilometres of use. The scooters can be ridden on pavements in Australia but, after millions of trips, there has not been a single case of a pedestrian or cyclist being hospitalised from a collision across Neuron’s operations, he adds. E-scooter use will be more expensive than pedal bike hire. Dunkley expects charges to be in the region of £1 per hire and 15-20p per minute of hire for casual users. Heavy discounts are offered in Australia and New Zealand for season tickets, such as three-day, weekly and monthly. Neuron can incentivise good behaviour. For instance, users can receive a discount if they send in a photograph of themselves wearing a helmet or parking in an authorised parking area. Who is a typical user? In Brisbane, over 60 per cent of hires are for commuting, says Oliver. Tourists are another market and period passes such as a three-day pass are designed to appeal to them. Oliver says the average trip distance in Australian schemes is about 2km (1.25 miles). “We think every e-scooter trip has a walking trip probably a both ends,” he says, emphasising that they do not eliminate active travel. Neuron shares anonymised date about escooter use with local authorities to help their transport planning activities. The e-scooters have a battery range of about 60km (38 miles) and are fitted with swappable batteries that are changed onstreet by Neuron’s mobile teams. The company normally creates about five full-time jobs in a city, plus lots of temporary workers – anywhere between 20 and 60 depending on the size of the operating territory. They’re temporary partly because of the seasonal pattern to rentals, which peak during the warmer months, though schemes continue operating throughout the year.


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for an e-scooter revolution Here’s how to make your e-scooter trial a success

Alan Clarke Lime

Shared e-scooters have become a vital part of daily life in cities around the world. In the UK, we have been slower to make the most of this sustainable and convenient transport mode, but following legislation earlier this month, we now have an opportunity to catch up with our international counterparts. E-scooters offer an open-air, socially-distanced, emission-free transport alternative for cities across the UK, helping to ease congestion on roads and reduce pollution. As cities begin to recover from Covid-19, governments everywhere are rethinking transport to aid social distancing and avoid a huge increase in car use as people avoid public transport. The DfT originally planned to introduce e-scooter rental trials next year, but the pressing demand for new transport options has accelerated the timetable. With the UK trials expedited, the first e-scooters will now be present on our roads in July. These trials will provide much-needed additional transport capacity and help develop an evidence base to inform longerterm policy around e-scooters. We know there will be challenges, but the benefits to towns, cities and local authorities will outweigh these issues. Lime has significant experience of operating appaccessed, shared, e-scooter and e-bikes in more than 125 global cities over the past three years. We have so far provided services on five continents, from Seoul in South Korea to Calgary in Canada – and currently operate in 19 European countries. Furthermore, for the last two years we have operated a fleet of around 2,000 e-bikes in the UK, providing rides to more than 200,000 members of the public. Every city is different – and understanding local context is key to providing successful e-scooter services that benefit local residents. We know the value that environmentally-friendly travel alternatives can offer a city, and how to navigate the bumps along the way when it comes to implementing these trials. In order to support local authorities interested in launching e-scooter trials, Lime has used its experience to develop a set of recommended principles for designing and implementing successful e-scooter trials in the UK. The key to success will be close cooperation between e-scooter operators and local authorities if we are to deliver widely used trials within a short timeframe. Safety must of course be the first priority for any trial. To ensure e-scooter journeys are safe, we support the Government’s proposed safety and technical requirements for e-scooters, and the ban of riding on pavements. Local authorities should look to work with operators on joint public information campaigns and enforcement operations to ensure rules are being followed. Priority should also be given to e-scooter operators with technological features that enhance safety – and experience of delivering safe schemes elsewhere. For trials to be successful, it is important that they are usable by as many of the general public as possible. This is the best way to ensure high public support and deliver the real benefits of our services. If trials are only available to small groups of people, e-scooters are likely to be viewed negatively by those who are unable to use them, which could harm overall

A trial should involve no more than three operators

public sentiment. Lime’s experience also shows that limiting the size or availability of e-scooter services can exclude sections of the population – which, in turn, can increase instances of vandalism or anti-social behaviour relating to e-scooters. For these reasons, we advise trial areas are as wide as possible – encompassing all areas of a town or city. Trial areas should also transcend local boundaries in areas where several local authorities make up a wider metropolitan area. Authorities should work together to provide a larger, ‘cross-border’, area for trials. This most accurately reflects real journey patterns and how most people live their lives. In areas with a joint transport operator – such as London, Manchester or the West Midlands, this umbrella body should take responsibility for designing and implementing a trial. This will provide users with the most user-friendly e-scooter trial experience. The introduction of e-scooter trials presents an opportunity for local authorities to launch two sustainable transport modes at once – by asking operators to provide e-bikes alongside e-scooters within a single app. This would make low-emission transport even more accessible and encourage wider adoption of zeroemission travel as users have both options of bikes and scooters for different journeys. This approach can also increase levels of cycling as users may download an app to use an e-scooter – and will then be encouraged to take their first trip on an e-bike using the same app and payment system. Where Lime offers e-bikes and e-scooters, we commit to always pricing e-bikes at a lower level. As e-scooters are only in a trial phase in the UK, high levels of public support will be crucial. This can only be achieved through experienced operators running high-quality trials. We believe authorities should prioritise scooter models and operators with the most extensive experience in locations similar to the UK. To ensure a good consumer experience, local authorities should work with no more than three escooter operators at any one time. This allows for consumer choice, without forcing the public to download multiple apps or continuously find that their

e-scooter app is incompatible with the nearest parked e-scooters. There should be a minimum number of scooters offered by each operator, and operators should meet similarly high standards with regards to collection, distribution and response to complaints – cementing the need for local authorities to work with experienced operators only. Virtual and physical parking spaces can be beneficial in areas of high footfall such as train stations. When used, they should be at a density of at least one per 100 metres. Beyond city centres, however, parking restrictions should be less prohibitive, reflecting the reduced pressure on space and the need to encourage residents in suburban areas to move away from car use. Data sharing can help improve the future of micromobility. Operators will be required to share data with both the DfT and local authorities. This should be seen as a positive opportunity to improve the design of trials once they are underway. For example, weekly data on demand could be used to agree the appropriate number of e-scooters to be deployed on the streets by an operator. This could vary between operators, and would allow companies to add more scooters to their service in the busiest months and ensure adequate supply. In quieter months, the number of scooters could be reduced to ensure they are not unused for long timeperiods. In a scenario with multiple operators, this could also encourage healthy competition for users. As Covid-19 restrictions ease and we begin to explore our cities again, the change to UK e-scooter regulation demonstrates a positive step towards building healthier, greener, cities. We’re excited to help local authorities navigate this new normal, whether that’s by foot, bike, e-bike and hopefully e-scooter.

Alan Clarke is director of UK policy & government affairs at Lime, the world’s largest micromobility provider.


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In Brief

Leics refuses to take on risk for town’s southern link road

PLANNING

by Andrew Forster

THE FUTURE of a Government grant for a new road in the Leicestershire town of Melton Mowbray rests with Homes England after the county council said it will not bear the risk of developer contributions failing to cover a portion of the road cost. Homes England last autumn offered Leicestershire a £15m Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) grant towards the £28m southern section of the Melton Mowbray Distributor Road. The road would support a proposed 2,000-home ‘Southern Sustainable Neighbourhood’. Leicestershire threatened to turn down the Government grant in March (LTT 03 Apr), saying Melton Borough Council had failed to prepare a masterplan for the new neighbourhood, and there was too much uncertainty about the county recouping its expenditure on the new road from developer contributions. Leicestershire subsequently offered to undertake the masterplanning exercise itself but Melton rebuffed the offer. Instead, Melton approved its own masterplan on the 17 June,

having sent Leicestershire a first draft on 20 May, a second on 5 June, and a third on 12 June. The borough council said the masterplan provided “the assurances sought in order for Leicestershire County Council to accept the HIF award”. Borough council chief executive Edd de Coverly wrote to Leicestershire saying the plan was developed “through consultation with yourselves and the developers” and Melton had “done everything which could reasonably be expected to provide the necessary assurance that the development will secure the required contributions”. Leicestershire, however, says Melton Council’s officer report to councillors about the masterplan “failed to accurately represent the concerns of the county council”. “The absence of any indication that the council’s feedback and representations have been taken into account in the decisionmaking process may be seen to be a ‘material and important deficiency’ such as to affect the lawfulness of the consultation process,” said a report by Leicestershire chief executive John Sinnott and council directors. They said the masterplan was

“devoid of detail on the timetable for the development of the South Sustainable Neighbourhood, of any evidence that the South Sustainable Neighbourhood is financially viable, and of any assurance to the county council that it could recover the substantial costs (around £50m) which would have to be met from developer contributions”. Leicestershire estimated last year that about £160m of new infrastructure will be needed to support growth in Melton Mowbray – about £100m for the northern, eastern and southern sections of the distributor road and £60m for schools provision. The council now says these costs are likely to be an underestimate even before the impact of Covid-19 is considered. It is also concerned about the wider impact of Covid-19 on the council’s financial position. The DfT has offered Leicestershire £49m from the Large Local Majors Fund for the northern and eastern sections of the road, subject to a satisfactory full business case. These part of the road will support the new 1,700-home Northern Sustainable Neighbourhood in the town. The DfT and HIF grants still

leave Leicestershire facing the risk on at least £100m, with most of this proposed to be recouped from developer contributions. Leicestershire remains committed to forward funding the non-DfT funded portion of costs for the northern and eastern sections of the distributor road. “This in itself is a commitment to a level of forward funding and associated risk on a scale much bigger than the council has previously committed to,” it said. Melton Council has yet to complete a masterplan for the northern neighbourhood. Chief executive Edd de Coverly has told Leicestershire that work is underway with stakeholders to prepare an “equally credible and deliverable masterplan [as that for the southern neighbourhood]”. On the consequences of losing the HIF grant, Leicestershire says: “If the HIF grant were not accepted, it would not remove the need to deliver new housing in Melton Mowbray; it would mean, however, that growth would take place at a slower pace and in a way much less likely to deliver the transport and other infrastructure required to support growth in a coordinated fashion.”

Norfolk: a des res for TfSE sets out powers Londoners post-virus? in statutory status bid TRAVEL BEHAVIOUR

NORFOLK COULD become an attractive place to live for Londoners who want more space for home-working after Covid-19, the county council believes. “As we anticipate more working from home and a move away from the ‘big city office’ concept towards working from anywhere (not just home), Norfolk could offer an attractive relocation area for such workers,” says a council document, ‘Supporting the economic recovery – Norfolk delivery plan.’ “Trains to London could provide the occasional office commute, offset by a more attractive work-life balance for those who wish it, as well as more affordable housing. This was already the model for some in the creative industries before the pandemic.” A “robust broadband network” is “clearly critical to such a model”, says Norfolk. “Taking this one step further,

head office relocation to Norfolk could be an attractive lower-cost alternative to London,” the council suggests. Norfolk also hopes to capitalise on the growth of online retailing, seeing the potential for building fulfilment warehousing centres along the A11 trunk road that connects Cambridge to Norwich. Possible implications of more home-working for the housing market were explored in a recent blog by Paul Cheshire, emeritus professor of economic geography at the London School of Economics, and Christian Hilber, professor of economic geography at LSE. “The first would be that people would demand more space in their houses; the second is that commuting costs might become less important as an influence on where people choose to live,” they said. “These would suggest a movement outwards to find cheaper land and space, and accept the longer commute that implied.”

GOVERNANCE

TRANSPORT FOR the South East has set out the powers it will seek in its application to ministers to become a statutory subnational transport body. Statutory status would automatically grant TfSE powers to prepare a transport strategy for the area, and provide advice to the secretary of state for transport on trunk road and rail investments in the region. In addition, TfSE is to request the following extra powers: • to be consulted about new rail franchises • to act jointly with the secretary of state to set and vary the rail High Level Output Specification and the Road Investment Strategy for the area • to enter into agreement with other highway authorities to construct, improve or maintain roads – allowing TfSE to deliver regionally significant crossboundary schemes • to acquire land for road con-

struction • to make capital grants for public transport facilities • to secure the provision of bus services, recognising that services do not respect local authority boundaries • to enter into quality bus partnerships • to introduce integrated ticketing schemes • to implement clean air zones • to promote Bills in parliament for regionally significant infrastructure schemes TfSE is not seeking powers over road maintenance or the power to give directions to a constituent authority about the exercise of it local transport functions. Not is it seeking powers to be a co-signatory on rail franchises for the time being. TfSE is waiting to see the outcome of the Government’s rail review, which has been delayed by Covid-19. TfSE intends to submit its application for statutory status to the DfT later this summer.

PM launches UK connectivity review The Government is to work with the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on a ‘connectivity review’, looking at how to improve road, rail, air and sea links between the four nations of the UK. The work was announced by Boris Johnson last week. The Prime Minister also said the Government would “bring forward funding to accelerate infrastructure projects in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, working with the devolved administrations to identify where we can get spades in the ground”.

Project Speed for infrastructure The Government is setting up a new Infrastructure Delivery Taskforce, named ‘Project Speed’. Led by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, it will identify ways to deliver public investment projects “more strategically and efficiently”, aiming to cut down the time it takes to develop, design and deliver infrastructure projects.

Delay to Gloucs A417 ‘Missing Link’ Gloucestershire County Council has reported a delay to the delivery schedule for Highways England’s A417 ‘Missing Link’ scheme to build a 3.6 mile new dual carriageway connecting the A417 Brockworth bypass with the A417 dual carriageway south of Cowley. The project features in Highways England’s Road Investment Strategy 2 programme for 2020/21-2024/25 but Gloucestershire says the Development Consent Order (DCO) application was not submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in May/June as planned. “This will now affect the scheme’s delivery programme,” says Gloucestershire. “Further information is awaited.” HE’s project website says the DCO application will be submitted in 2021.

A47 Alliance takes stock of failure Campaigners for the full dualling of the A47 between the A1 and Great Yarmouth/Lowestoft are “reevaluating” their strategy after their cherished schemes were omitted from the Govermment’s Road Investment Strategy 2 programme for the next five years (2020/21-2024/25). Highways England is committed to delivering six A47 schemes during RIS2. They should have commenced delivery in RIS1. The A47 Alliance had lobbied for the inclusion of three more dualling projects in RIS2: the Acle Straight in Norfolk; Tilney to East Winch (including Hardwick flyover) in Norfolk; and between Peterborough and Wisbech in Cambridgeshire.


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We can’t foretell the future - but we can be much better prepared for it!

Travel behaviour can change dramatically, when surprises happen, says Peter Warman. In an uncertain world, we need to have our tools and responses ready for when the unexpected arrives.

ransport Planners are developing impressive tools to understand what is happen-ing across the UK in real time. No longer limited to describing networks by just their peak and off-peak operations, there is now 24/7 continuous data on roads, rail and air routes. The level of detail and quantity of data is overwhelming these days – not limited by data storage either. COVID 19 demonstrated that the UK’s contingency planning for a pandemic had its weaknesses – and most of the transport implications were effectively dealt with on the hoof. One of the successes was continuous monitoring of travel trends over time during the lockdown. Impressive daily statistics were published for all main modes of transport throughout the country. ‘The pandemic has demonstrated how quickly social change can occur – and the role of government in driving that change,’ said the Parliamentary Committee on Climate Change last month.

Predicting surprises is not so important, if we have the tools to respond quickly.

Last Friday’s 3rd July LTT online discussion recognised there will be more surprises to come that we have given little thought to yet. Predicting them is next to impossible as many will involve the conjunction of events in new ways. It is therefore more im-portant to have the right tools to respond quickly to whatever occurs, rather than believing we know what the future holds. When planning transport systems these days, it is probably best to start by identify-ing what is likely not to change. Also, when predicting the public’s likely responses to any changes, a good understanding of travel behaviour is essential – knowing people’s likes / dislikes, aspirations and fears, and what guides their decisions when facing new situations. Most dramatic events have a legacy. In the past forty years, significant transport changes occurred following natural disasters, tragic accidents, strikes, fuel shortages, fires or crashes and system failures. e.g. 1987 Kings Cross Fire and the subsequent investment in tube sta-

tions and the 1989 Marchioness disaster that heralded many reforms for river operations on the Thames. COVID -19, and the response to it, will bring about its own changes in travel patterns and demand. Sometimes ‘surprises’ happen with a few years notice, for example the award of the 2012 Olympics to London in 2005 – reported as ‘a surprise winner’ by much of the media. Within two days of being awarded the Games, London had to cope with a terrorist attack on the bus and tube networks – with no warnings in advance. That ‘conjunction of events’ situation I’ve mentioned already. Concern was expressed that London’s transport system could not cope with the dramatic changes in travel patterns required for the Olympic Games. Daily variations in the Olympic programme meant that transport provision and use of the network had to adapt on a daily basis, with planned changes being introduced overnight for each day of the Games. It was the adaptability and resilience of the transport systems that was important. London’s real time monitoring across the networks ensured any emergencies could be dealt with efficiently. The transport plans to deliver the Games took over five years to prepare. The Olym-pic Committee set strict travel time targets across the network for journeys to/from key venues. London had to prove three years ahead of the Games that all would be well. Impressive simulation models were prepared to convince the Olympic Organis-ing Committee that the targets could be met. During the Games, surprises did hap-pen, but the professional transport tools developed for the event meant the world was impressed with how well the networks performed. Even most journalists chose to use public transport in London, ignoring the fleet of new BMW’s that had been provided for them to use! Sudden disruptions like COVID-19 just expose our vulnerability and devastate our economy. A more resilient society understands its vulnerabilities, and tries to guard against the effects of sudden changes. In 10, 20 or 30 years, our country will face other major transport challenges. If we do not prepare, our economy and lifestyles will be transformed far more than by the effects of COVID -19. One harbinger of change and trigger for upheaval is

Panel give their thoughts on future unknowns

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The latest LTT Online Friday Discussion looked at what surprises might be in store to affect transport that we’re not even planning for yet

ifferent horizons and possibilities were addressed by the five panellists at last week’s LTT Online Discussion, challenged to give their thoughts on how unexpected change might disrupt our current expectations for the future of local transport. All recognised that traditional approaches to planning based on either projecting the current situation or what was ‘likely’ were inevitably going to be wrong. Independent consultant Peter Warman, whose career has embraced working on a number of projects at the cutting edge of thinking and technology, urged a new more flexible and sustainable model of prioritising investment choices with the watchword of resilience, as he notes in his contribution on this page. The practical needs of transport planning for a conurbation in a changing world were explored by Nicola Kane, Head of Strategic Planning, Insight and Innovation at Transport for Greater Manchester, and now working on TFGM’s 2040 transport strategy. Social behavioural and demographic changes were considered by Kristine Beuret of Social Research Associates, who stressed the significance of new patterns of living and working, particularly family structures. LTT Editorial Director Peter Stonham developed the idea that what’s currently going on in people’s heads individually and collectively was not stable, and so not predictable either. He thought that there were likely to be big swings in behaviour and expectations based on ‘the latest persuasive argument’, which could spread rapidly through the idea of social memes – a concept developed by scientist Richard Dawkins. Llewelyn Morgan, Head of Innovation at Oxfordshire County Council shared the thinking that had gone into the Oxfordshire 2050 future vision document (see panel opposite).

climate change, which cannot be considered a surprise. In January 1972, I read the 22-page article ‘A Blueprint for Survival’- published by ‘The Ecologist’ magazine, with the support of 32 distin-guished scientists. A recent update is the 195-page annual progress report published by the Parliamen-tary Committee on Climate Change (June 2020.) The report says: the need to increase the UK’s preparedness for future shocks has never been clearer…’ ‘threats from Climate Change are already inevitable’.

Building systems today to deal with challenges - short and long term.

If we are to ‘follow the science,’ as with COVID -19, tokenism is a very bad path to follow. We cannot miss the deadlines of the future, or be speeding down the wrong path with no reversing place. As with the Olympics, we need to prove years ahead of the likely events that the nation is ready. That the networks are resilient and sus-tainable; society can function; and the primary services of energy supply, water sup-ply and waste treatments, food production and delivery, health care, education and employment and more, can cope, and better, adjust as needed. It is pretty funda-mental to ensure they will be able to function though extremes in weather condi-tions like droughts, heatwaves, coastal flooding, inland flooding from heavy rain storms, possibly hurricanes, and other ‘freak’ weather events. The challenge is to focus on whether life in Britain can continue under these condi-tions. We need to learn lessons from Holland, for example, on how to protect our coastal settlements. A second Thames Barrier will likely be required to prevent parts of London and the Underground Network being closed down due to flooding. Will the electricity supply networks be able to meet the demands placed upon them? The risk of power cuts makes relying on internet services impossible without local backup systems. A recent IPSOS poll, found that 66% of the British public agreed that in the long term, climate change is as serious a crisis as COVID-19.’ Most climatologists say things will become far worse and not reversible, if we do not cut our CO2 emissions. So our concern should be that we are not overwhelmed with the many surprises that might happen. That means building systems and working methods that ensure our transport systems are resilient and adaptable to meet the future challenges. Are the contingency plans in place? Which of today’s transport systems will not be fit for purpose in coming years? Are the investments we are making today to be delivered during the next twenty years the best value for money in terms of what we are likely to be facing? No country can afford to reach 2030, 2040 or 2050 and beyond and not be ready to serve the travel needs of the population in different parts of the country whether it be a metropolis, city, town or village. As the the Parliamentary Annual Progress Report reveals, preparations involve far more than just transport. The challenges are massive. Given the relatively short timescale, Britain cannot be sensibly distracted with grandiose schemes that do not contribute to these preparations. We have the methods to test the resilience and capability of all the transport networks. We can identify what funds are required to remove their vulnerabilities and maintain them over time. It may be that the solutions should embrace new ways of doing things, rather than adjustments to the existing ones. Many substitutes for travel will be possible, for ex-


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ample, as has been experienced during COVID-19. The population may have learned how to become more focused on essential daily activities and meeting there core needs by limiting most their travel to a local catchment area. Virtual systems have been widely deployed to access people throughout the country, continent or world via telecommunications/web services. If required these can give a sense of being there and the human connectedness we all need. Next up maybe, a three dimen-sional Zoom Experience. Such experiences are possible today in the entertainment worlds of Disney Theme Parks.

Double-ended buses amongst the innovations suggested for future Oxford mobility

Simulation as a Service.

Similar systems can show us in virtual reality how existing transport infrastructure and services are likely to perform under the conditions we predict will exist in 2030, 2040, 2050 and beyond. What will be the consequences of rising sea levels? Com-panies today, like Immense Simulations’ (https://immense.ai), are creating new tools to test networks, plan fleet operations, and prepare the transport infrastruc-tures for the futures. They have assembled data sets for over 100 cities across the world which can be used in their ‘Simulation as a Service’ approach. Scenarios can be developed and tested in hours, using real time and historic databases to see how cities can perform under a wide variety of conditions. These same systems, built from a very detailed understanding of the present, can be used to imagine our fu-tures. Such systems are already used for testing today’s networks, and describing what ac-tions are necessary to maintain and adapt their performance in future decades, un-der varying conditions. Immense Co-Founder and CEO, Dr Robin North explains in more detail in a 20minute video the new tools that are being developed. See: https://youtu.be/1ylDfJa1zLg or go to https://immense.ai. As when preparing for the London Olympics, the tools simulate and test our futures, if we can at least im-agine what transport futures we might be facing

Llewelyn Morgan, Head of Innovation at Oxfordshire County Council shared the thinking that had gone into the Oxfordshire 2050 future vision document in his contribution to last week’s LTT online discussion. One of the elements of it was addressing Oxford city’s transport and mobility needs in new ways, and one part of that a proposed Smart Corridor using buses which could drive in either direction, and thus avoid the need to turn round.

‘We noticed that a lot of our thinking was driven by the needs of existing bus operations, which involved turn rounds,’ Morgan said. That didn’t seem right as a key driver of our choices for the city centre, so we looked for buses which could be driven from either end. ‘I actually rode on one in France, so they do exist,’ he said. It was an example of how something which would not be embraced by most current planning might be a really significant future development.

You’ve read LTT – now join in our next online conversation! The theme is:

Every fortnight we bring you your LTT magazine with unrivalled news, comment and analysis about the local transport scene. And now every fortnight – in the week between LTT issues – we bring you a discussion online that helps our audience of professionals keep connected with the key issues and each other during this time of isolation in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. We’ve so far had seven highly successful online discussions, involving up to 100 LTT readers. Next Friday we will be holding our eighth conversation, again chaired by editor Andrew Forster.

LOCAL RAIL: DO WE NEED A NEW BUSINESS MODEL? 2pm, Friday 17 July 2020 Panelists include:

The format will be an informal and friendly gathering on Zoom. Following the introductory presentations on the above theme, participants will be invited to raise questions and give their comments. If you didn’t make it last time, or for the earlier events, you can still view recordings of them on TransportXtra. Please join us for this important opportunity in transport professional interaction!

Professor Paul Salveson, Writer and Commentator on local rail issues

To register your place email Tom Daldry at tom.daldry@landortravelpublications.com or visit TransportXtra.com/events.

Malcolm Holmes, Nigel Harris, Executive Director, Managing Director, We’ll be limiting the active audience to 100 people to ensure a manageable West Midlands Rail The Railway discussion. Executive Consultancy Priority is given to attendance by LTT subscribers.

Plus representatives from a train operator and a non-metropolitan transport authority (TBA) PHOTO CREDIT: @RIDELEICESTER

Please email: tom.daldry@landortravelpublications.com for joining instructions


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16 News

In Brief

New features for bus open data service The DfT has announced enhancements to the new Bus Open Data Service (BODS), which was launched in January. Timetable and real-time data will be made available in a greater range of formats for app developers, and on-time performance will be monitored automatically to provide better information for national and local governments. The features will be rolled out from the autumn, continuing through 2021. The service extensions are being delivered by transit data firm Ito World, which has been working in partnership with the DfT on the BODS service since 2018, alongside KPMG. Bus operators in England need to publish their timetable data openly by 31 December and fares and vehicle location data from 7 January 2021.

‘Put ZEV mandate on car makers’ Car and van manufacturers should be regulated to require them to increase the market share of zero emission vehicles, says a report by the Green Alliance. It suggests the Government imposes a ZEV mandate on firms, saying this has been successful in California and China. The group also wants fuel duty to be increased. Blueprint for a resilient economy is available at https://tinyurl.com/yam4sauo

No plans for car scrappage scheme The Government has rebuffed media reports that it is planning a car scrappage scheme that would give drivers a cash incentive to swap their old vehicles for a new one. Transport academics and other professionals wrote to the Government last month, urging that any such scheme should only apply to zero emission vehicles because of the statutory net zero 2050 target for greenhouse gases (LTT 26 Jun). Transport minister Rachel Maclean replied to the letter’s co-ordinator, Steve Melia of the University of the West of England, saying: “A number of media articles have suggested that the Government is considering a scrappage scheme. The Government has no plans at this stage to introduce a scheme.”

Transport climate policy directory An online directory of transport measures to cut carbon dioxide emissions has been published by the International Transport Forum. The Transport Climate Action Directory (TCAD) contains more than 60 mitigation measures along with the evidence-base needed to assess their effectiveness. Visit https://www.itfoecd.org/tcad

Net Zero requires road pricing and no new roads, say greens ENVIRONMENT

ROAD PRICING, lower speed limits and the cancellation of road improvements in the Government’s Road Investment Strategy must implemented to ensure transport contributes to the statutory net zero greenhouse gas target, says a new study. The report looks specifically at road transport CO2 emissions and is authored by Lynn Sloman and Lisa Hopkinson of environmental transport consultancy Transport for Quality of Life (TfQL). Other contributors were academics Phil Goodwin, Jillian Anable and Sally Cairns, and TfQL’s Ian Taylor. The researchers estimate that total CO2 emissions from traffic on Highways England’s Strategic Road Network between now and 2032 will amount to 381 million tonnes under the DfT’s road traffic forecast scenario with the most optimistic assumptions about electric vehicle uptake.

The authors recommend the DfT sets binding carbon budgets for different parts of the transport sector, which are consistent with the Paris Climate Agreement. “By analogy with carbon budgets proposed for local authorities by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, we estimate that a fair, Paris-compliant budget for the Strategic Road Network between now and 2032 is about 214 MtCO2. “This would mean that total carbon emissions from the SRN over the next 12 years need to be cut by about 167 MtCO2, or 44 per cent of forecast levels, even assuming the DfT’s most optimistic forecast of how emissions will change with rapid uptake of electric vehicles.” Suggesting that this target is “extremely challenging”, they add: “It will only be possible through a combination of a faster switch to electric vehicles (e.g. requiring all new cars/vans to be fully electric from 2030) and a

significant reduction in vehicle mileage. “Mileage reduction will require measures to restrict driving, such as road pricing, better and more affordable rail and coach services, improvements in conditions for active travel, better planning to prevent car dependent development, and universal roll-out of superfast broadband to support remote working. “Further carbon could be saved by reducing the speed limit on the SRN to 60mph, with speed camera enforcement.” Road improvements included in the Government’s recently published five-year Road Investment Strategy 2 will add a further 20 million tonnes of CO2, the authors estimate. This, they say, will arise from three roughly equal sources: embodied carbon in road construction; carbon emissions from higher speeds; and induced traffic. “This increase in CO2 from RIS2 will negate 80 per cent of

potential carbon savings from electric vehicles on the SRN between now and 2032,” say the authors. “This suggests that RIS2 is incompatible with our legal obligation to cut carbon emissions in line with the Paris Climate Agreement, the Climate Change Act budgets, and the emerging principles for the DfT’s decarbonisation plan. “We therefore believe that it should be cancelled.” The authors say this would free up billions of pounds for investment in measures such as creating thousands of local ‘remote working’ hubs as a short-term response to Covid-19, and universal superfast broadband. “It could also be used to improve active travel and public transport networks.” The carbon impact of the national roads programme is available at https://tinyurl.com/yd57x4bo

XR’s ‘Braintrust’ seeks DfT’s Net Zero board faster path to Net Zero meets for first time ENVIRONMENT

ACADEMICS AND other policy specialists sympathetic to the objectives of climate direct action group Extinction Rebellion (XR) have formed a new group to explore how to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions long before the UK’s 2050 statutory target (2045 in Scotland). The XR Braintrust includes Steve Melia, a senior lecturer in transport and planning at the University of the West of England; Rupert Read, an associate professor of philosophy at the University of East Anglia; the Australian economist Steve Keen; and George Barda, a founder member of XR. Melia told LTT this week: “It is at an early stage at the moment, working out its future direction. Someone has just created a website, which will be going live with initial content shortly. “It has been set up by people connected to XR, is supportive of XR, but independent. The reason for that is because XR does not campaign for specific policy solutions. It call for those to be decided by a citizens’ assembly. “That is a sensible solution but it begs the question: how can we decarbonise more quickly? At the

moment, all the academic and governmental analyses – including the UK climate assembly – are taking 2050 as their target. “The Braintrust will analyse and suggest how we should decarbonise more quickly. How quickly might be possible? That’s one of the questions we will be considering. XR’s demand is for zero carbon by 2025, but we are not bound by that. “My view is that it [the Braintrust] should act like a think tank, providing a platform for reports or articles written by different people, which the whole group doesn’t necessarily have to agree with. I intend to contribute some material about transport.” Melia believes decarbonising on an accelerated timescale will demand different transport policies from those for a 2050 target date. “We need to electrify or change the fuels powering vehicles as quickly as possible. Modal shift and demand management are only relevant insofar as they support that transition. “Reducing vehicle ownership will be much more important than reducing vehicle use, which has been the main concern of transport planners and researchers, including me, up to now.”

ENVIRONMENT

THE DFT has held the first meeting of its ‘Net Zero Transport board’, which will shape the Government’s transport decarbonisation plan. The group met online this week, with three ministers attending: transport secretary Grant Shapps, transport minister Rachel Maclean and minister for clean growth Kwasi Kwarteng. The board will help inform the DfT’s transport decarbonisation plan to be published later this year. The plan will set out proposals to decarbonise every form of transport to support the statutory carbon budgets and the statutory net zero target for 2050. Said Shapps: “Clearly our ground-breaking transport decarbonisation plan must be shaped by the best brains and informed by the widest array of expertise and experience.” Board members have been appointed according to their expertise on particular themes: • Environment: Carly McLachlan, director of the Tyndall Centre and Leo Murray, founder of Possible • Roads: Peter Mock, EU managing director of the

International Council on Clean Transportation, and Konstanze Scharring, director of policy, SMMT • Behavioural change: Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh, director of the UK Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformation • Policy: Richard Howard, director, and head of environment & energy at the Policy Exchange think tank • Place: Polly Billington of the UK100 Cities Network • Rural: Stephen Joseph, visiting professor at the University of Hertfordshire’s smart mobility unit • Active travel: John Lauder, deputy chief executive, Sustrans • Freight/logistics: Peter Harris, director of sustainability, Europe, UPS • Business: Natasha Patel, director Baringa Partners • Business/tech: Michaela Kendall, CEO and co-founder, Adelan • Technology: Ian Meikle, director of clean growth and infrastructure, Innovate UK • Science and technology: Professor Robert Mair, chair of the Science Advisory Council • Aviation: Adam Morton, chair of Sustainable Aviation.


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News 17

Five-mile tunnel mooted for A628 dualling in Peak District Transport for the North

ROADS

by Andrew Forster

HIGHWAYS ENGLAND is studying the idea of placing the A628 Trans-Pennine road in a 5.5-mile tunnel at its highest point in the Peak District National Park. The tunnel would be part of a wider multi-billion pound project to dual the west-east A628 that connects the Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire conurbations across the Park. The Government began exploring options to build a road tunnel between the conurbations in the mid-2010s. Initial work focused on a new 24-26 mile route, of which between 12 and 20 miles would be in tunnel (LTT 16 Dec 16). Attention has subsequently turned to a less costly plan making use of the existing A628 corridor (LTT 14 Sep 18). The A628 connects the A57 at Mottram Moor in Tameside (close to the M67) with the M1 in South Yorkshire. The altitude and exposure of the Woodhead Pass in the Peak District can lead to the road being closed in bad weather. A Trans-Pennine tunnel study board, chaired by Highways England, meets monthly. It includes representatives of the DfT, Transport for the North, the Greater Manchester Combined

The A628 could form the core of a longer new route to the M18

Authority, the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority, and the Peak District National Park Authority. Consultant WSP provides support. The current thinking is to place about 9km (5.5 miles) of the highest section of the A628 in tunnel and to dual the rest of the road, including within the National Park. The proposal is controversial for the National Park Authority, which has a policy to oppose major road schemes except in exceptional circumstances. In a report considered by the National Park Authority in May, John Scott, its director of conservation and planning, said: “We could support an exemplar proposal that delivers significant net environmental enhancement to the National Park, reducing and mitigating the negative impacts that the current A628 has on the landscape character, biodiversity, tranquillity and public enjoy-

ment of the Park.” In April, at the request of the tunnel study board, Scott wrote to the DfT, setting out the Park Authority’s position. He said: “Without a clear commitment from the Department for Transport and its partners to implement the full strategy and to undertake the whole scheme, including those elements that will give the significant environmental enhancements that the National Park Authority seeks, the authority would not be able to support it.” The DfT’s investment portfolio and decisions committee had been due to take a decision on whether to progress the scheme in May. This was deferred, and a decision may be taken this month. If approved, the project would proceed to stage one of the design process. David Whitley, Sheffield City Region Combined Authority’s senior programme manager for

transport, told the CA’s transport board last week: “It is anticipated that an improved Trans-Pennine route could roughly double the existing usage on the A628, initially attracting around 35,000 vehicles a day. Anticipated journey time reductions from the M1 to the M60 could be around 30 minutes.” The project would cost many billions of pounds and would have to be delivered across multiple five-year road investment periods. Whitley said there would be a need to reduce the disbenefit for communities at both ends of the route affected by increased traffic. This includes the A61 and A6102 in Sheffield, the A628 in Barnsley, and the A630 and A18 in Doncaster. At its eastern end, an upgraded A628 and A616 could connect to the M1 and then on via another new road to the M18 (see map). Doncaster Council last year outlined the idea of a ‘pan-Northern route’ connecting Greater Manchester to the Humber Ports (LTT 19 Jul 19). Said Whitley: “Highways England are content to work with us on developing alignments of the [M1 to M18] route to reduce the impact on the historical environment and improve access to our growth areas.”

Passengers to return to Sheffield Victoria? A PROPOSED new passenger rail service in South Yorkshire could eventually result in the re-opening of a station at Sheffield Victoria in the city centre. In May the DfT awarded £50,000 to help prepare business cases for ten rail reopening proposals in England, through the Restoring your Railway Fund (LTT 29 May). The Sheffield City Region Combined Authority received funding to explore restoring passenger services between Sheffield and Chesterfield via the freight-only Barrow Hill line, which lost its passenger service in 1963. The proposal was sponsored by Lee Rowley, the MP for Northeast Derbyshire, and is supported by Derbyshire County Council, Sheffield City Council, Northeast Derbyshire and Chesterfield councils. Services would initially start from Sheffield Midland station but a later phase of the project could see trains routed to a new Sheffield Victoria station. The original Sheffield Victoria station, on the Woodhead route to Manchester, closed in 1970. The Woodhead route itself closed in 1981 but a section of freight-only line at the

Sheffield City Region/Mott MacDonald

RAIL

South Yorkshire end remains open serving a steel plant at Stocksbridge. The Sheffield City Region made a separate unsuccessful bid to the Restoring your Railway Fund for funding to prepare a business case for re-opening the Sheffield to Stocksbridge line to passengers. The successful bid submission for the Barrow Hill reopening says there is a wide recognition among stakeholders that

Sheffield Midland is close to capacity and that the arrival of HS2/Northern Powerhouse Rail services will place additional demands at the station. “Opening up both the Barrow Hill line and Don Valley line [Sheffield to Stocksbridge] could therefore present an opportunity to create a new ‘Sheffield Hub’ at either Nunnery Square or Sheffield Victoria.” The proposed Sheffield to Chesterfield via Barrow Hill trains would leave the SheffieldWorksop line at Woodhouse Junction and join the Midland Main Line at Tapton junction north of Chesterfield. As well as the possibility of reopening a station at Sheffield Victoria, new stations could be built at Nunnery Square (providing interchange with the Supertram light rail network), Waverley, Beighton, Killamarsh, Eckington/Renishaw, Staveley/Barrow Hill, and Whittington. A fourth platform may be needed at Chesterfield to accommodate the service. The Sheffield City Region Combined Authority made two other two unsuccessul bids to the Restoring your Railway Fund: Barnsley to Wakefield via Royston; and Doncaster to Knottingley/Leeds via Askern.

West Yorks rail needs identified RAIL

LONGER PLATFORMS, additional platforms, grade separated junctions and fourtracking feature in a plan to ease capacity pressures on West Yorkshire’s rail network. The headline conclusions of Network Rail’s ‘Leeds area continuous modular strategic planning’ (CMSP) study were presented to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority last week. Network Rail looked at rail capacity to 2043 for an area bounded by Bradford and Skipton in the west, Harrogate in the north, the approaches to York in the east, and towards Wakefield in the south. WYCA was involved in the study and helped set the travel demand growth assumptions. Councillors heard that recommended interventions included longer platforms at 29 stations; new platforms at Leeds, Bradford Forster Square and Castleford; and more track capacity between Armley Junction and Springs Junction. Traction power supply is identified as a constraint in the Leeds area for more electric trains. Network Rail is developing plans for some high priority schemes to unlock the most pressing issues at Leeds. A strategic outline business case for the Leeds Existing Station Programme (LESP) of works was submitted to the DfT last December. Government approval is being sought to allow the next stage of design work on the projects – the ‘decision to develop’ stage of the rail network enhancement pipeline (RNEP). West Yorkshire Combined Authority is pressing for land to be safeguarded around Leeds station for future rail improvements. Its evidence to the National Infrastructure Commission’s inquiry into the rail needs of the North and the Midlands says: “It is imperative that land is safeguarded as soon as possible in areas adjacent to Leeds station to ensure there is sufficient space to provide for future infrastructure requirements required by both CMSP and Northern Powerhouse Rail. “There is a significant risk that much of the required land may have been developed on by the time these proposals have been authorised.”


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18 News

Green light to re-open Manston Airport AIRPORTS

TRANSPORT MINISTER Andrew Stephenson has granted development consent for Manston Airport, near Ramsgate in Kent, to reopen as a freight airport. RiverOak Strategic Partners submitted a Development Consent Order application to reopen the airport in July 2018. The planning inspectors recommended refusing consent, concluding that the airport would handle only modest volumes of cargo that would be catered for at existing airports. River Oak had failed to demonstrate sufficient need for the development, they said. On climate change, they said that, “given the direction of emerging policy, the development’s contribution of 730.1 KtCO2 per annum, ie 1.9 per cent of the total UK aviation carbon target of 37.5 MtCO2 for 2050, from aviation emissions will have a material impact on the ability of Government to meet its carbon reduction targets, including carbon budgets.” They concluded that this “weighs against the granting of development consent”. Stephenson said, however, that there was a “clear case of need”, which existing airports would not bring about “to the same extent or at all”. The development would also bring “significant economic and socioeconomic benefits” to Thanet and East Kent. It offered the potential to “grow into a transport asset for the UK, which would provide a number of significant benefits locally, regionally and nationally”. Stephenson said he was “content that climate change is a matter that should be afforded moderate weight against the development in the planning balance”. Stephenson was acting on behalf of transport secretary Grant Shapps who had a conflict of interest, having previously spoken in support of the application before he became transport secretary.

Solent’s Future Transport Zone rejigged in response to virus INNOVATION

by Andrew Forster

SOLENT TRANSPORT is revising its Future Transport Zone programme of innovations in response to the changed policy environment resulting from Covid-19. The DfT named Solent Transport as one of three new Future Transport Zone areas in March (LTT 23 Mar), awarding the body £28.8m over four years (2020/212023/24). Solent Transport comprises four local transport authorities: Southampton, Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight, and Hampshire. Solent commissioned consultant Atkins to review the FTZ programme to see how delivery risks could be reduced in the context of Covid-19. Richard Pemberton, principal transport planner at Solent Transport, told the Solent Transport

joint committee last week: “Some projects, particularly those focused on public and shared forms of transport, may now be at greater risk of failure to deliver intended outputs, whilst other projects may offer greater benefits than originally envisaged and/or could be adapted to support the Covid-19 transport sector response.” Pemberton said Atkins’ most significant recommendations were that the dynamic demand responsive transport and a workplace liftshare projects be delayed and reduced in scope, with consideration given to cancelling them in their entirety following a review next spring to see if social distancing makes the projects hard to deliver successfully. Subject to agreement from the DfT, Solent plans to divert the funding to enable e-scooter trials – which did not feature in the area’s FTZ bid – and acceler-

ate the bike share project and, possibly, a micro-consolidation project. The four local authorities submitted a proposal to the DfT in May to trial e-scooters as a supplement to buses between several park-and-ride sites and city centres/employment hubs across the Solent area. Bike share should be prioritised, says Atkins, in recognition that the scheme has the ability to “maximise initial behavioural changes influenced by Covid-19”. The provision of e-bikes in the scheme could be increased. Atkins recommends delaying the start of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) trials at the universities of Portsmouth and Southampton by two years, until September 2022. It also recommends reviewing a proposed trial of mobility credits in two areas of Havant borough. It suggests reviewing the trial details e.g. area and types

of transport covered. Atkins recommends pausing a macro-consolidation project until year two. “Other projects which could deliver quicker Covid-19 benefits require more immediate resourcing.” One project that has been accelerated is the drone medical logistics trial between the mainland and the Isle of Wight. It is now operating, having been accelerated by more than a year at the request of the DfT at a time of reduced ferry services and increased demand for medical supplies. Drones transport goods to/from St Mary’s Hospital in Newport on the Isle of Wight, operating between Solent Airport (Lee-onSolent) and Binstead Airfield on the Isle. The craft is cleared for carrying benign cargoes. Work continues to secure clearance for dangerous goods category 3 and time-sensitive medicines.

GCP busway route ‘at Response to Cambs odds with CAM goals’ citizens’ assembly

BUSES

THE GREATER Cambridge Partnership’s Cambourne to Cambridge (C2C) busway plan does not align with the plans for the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro (CAM), a review for the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority has concluded. The combined authority commissed consultant Jacobs to review the GCP’s proposal against the new CAM sub-strategy of the local transport plan. Jacobs concludes that amendments to the proposals are needed. It cites a lack of a firm commitment to zero emission vehicles; a lack of connection with the proposed East West Rail Cambourne station southwest of the town; lack of segregated route operation in Cambourne; and potential environmental impacts of the route around Coton and Westfields. The findings were presented to this week’s meeting of the CA’s transport and infrastructure committee. Combined authority mayor James Palmer said: “This issue of the C2C scheme not being CAM-compliant in its current form is exactly why we cannot rely on a fragmented approach to delivering what will

URBAN TRANSPORT

Palmer: end to ‘sticking plaster upgrades’

be a pioneering, world-class public transport network. “CAM will work as one system when it is complete and so our approach to its delivery should be no different. We need to move past old thinking on piecemeal, sticking plaster upgrades to infrastructure.” The combined authority is reviewing the GCP’s C2C route and possible alternatives. The GCP last month resolved not to progress with its C2C route, to allow the combined authority to review the proposal (LTT 26 Jun). The combined authority’s board will receive a report on 5 August, proposing the set up of a promoter company to take the CAM project forward.

THE GREATER Cambridge Partnership has formally responded to the transport citizens’ assembly held last year. The assembly considered the question, ‘How do we reduce congestion, improve air quality, and provide better public transport in Greater Cambridge?’ Fifty-three citizens from Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire council areas participated in the event (LTT 22 Nov 19). Members ranked ideas for restricting traffic. Closing roads to cars came top; followed by restrict or remove parking; a clean air zone; a pollution charge; a ‘flexible’ charge (e.g. road pricing); a workplace parking levy; increased parking charges; and no interventions. The GCP’s response makes few commitments. “The GCP has heard the clear message from the assembly to ‘Be brave, be bold and take action’... Participants were clear that they wanted more to be done, and to be done quickly, including considering more difficult options to achieve bigger aims.” It points out that some actions were agreed in February. “The call to be brave and bold will continue to be considered as

the GCP develops packages of medium-longer term action and makes decisions about further investments.” The GCP “agrees with the principles that improvements in public transport need to come before measures to restrict or discourage particular travel choices; that measures need to be fair; and that any funding raised through charging needs to be ringfenced for transport in Greater Cambridge and the wider travel to work area”. A report on possible packages of interventions (public transport, active travel, and demand management) had been due to be presented to the GCP’s executive board last month. The work has been delayed by Covid-19 and findings will be presented later this year. “The work will need to take into account the impacts of Covid-19 on the economy, business and transport... as well as the opportunity to encourage healthier and more sustainable travel as Greater Cambridge emerges from the current crisis,” says the GCP. It will “consider how any final package aligns with the views expressed by the Citizens’ Assembly”. The package will then be developed for consultation.


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News 19

TfGM’s bike hire procurement leaves room for e-scooters too BIKE HIRE

by Andrew Forster

GREATER MANCHESTER’S proposed public bike hire scheme could include the provision of escooters too. Transport for Greater Manchester has just invited for expressions of interest in the bike hire design and operating contract. It speaks of the scheme featuring mechanical bikes, ebikes, “e-bike derivatives” and “other equivalent transport”. TfGM adds: “Whilst perhaps not purchasing electric scooters, e-bike derivatives or other equivalent transport at the outset, TfGM intends that the scope of this procurement covers these and equivalent assets, which may be purchased during the term of the contract, subject to developments in the law and market appetite.” Last month Brighton & Hove City Council resolved to procure a mixed fleet bike/e-scooter rental scheme if e-scooters are legalised following the Government-backed trials (LTT 26 Jun). Greater Manchester’s bike hire

TfGM: aiming to launch next spring

should be launched next spring. TfGM is proposing to fund scheme development (design, procure, build and commission), infrastructure (bikes, docks, systems) and operational service provision. It expects a risksharing approach with the successful supplier, who will be incentivised to create a commercially viable scheme. The initial phase of the project will see bike docking facilities installed in the three district councils in the conurbation’s regional centre: Manchester, Salford and Trafford (LTT 26 Jun).

Subsequent phases will be dependent upon the success of phase one and further funding, and could involve: increasing the number of bikes and docks in the phase one area or expanding coverage to more of the conurbation’s ten district councils. TfGM expects the scheme will initially require a minimum of 500 bikes for the commencement of phase one (mechanical bikes, e-bikes, e-bike derivatives and other equivalent transport), though TfGM said last month that 1,500 was the target (LTT 26 Jun).

TfGM’s preference is that bikes be predominantly physically ‘docked’ using stands, traditional physical docking infrastructure, or integration with existing street furniture. It also wants to explore a supplementary capability to provide virtual docking through ‘geo-fencing’. In addition to the bikes, the supplier will provide the information communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, including the customer ‘front-end’ interface (such as an app and interfaces to TfGM business systems). TfGM envisages that the scheme will eventually integrate with the conurbation’s existing smart public transport payment system. This will not, however, be required from commencement of the contract. The initial contract term will be five years from go live date, with potential for up to two 12-month extensions. TfGM expects to issue an invitation to tender to shortlisted bidders on 1 September. It is using the competitive procedure with negotiation procurement route.

City plans big increase Hackney sets bike hire in cycle parking enforcement rules

CYCLING

THE CITY of London Corporation has drawn up plans to install up to 1,900 additional cycle parking spaces in recognition that many commuters may avoid public transport because of Covid-19. The Square Mile currently has about 2,400 on-street cycle parking spaces, of which 300 are in dockless cycle parking bays. The Corporation has bid to Transport for London and the DfT for £82,000 to fund up to 1,900 new spaces, both personal and dockless bike parking. “These spaces will be implemented in a phased approach depending on emerging demand as we monitor usage,” said Carolyn Dwyer, the City’s director of the built environment. “All installations are temporary and can be easily relocated if required.” Some of the parking could be made permanent if increased cycle use is sustained. A maximum of 50 car parking spaces within the City Corporation’s five car parks could be reallocated to provide up to 500

cycle parking spaces (ten cycle parking spaces per car). Dwyer said that, prior to Covid-19, City car parks were underutilised, with up to 50 per cent of spaces unoccupied at peak times. A maximum of 81 on-street parking bays/motorcycle bays could be reallocated to temporary cycle parking and/or seating, providing up to 650 cycle spaces. “If payment parking demand increases beyond current levels, we will look to reduce the reallocation of payment parking spaces and make up the provision through the partial reallocation of up to 45 of the City’s larger motorcycle bays,” said Dwyer. “This could provide up to 450 cycle parking spaces.” A further 650 spaces could be provided by the reallocation of other carriageway and possibly footway space, including around Bank Junction. A further 100 spaces may be installed on private but publicly accessible land, subject to legal agreements and consents.

BIKE HIRE

THE LONDON borough of Hackney is formulating its own dockless bike hire enforcement policy, saying the proposed London-wide byelaw will take time to come to fruition and may not even be realised at all. London Councils and Transport for London have been preparing a byelaw that would apply to dockless vehicles – including bikes as well as escooters if they are approved for use on Britain’s streets. The byelaw can only be introduced if each of London’s 32 boroughs and the City of London delegate powers for making it to London Councils’ transport and environment committee. An officer report presented to the London Borough of Hackney’s cabinet last week said: “It is not clear if this delegation will be achieved. Even if the byelaw is supported by all boroughs it is likely to be some time before it is enacted.” A London Councils spokeswoman told LTT this week: “We currently have 29 del-

egations and are waiting for the final four to be submitted following different internal governance procedures that each local authority needs to go through.” Hackney entered into contracts with dockless bike operators Beryl and Jump last December. The companies are committed to only operating from designated parking areas. The council can remove bikes causing an obstruction and charge operators £80 for their retrieval. Hackney cannot prevent other firms operating in the borough. “There is a need for this [enforcement] policy to apply similar principles and standards to manage bikes from other companies,” officers explained. “While this policy is applicable to all operators, it is expected that the council will use the terms of its contract with authorised operators [Beryl and Jump] to enforce these standards, and this policy will allow the council the ability to apply similar standards to operators with whom the council does not have an agreement to operate in the borough.”

Reading consults on new bike scheme BIKE HIRE

READING BOROUGH Council is consulting the market on plans for a new public bike hire scheme, ahead of a procurement getting underway next January. Reading closed the Readybike hire scheme last March. Operator Hourbike was unable to make the scheme pay. The council has just issued a prior information notice (PIN) and associated market consultation for the supply, operation and maintenance of a new scheme. Bidders will have flexibility to propose docked or dockless schemes. They will also have freedom to decide the geographical area of coverage, including extending into neighbouring West Berkshire and Wokingham councils, and other public and private sector organisations within their areas, subject to their support. The provider will have the flexibility to use the existing infrastructure of 29 docking stations and 200 bicycles. Reading says it will look to support the cycle hire scheme with in-kind resources, such as officer time. It will not provide any revenue support for the operation.

In Brief

Free bike hire in Scottish cities The public bike share schemes in Edinburgh and Glasgow are being temporarily made available free of charge with funding from the Scottish Government. The initiative coincides with the relaxation of lockdown restrictions in Scotland. The Government is keen to ease pressure on public transport capacity that is limited because of social distancing. The bikes will be free to hire for the first 30-minutes of every journey for eight weeks in Glasgow (60 minutes to subscribers) and two weeks in Edinburgh. The usual per minute charge for the Edinburgh scheme is 10p. The Glasgow’s scheme is operated by Nextbike and features 800 bikes. Edinburgh scheme is operated by Serco and features 500 bikes. Shared mobility charity CoMoUK has helped deliver the initiative.


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News 21

BUSINESS

First’s Covid-19 scenario work generates negative headlines PUBLIC TRANSPORT

FIRSTGROUP GENERATED a string of negative headlines in the national press this week after publishing an analysis of Covid-19 risks, which indicates that, under certain assumptions, the business could cease trading. The group’s 2019/20 results statement said there were “material uncertainties as to the future consequences of the coronavirus pandemic”. It added that these “may cast significant doubt on the group’s ability to continue as a going concern”. The share price fell from 49p to 37p. It had been 134p in February, before Covid-19 lockdown restrictions were introduced. FirstGroup emphasised that the information in the report was the result of scenario planning against a hugely uncertain future. It identifies five key risks: • uncertainty about the levels and duration of emergency financial and contractual support for its businesses in the UK and North America from funders such as governments • uncertainty about whether passenger volumes recover to the levels “necessary to sustain the business without the current fiscal financial and contractual support” • the ability of the group to obtain covenant waivers from debt providers if required • the ability of the group to draw down on circa £550m of

First’s scenario planning suggests bus mileage could fall after emergency funding ends, thought there are huge uncertainties

currently available but uncommitted loan facilities • the timing of cash flows Chief executive Matthew Gregory said: “There is no way of predicting with any certainty how the coronavirus pandemic will continue to affect the public transportation sector and the impact it may have on customer trends longer-term. Despite the near-term uncertainty, the longterm fundamentals of our businesses remain sound.” The company had undrawn liquidity of circa £850m at the end of June. FirstGroup’s base case scenario suggests that UK bus mileage may fall when the Government’s emergency funding eventually ends. The scenario assumes support from the DfT’s Covid Bus Service Support Grant ‘Restart’ for services in England comes to an end next March. Thereafter, the base case assumption is that network mileage drops back to circa 70-

80 per cent of pre-Covid-19 levels in 2021/22. On rail, the base case assumes that all franchised rail operations continue under management contracts for the life of the existing franchise agreements. Open access rail operator Hull Trains is assumed to recommence operations in September. FirstGroup remains committed to disposing of its three North American businesses under a new business strategy announced last year. “The board is resolutely committed to and engaged in rationalisation of the group’s portfolio through divestment of the North American businesses,” it said. Covid-19 has disrupted the sale processes. The commencement of the sale of First Student and First Transit was announced in early March, just before countries began imposing Covid-19 restrictions. The sale process for Greyhound was

already underway. The group’s adjusted operating profit fell in 2019/20 to £256.8m, down from £314.8m in 2018/19. The statutory operating loss for 2019/20 was £152.7m, compared with a profit of £9.8m in 2018/19. This reflects £409.5m of costs and charges that are excluded from the operating profit figure: a Greyhound impairment charge of £186.9m, North American self-insurance provision of £141.3m, restructuring and reorganisation costs of £58.2m, and coronavirusrelated charges of £21.5m. The company recorded revenues of £7.754bn in 2019/20, up from £7.126bn in 2018/19. FirstGroup chairman David Martin struck an optimistic tone about the future: “I believe that this is one of the most interesting moments for the bus industry, and for public transport more generally, that I have seen in my career in the sector. “There is huge potential to play a key role in delivering the benefits of the UK Government’s announced plans to invest in improving city connectivity, raising air quality and lowering carbon intensity, and ‘levelling up’ harder hit parts of the country through improved economic infrastructure and opportunity. “These important issues are arguably even more relevant as the UK emerges from the coronavirus crisis. Public transport can and will be at the heart of all of these agendas.”

Barnet to extends road maintenance contract

ROAD MAINTENANCE

THE LONDON Borough of Barnet plans to extend its highways term maintenance contract with Conway and AECOM, enabling the new procurement to be informed by the outcome of Transport for London’s new generation London Highways Alliance contracts (LoHAC). Conway and AECOM are the current LoHAC contractors for north-west London. Barnet began using their services in 2014. TfL is currently procuring the next generation of LoHAC contracts, which are due to

commence next April. Barnet’s contract with Conway and AECOM ends on 31 March but councillors have approved a plan to extend it until the end of September 2023. The new end date is aligned with the end of the separate Re Ltd contract, the council’s joint venture with Capita, which also includes highways services. Barnet says ending the Conway/AECOM and Re contracts on the same date will allow decisions about a different allocation of responsibilities between the parties to be made. The council’s environment chair Dean Cohen said extend-

ing the Conway/AECOM contract also made sense because contractors were unlikely to bid for borough contracts until the outcome of the new LoHAC procurements are known later this year. “The principal reason for this is that success in LoHAC provides a base of operations including vehicle and plant, fleet, personnel, depots, and the systems required to deliver other highways maintenance contract arrangements within the London area,” said Cohen. “This is particularly the case in Barnet as the authority does not have any depots to pass over to a new contractor.”

He added: “If there is a change of contractor(s) when the new LoHAC framework agreement is awarded, the costs associated with the investment in new base of operations would be borne by the new LoHAC contractor(s). When Barnet awards its contract, it should be able to leverage this investment to encourage both more competitive interest and better value tender returns.” Barnet will keep the option of joining the new LoHAC contract for North London in reserve, in case terms for the extension cannot be agreed with Conway/AECOM.

Zedify raises cash for cargo bike growth CARGO BIKES

E-CARGO BIKE company Zedify has raised £300,000 from private investors to help the business grow. Zedify was founded in 2018 by Rob King and Sam Keam who have over 20 years of combined experience in zeroemission logistics. As well as e-cargo bikes and trikes the company uses electric vans. It provides local businesses with a full logistics service of same-day deliveries around a city as well as next day options around the UK. The latter are delivered in partnership with Hermes and DHL. The company now operates from micro-consolidation centres in eight cities: Brighton, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Norwich, Southampton and Winchester. It has plans to increase this to 20. The investment was led by Green Angel Syndicate (GAS), whose director, Antoine Pradayrol, joins the Zedify board as investment director. The funding will be used to improve Zedify’s technology platform and to recruit staff in sales, marketing, and operations.

LNER handed East Coast extension The DfT has awarded stateowned train operator London North Eastern Railway (LNER) a three-year direct award, with the option of a two-year extension, for intercity services on the East Coast Main Line between London King’s Cross and Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland. LNER took over East Coast services in 2018 from Virgin Trains East Coast. The company is owned and overseen by DfT public sector operator, DfT OLR Holdings Ltd.

Parking Perspectives secures US work UK consultancy Parking Perspectives has secured a place on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s transportation land-use connections technical assistance programme. The consultant has teamed up with New York-based Weinberger Associates.


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STREET TALK

Better engagement for better streets

John Dales Urban Movement

Several times over the past few months, I’ve promised that I’d write something about the increasingly pressing need for transport practitioners to be a great deal more savvy about how they engage with the public and other stakeholders. Yet, despite this need, something else always seemed to get in the way. Until now. And, as you can see, we’ve gone large with the idea; because the boss (i.e. The Editor) agreed with me that this was a field of interest that justifies special attention. Accordingly, not only are you being blessed with double the usual amount of words, you’re also being by spoiled by the fact that there will be far fewer of them from me than usual. That’s because, as you can also see, I’m joined this month by a couple of guest contributors: fine folk with different experience and perspectives. I’ll begin by quoting the popular saying that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. It’s usually attributed to Albert Einstein, though there’s no evidence he ever wrote or spoke it. He probably would have done, of course, had he been a transport practitioner reflecting on their

experience of public consultation exercises on sustainable transport schemes. We are, after all, grimly familiar with the cocktail of anger, resentment, self-pity and selfrighteousness that seems always to be shaken out by any proposal to promote walking or cycling, or safer, cleaner and quieter streets; especially if this has the slightest effect on where people park or the routes they’re used to taking when driving. But… if we are so familiar with this depressing scenario, how come we let it keep playing out, on scheme after scheme? Why do we think that simply plugging heroically away, like we did last time, will change things? How is it that we seem to imagine we might continue to lead with our chin but not get felled by a haymaker? Could it be that we think presenting yet more facts in our favour must inevitably triumph over anecdote and emotion? Maybe we hope that the general tide of opinion ‘out there’ is turning, so that, one day, our work will get an easier ride. Perhaps it’s that we simply don’t know what better to do. Possibly we know, or suspect, that a different approach to consultation would be more effective; but we also know we don’t have what it takes. Or might it be that we’re just not very good with people? Reflecting on failures in engagement, it’s essential to admit the possibility (indeed likelihood) that they may at least partly be the result of mistakes on our part, not simply the unavoidable consequence of irrational and implacable hostility. We are, proverbially, supposed to learn from our mistakes; but it’s hard to do so if we focus on the faults of others. The Consultation Institute describes consultation as “The dynamic process of dialogue between individuals or groups, based upon a genuine exchange of views, and normally with the objective of influencing decisions, policies or programmes of action.” Can we honestly say that’s an

Folded arms; petitions; folded arms and petitions; and the mould-breaking thumbs-down. We’re familiar with the opposition, but what is our plan for bringing more people with us next time?

accurate description of the consultation processes we’re usually involved in? This is not to criticise, merely to observe. As is the following: if we’re so sure that our proposals are for the benefit of the majority, why are we often only able to convince a minority? Assuming we believe the prize is worth fighting for, isn’t it worth finding new tactics? My word-count is nearly complete, and all I’ve really done is ask questions. But that’s OK, because I have friends with some answers. Simon writes of his own experience as a campaigner and how this has led him and the London Cycling Campaign (with a little help) to produce a ten-step guide to better engagement to achieve better streets. You’ll be able to get you hands on this soon. Mark comes at the same challenge from the comms/media side of things, and offers us all three simple

strategies that will help us do better next time. And being able to do better next time is the point. We bemoan the resistance to change of some of those we consult with; but if we want to bring more people with us, we need first to embrace change ourselves.

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’s 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

Our guide to better consultation is informed by some b

Simon Munk London Cycling Campaign

I bear the scars of the Waltham Forest mini-Holland schemes; and my purpose in writing this is to help others avoid a similar fate. In 2013, the outer London borough won £27m for active travel schemes, and it has since become a poster-child for transport transformation. The type of schemes implemented range from the complete redesign of an A-road lined with shops, to low traffic neighbourhoods, to behaviour change initiatives, to secure cycle parking facilities on residential streets and at transport hubs, and more. Images from these schemes keep cropping up in presentations by Transport for London and many others, and winning ‘Healthy Streets’ photo

competitions. Well over 200 delegations from across the UK and from other countries – including Newcastle, Edinburgh, the Department for Transport, Mexico City, Bogota and Denmark – have walked or ridden round the area accompanied by campaigners and officers. The schemes themselves have won prestigious awards and plaudits, and it’s now fair to say that they’re acclaimed and successful. But it wasn’t in 2014. At that time I was a local volunteer cycling campaigner. As the first schemes hit the ground, the area divided bitterly; online and on the streets. Posters in hundreds of shop windows said the schemes would kill

businesses; Facebook and Twitter threads exploded; council officers were egged and abused in public; legal proceedings were launched; and campaigners were repeatedly shouted at, even threatened online, for standing up to those who opposed to the schemes. The council survived the first consultations by the skin of its teeth, and learnt fast on how to engage better. Indeed, the borough’s transport schemes are now also a poster-child for good engagement practice. The council went on to use online mapbased comment tools, hold drop-in sessions, undertake detailed parking surveys, and do much more to really enable participation. But it only got


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STREET TALK

Achieving change in a hostile environment

Mark Ames Strategic Cities

As Covid-19 accelerates calls for more safe city space for people, civic leaders face a challenge. It’s not design, because our towns and cities can be what we want them to be. Whether parking lots or public space, the right design tools are already available. The big challenge today is that of agreeing on priorities, and gaining consent from our communities. Even the most essential upgrade works to streets can meet with resistance. And when those debates play out in the pages of local newspapers (or, worse, a neighbourhood Facebook group!) the chances of a civic volte-face are high. I’ve worked with city leaders who’ve been battle-scarred by clashes with those in their own communities who were implacably opposed to change. I’ve seen notable and noble projects fail because consensus and consent failed first. Resistance manifests itself as angry delegations, petitions, even outright opposition and protest – and as the wider media coverage that these protests gain. But this kind of resistance isn’t inevitable. There are approaches to navigating the perils – to messaging,

engagement and media management – that, I’d argue, everyone on the front line of change should try to master. They’re not dark arts reserved for PR professionals; and here are three simple strategies to help you get started. At the start of your project, asking “Why?” is a simple but effective exercise. Why is your city and the way you use it changing? Why is your project happening here? Why is it necessary? It may sound simplistic, but too often I have met delivery officers who don’t really know why, or don’t have a ready answer as to why, the project they’re employed on is being built. Yet each of these officers was likely to find themselves in a public-facing role at some stage in project delivery. So, begin by ensuring all your team understand “Why”. After “Why”, acknowledge emotion. Remember that changing public space affects the places where people live – and that people have emotional attachments to those places. If your plans challenge those emotional attachments, then the people who hold them will have an emotional response. Psychologists tell us that grief manifests in five stages – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, then acceptance. Emotions like these play out due to conflict, trauma or a confronting change – such as a Council scheme meaning some people may no longer be able to park where they always have. And the fact you may not respect these emotions is entirely beside the point. We don’t learn about emotions in traffic engineering classes, but they’re the reason why seemingly simple projects become highly charged; and the so-called ‘soft skills’ of engagement are critical to negotiating the path to success. Next, take time as a team to map the people your work will touch. Identifying supporters is key. While every project will have naysayers, there will also be positive people who can champion your project for

you. I use a model called the “culture change amoeba” – a simple illustration of community consensus as a big, floating, gelatinous blob full of different opinions. On one side of the amoeba there’s a bulge of negative voices – the reactionaries and naysayers. On the other side, a cluster of positive voices – change agents and transformers. Both sides have the potential to pull the centre – the silent majority – their way. Faced with protests and headlines, all too often we invest tremendous effort combatting negative reactions. But the amoeba shows us that our aims are better served by enabling the change agents to create momentum, and bring the wider community with them. This means giving your champions the space to lead in the conversation – an arm’s-length approach that some authorities might find confronting.

But, consider the alternative. When we acknowledge that community concern is a petri dish of different voices, we also acknowledge that some people will never give your work their blessing. So, why keep asking for it? Only reacting to negativity doesn’t create space in the community to allow for progress. Do not, as they say, feed the trolls. Rather, nurture your champions.

Mark Ames runs Strategic Cities which, since 2015, has been equipping city leaders with engagement and communication tools to deliver difficult change (and, in the process training, several hundred officers across Europe and Australasia). He can be reached at www.strategic-cities.com Tweet Mark @StrategicCities

If we’re to engage more fruitfully, we’ll need to use new tools. Have you climbed Arnstein’s Ladder? Surfed the Kubler-Ross Change Curve? Sorted your Individual from your Social and your Material? There may be lots to learn, but the end result will be well worth it.

e bruising encounters! those initial schemes through by toughing it out, with extraordinarily brave political leadership. After the first schemes were in, I ‘turned pro’ with the London Cycling Campaign. Four years on, sadly, I’ve seen the same pattern of toxic and chaotic opposition to progressive schemes over and over and over. The same myths; the same ‘us v them’ battle lines. And, all too often, I’ve seen schemes lost or watered down because most politicians won’t or can’t tough it out. Having witnessed too many consultations going awry, and having learned from them, the LCC has channelled that experience into a better consultation guide for council

officers that’s been produced with the hope of breaking the cycle of good schemes being scuppered. Working with friends from Urban Movement, and drawing on interviews with experts in the field – both campaigners and practitioners – the guide sets out ten steps to better engagement intended to get better street schemes delivered. We can’t guarantee these steps will make NIMBYism and negativity vanish, but they are likely to prevent the worst of consultation failures. Briefly, the steps are: 1. Develop a brief properly; 2. Get comms and engagement expertise; 3. Gather baseline data; 4. Talk to a wide range of residents and businesses about the local area; 5. Create scheme principles

from policy, data, surveys; 6. Create options; 7. Get opinions on those options; 8. Create a final scheme and show residents how their input has shaped it; 9. Keep communicating through construction and then monitor for successes (and failures); 10. Learn from and adapt the scheme, and roll it out again. At a time when public meetings are out, and not everyone in a community will or can engage in Zoom calls or online comment maps, we believe the value of following these steps is all the clearer. And it has been remarkable, as the guide came together, to see many of the UK’s leading transport authorities and practitioners thinking in similar terms.

Most transport professionals will have felt the frustration of losing a scheme to public backlash. Learning how to talk and listen to the public in different ways will help to avoid repetition of that feeling and, of course, help make schemes better. Who wouldn’t want that?

Simon Munk, is the London Cycling Campaign’s infrastructure campaigner and ‘resident kerb-nerd’, lobbying for more and better cycle schemes, scrutinising major projects, and providing technical expertise to local groups. He was previously a consumer technology journalist and copywriter, and a cycling campaigner in Walthamstow.


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Steering a path through controversial times: content is king, but what should it be?

LTT editorial director Peter Stonham concludes a three-part series of special articles marking the 800th issue with his thoughts on the publisher’s challenge in shaping the magazine coverage and putting it in its wider context

I

n the latest of our series of special features related to the publication of our 800th issue, my article this time is designed to share some thinking with our readership about how, as a publisher, we decide upon what the magazine’s remit and content should be. Both in individual issues and, as the professional landscape changes over time, new topical subjects arise. Things have certainly changed a lot since we began publishing LTT in 1989, in an era when ‘the trade magazine’ played a very significant role in bringing all those involved in a sector together as a regular noticeboard and agenda-setting vehicle, and as the main medium of information supply at a time before the dominance of the internet and all the digital information sources we now take for granted. For the first 20 years, our economic model was a strong one, but much began to change in the early years of the new century. For some time now, the magazine on its own as a freestanding publication has become uneconomic, and would seem unlikely to ever generate sufficient subscriptions and sales revenue to cover its preparation, printing and postage costs – our main expenses on it. But the directors have taken the view that it is the flagship and the most visible and iconic element of the wider LTT activity portfolio, and a key means by which we collect the highly important material that drives our wider information-led business, and so resolved to support it continuing as a print publication within the wider mix. We believe the market now deserves a broadly-based and interrelated service of informa-

tion, discussion, feedback and sharing, which can partly be covered by the magazine, but must, these days, inevitably embrace online activities, face-toface get togethers and other forms of networking and specialist interaction. Indeed, as you will have noticed from the past two issues, Rod Fletcher and I, as the founder directors, have recently decided to re-pitch the LTT magazine subscriptions and advertising message within a bigger envelope of membership activities addressing the professional information and knowledge-sharing needs of those involved in local transport. Part of that will involve LTT very soon being delivered digitally as an app, as well as in print. Our highly regarded, proudly delivered and staunchly defended independent business position and role in the local transport market has in any case been continually developing with social, economic and technological development changes since we launched LTT 31 years ago as the voice of the specialist transport planning and professional community working within the UK in the local and regional transport field. It’s been a highly rewarding, and sometimes daunting, role. Over the years we have taken a number of ‘thought leadership’ positions that have reflected the challenges facing our professional community. But we’ve always vigorously avoided any sense of supporting specific businesses or sectors, or taking entrenched positions on specific issues. We have nonetheless happily encouraged sometimes contro-

versial debate on a range of matters, for example in the beginning to question the need for the amount of road building that was taking place back in 1989; exploring the case for more multi-modal and integrated transport planning and funding approaches; reflecting the need for safer local neighbourhoods and streets by calming and reducing traffic levels; then giving considerable space to those advocating the increased use of softer modes (walking and cycling); and most recently recognising the potential damaging consequences of climate change and carbon dependency, and the significance of this issue in decision-making. Up to now there’s been no real controversy about what might loosely be described as the magazine’s ‘balance of coverage’, or its airing of opinions by those challenging ‘conventional wisdom’. Unfortunately, of late, that does seem to have become an issue over the matter of climate change. This subject deserves some comment, I believe, and offers a useful example of the difficult balancing act a publisher and information intermediary must strike. Climate change was not a dominant issue when we began publishing LTT. It was only starting to appear on the global policy agenda, with then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher making, a perhaps surprisingly since overlooked, reference to it in a speech at the United Nations in 1989. But in those early days there were only lone voices speaking out on the subject in transport. Voices such as Mayer Hillman, who deserves huge credit for being willing

Judgments, choices, decisions and deadlines – all in the editor’s job every fortnight

We asked LTT editor Andrew Forster to explain some of the challenges of putting together the magazine

I

t was in the early 1990s while doing a research degree on urban transport policy at Leeds that I had the idea of pursuing a career in transport journalism. The PhD, sponsored by the Association of Metropolitan Authorities (one of the predecessor bodies to the Local Government Association), involved looking in-depth at how policy was formulated. I became fascinated by the question of why policy is as it is – what are the ingredients to decision-making and how do they interact: evidence, experts, personal experiences, pressure groups, societal values, party politics, and such like? Journalism was an obvious route to continuing to ask these questions, and an opportunity arose at LTT as I neared the end of the four-year project. After a couple of years as a reporter I left to work in a council transport team for two years, returning in 2000 as editor.

It’s been said that journalism is the ‘first rough draft of history’

As a person, I bring a few things to the job alongside an interest in transport: being inquisitive helps, so does being a bit nerdy – you have to be, really, because the detail of policy and practice is often where the real interest lies. I also believe that society – and public policy – is improved by the free exchange of ideas. As Peter relates in the main article, that latter point has been quite a challenge when it comes to reporting on climate matters. You don’t become an editor if you want a regular 9-5 job. Two big changes have made the task even more of a challenge in recent years: first, the explosion in the volume of raw news material, due to changes in the transport sector such as new technology developments, new forms of transport service, and new governance units such as combined authorities that have big transport agendas. Second, the editorial resource to process the material has shrunk in line with the challenging economics, which is not unique to LTT. The fortnightly production cycle goes from a cold start to a very intense last 72 hours in which a

mass of activities have to be completed, including prioritising and grouping the stories, sub-editing every line, writing headlines, checking facts, sourcing pictures, ensuring all the late news is incorporated, and then writing an opinion column! Overall, I think we do a reasonable job of pulling together and presenting everything most of the time. The worst feeling is realising after the pages have been sent to the printers that you’ve made an important factual omission or error in a story. All you can do is hold your hands up, correct it online, and apologise next issue. More common is the thought that you could have worded something a bit differently and better. More often than not this comes with the more creative writing of a feature or editorial opinion, which are quite different writing styles from the news. Most journalists do not have to switch styles so much as those of us who are the main custodians of a small specialist magazine. It’s been said that journalism is the “first rough draft of history”. We do our best, but perfection comes along rather later after more leisurely reflection!


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TransportXtra.com/ltt to stick his neck out and court criticism and vilification (within our columns and elsewhere) years ahead of those sounding the warnings of climate change now. It’s important to state that the vast majority of LTT’s coverage of climate matters today concerns the formulation and practical application of policy. We’ve provided in-depth coverage of every report from the Committee on Climate Change and the DfT, as well as those of wider government and other bodies. We’ve reported extensively on the decarbonisation plans and policies of local authorities. Technology developments such as electric vehicles and hydrogen power make up an ever increasing proportion of our news coverage. We’ve reported the calls for transport appraisal to be revamped to reflect the Government’s Net Zero target. And we’ve also provided extensive coverage of the work of environmental pressure groups, for instance, the series of transport reports by Friends of the Earth last year, and more recently we’ve covered indepth the legal challenge to the DfT’s road investment strategy on the grounds that it is contradictory to the binding commitments made in the Paris Climate Agreement. We have also reflected upon the fact that the size of the decarbonisation challenge is such that there are many potential pitfalls on the path to successful delivery. This includes public engagement and support for policies that may well inhibit personal freedoms in terms of travel, choice of mode and vehicle, as well as the economics and practicalities of delivering zero emission transport. In large part these challenges have still to be confronted, but we feel it important to raise the issues now because if one thing 30 years of reporting has taught us, it’s that implementation of transport promises and programmes doesn’t always go according to plan. On the science, we recognise that in-depth scientific discussions, let alone judgments, are beyond the remit of a specialist magazine seeking to cover a vast range of issues in local transport. For some people, our approach may not go far enough in getting on board with the climate change crusade, and the demands of campaigns such as Extinction Rebellion. Their message is heartfelt and passionate, but to some, unjustifiably all-consuming, and perhaps alarmist (they headlined their press release on last week’s Committee on Climate Change report ‘CCC advises Government to prepare for the apocalypse’). Their tactics of protest and direct engagement have certainly been very effective, and have caused politicians, public bodies and some businesses to burnish their green credentials. But verbal endorsement and engagement does not necessarily represent committed and radical public policy or business practice. Campaigners’ clamour may well create a situation where their message is seen as unchallengeable, and negativity towards them is almost taboo, but the practicalities of ‘saying the right thing’ and those of genuinely embracing the true implications of their agenda and doing it, are two different things. Whilst there’s a pragmatic critique to be made of the more assertive climate change campaigns, and their appropriateness and realism, there’s also a case to be made for being even more radical than most of

25 Just some of the content expressing different responses to climate change that LTT has published in recent months

We welcome vibrant, civil and informed discussion in LTT, recognising the media’s vital role as a place for the free exchange of ideas. them. As editorial director, I made it in an article I wrote in this magazine (LTT 3 Apr) looking into the viewpoint of those who think humans are fatally disrupting the Earth’s ecosystem, and unlocking problems beyond climate change – to include the circumstances in which viruses such as Covid-19 can flourish, through overpopulation and densification of urban areas, hyper-connectivity, over-dependence on technology, experimenting with bio science, and profligacy with resources, to name just a few. A range of opinions are fundamental to our role as a publisher, and fortunately, in this country – unlike some others – we all have our personal rights to express them. We welcome vibrant, civil and informed discussion in LTT, recognising the media’s vital role as a place for the free exchange of ideas. But they can sometimes become very stridently expressed and repetitive, so we felt it time to bring the climate change science debate in the letters pages to a halt, as we feel the participants have now made their points very clear, and there is no benefit in helping them bludgeon each other into submission! We’ve done the same in the past on other issues where things have got overheated, such as on speed cameras. Yet we do defend the right to allow different viewpoints to be aired on this subject from time-to-time.

A contrarian opinion articulately and emolliently expressed will never be excluded from our columns on the grounds of its difference from the majority view! Such debate is, and will remain, at the core of what we do. At its heart LTT exists to play the role of providing a specialist insight into the way the transport agenda is changing, and the various propositions and positions being put forward by different experts, interest groups and decision-making bodies. And to address how decisions on competing policy priorities are played out. In a word, we like to give our readers the very best understanding of the local transport ‘plot’! We staunchly defend our independence, and our ability to present a range of opinions and perspectives. Not every one that we publish will be popular with all our audience, but as long as they’re presented in temperate language, we will continue to include a diversity of opinion that reflects the real world in which those dealing with transport must work. There’s recently been talk of the risk of there being ‘an echo chamber’ or ‘bubble’ amongst people who agree with each other, and don’t want to hear the views of others. Another potentially dangerous further step is the actions of those who want to shout down, or worse, shut down, the voices of people who they disagree with. Not hearing or seeing things does not mean they don’t still exist, and hardly helps balanced decisionmaking and implementation by the professionals who work within government, local government and other agencies and which we exist to support in their demanding but fascinating working lives. That’s our challenge, and we’ll continue to rise to it to the best of our abilities.


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VIEWPOINT

LTT802 10 July - 23 July 2020

Beauty is only skin-deep. We should look under the surface of walking facilities Tom Cohen University of Westminster

On 28 May the University of Westminster’s Active Travel Academy and campaign group London Living Streets launched a new events programme called Walking@Tea-time. The first question our panel was asked to address was ‘Why is walking the poor cousin of transport policy?’ The answers included a challenge from Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, who asked: is walking actually the poor cousin? Perhaps no longer, he suggested, citing the DfT’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy of 2017 as evidence that things were looking up for the mode. Nevertheless, none of our speakers was so bold as to claim that walking was the rich cousin of UK transport policy. And Maria Vassilakou, a former deputy mayor of Vienna, certainly provided enough evidence that walking is a richer cousin in that city than in any major UK settlement. This prompted the following thought. Imagine a way of measuring level of service (LOS) that enabled informed comparisons to be made between different modes of transport. I know of certain existing attempts to do this but they are based on current ranges of performance, which seems unhelpfully circular; I’m picturing instead a method whose criteria reflect universal principles. The indicators would presumably include: • effective speed, relative to some reasonable benchmark • reliability, perhaps some dimensionless measure of dispersion around the mean speed

Here’s a theory: it’s an awful lot less contentious and disruptive to install attractive public realm than to take measures to elevate walking’s level of service.

In Passing

LTT has a recurring fear that the magazine is being read by a grammarian who one day will send in a long letter listing all our errors since the beginning of time. Perhaps that individual is Terri Eynon, the Labour Leicestershire county councillor for Coalville North. She has just written to the council, giving some feedback on its new Coalville transport strategy. “A-level English students will note the strange syntax and agentless passive construction in paragraph 49: ‘It was recognised that at the time of the policy’s adoption, it would unlikely be capable of funding the entirety of the transport infrastructure required to support growth in the area,’” she says. “An agentless passive is a neat way of hiding the identity of the persons doing the recognising,” adds Eynon, before reminding the council that it was Labour

• directness, i.e. the distance travelled from A to B versus the straight-line distance • quality of journey, represented by smoothness of the ‘ride’ I acknowledge that my list of generic indicators is narrower than has been seen in mode-specific LOS systems such as TfL’s for cycling, or the Pedestrian Environment Review System (PERS) for walking. In order to allow comparison across modes, it is necessary to strip things down to the basic business of getting from A to B. And I realise that this raises a host of issues, such as whether benchmark speed should be the same across all motorised modes. These will have to be put to one side for now. If such a measure existed, I contend that walking would receive a low score relative to other modes. Why? I think it would fall down on effective speed, resulting mainly from crossing delays and footway obstructions, and on quality of journey, reflecting footway condition. This is a hypothesis, and I ask you to go with it for now: more research is needed, naturally. But, if you accept that walking isn’t the rich cousin, we surely wouldn’t expect it to get the top LOS score. Then suppose a policy was adopted to improve the LOS of socially desirable but currently underperforming modes. Walking, for example. This would mean: roadspace reallocation to enable footway expansion (at the expense of other modes); retiming signals, also at the expense of other modes; and zebra crossings located on desire lines such as, dare I say it, across the mouths of minor roads at priority junctions. It could also mean replacing broken paving slabs, forcing recalcitrant property-owners to trim back their hedges, and introducing a punitively expensive slotrental system for displaying A-boards. But, according to the measure as I’ve defined it, it would not mean installing water features, trees or public art. This may appear heretical. Indeed, a great deal of the guidance on providing for walking speaks of creating attractive places. In fact, walking is not alone in this – the word “attractive” crops up in guidance relating to cycling provision and, to a lesser extent, transport interchanges. But I think the word tends to be interpreted differently across these contexts: whilst there are examples of art in cycling infrastructure (I’m thinking of the DNA path in Cambridge), it is consid-

ered a bonus. In contrast, the guidance suggests that walking facilities must be attractive if they are to succeed. Is this really true? When Paul Buchanan and colleagues proposed a dichotomy between strollers and striders, I think they were onto something. Striders are travelling from A to B. Whilst they presumably won’t object to attractive public realm, it will surely matter less to them than the factors I listed earlier, as these determine the relative ease with which they can reach their destination. To invoke another, familiar dichotomy, I think the call for attractiveness results from a conflation of movement and place. To my mind, walking is movement, and public realm is place. I conjecture that the conflation arises from walking being part of practically all journeys: we are all strollers when we mill around Granary Square in London, including those who left a vehicle of some kind a moment ago. Walking, yes, but not utility walking. So, what’s going on? Well, here’s a theory: it’s an awful lot less contentious and disruptive to install attractive public realm than to take the measures I described to elevate walking’s level of service. So, by blurring the boundary between striders and strollers and placing undue emphasis on attractiveness, policymakers are able to cop out. The network of footways and the crossings that connect them continue to be of very mixed quality, sometimes even non-existent. But we are distracted from this fact by “flagship” installations of public art, and so forth. Can I really have got this far without using the word safety? Seemingly so. You may feel I’ve missed a key point: attractive public realm is likelier to feel safe. I wouldn’t dispute that walking needs to both be and feel safe. Add safety into the LOS calculus, in fact, and you’ll surely agree that walking would do even less well. But well-planned, properly maintained infrastructure may do just as good a job of promoting a feeling of personal safety amongst walkers. Pound for pound, I bet it would do rather better. So let’s give our poor cousin a decent place to live first, before proposing cosmetic surgery.

councillors who did the recognising.

The DfT is casting the net far and wide for inspiration on decarbonising transport. It is, after all, a tricky subject. Unusually, its call for ideas published this week asks respondents to indicate their age last birthday and includes a category for people “less than 11 years old”. What flummoxed us, however, was the series of questions a little further on that ask: “Do you have a disability or other long-standing health problem that makes it impossible to ride a bicycle? Do you have a disability or other long-standing health problem that makes it difficult to ride a bicycle? Do you have no disability or other longstanding health problem that makes it difficult to ride a bicycle?” Pardon us for asking, but what exactly are they trying to get at?

A reader is less than impressed with an email received from Emovis, the operator of the electronic tolling system on the Dartford Crossing. The company informs our reader that their Dart Charge account has been inactive for 12 months and will be closed if it remains inactive for a further 90 days. “Emovis is threatening to close my DartTag account because I’ve been inactive! The whole country has been inactive for four months UNDER EXPLICIT GOVERNMENT INSTRUCTIONS!!!!” So what to do? “I can remedy the situation by making a crossing – despite the Government still issuing travel restrictions advice!”

Tom Cohen is a senior lecturer at the University of Westminster’s Active Travel Academy.


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A strong case exists for constructing new railways

What a good idea it would be to borrow some transport planners from Switzerland as suggested by Jonathan Tyler (Letters, LTT 26 Jun). Why not invite a leading Swiss transport planner to prepare an article for LTT to show the Swiss approach towards solving Britain's rail transport problems? It could be very illuminating. I was really fascinated to read Jonathan's selection of the Market Harborough to Leicester line for special mention. When I used to travel extensively over the whole UK to visit customers’ shops, I used my car or travelled by train from Derby choosing the best option. For Northampton, I invariably used my car due to the lack of a direct rail link. There never seemed to be any champion for direct rail services along the M1 corridor. At the Conservative Party conference in October 2017 at a very well-attended rail fringe meeting, I asked the panel of speakers and the audience if anyone had heard of any proposal to re-open Market Harborough to Northampton. Not a murmur of response from the whole floor. I also asked the same question at a Railfuture conference in Leicester and the city’s elected mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, said that it was on their radar, but they were concentrating on getting direct rail services between Leicester and Coventry first. Since then Market Harborough to Northampton has gained greater public prominence. Jonathan, however, does the railway a disservice when he suggests that only a few railway re-openings may be marginally justified. Just as the National Infrastructure Commission as an infrastructure promoter may not be able to identify operational measures that Jonathan as a timetable planner can appreciate, railway operators may not be able to identify much-needed new railways where potential rail passengers are forced into their cars as I have described above. If we consider Northampton mentioned earlier, the town’s economy needs rail services to many locations not well connected. For commuters working in Northampton it needs ‘local’ rail services to Banbury, Daventry, Market Harborough, Kettering, Wellingborough, Rushden and Bedford as well as Wolverton and Rugby. For links to other nearby cities to stimulate sharing of ideas etc, Northampton needs fast and direct rail services to Leicester, Nottingham, Peterborough, Cambridge, Luton and Oxford as well as Coventry and Milton Keynes. And that does not include improving rail for longdistance services to Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield and Bristol. This list demonstrates a large number of rail reopenings that could deliver benefits to the local economy, just from consideration of the travel needs of one large town. This is why I am very delighted to read that many of my suggestions are being seriously considered (‘Three new east-west rail arcs explored for EEH geography’ LTT 26 Jun). I do admire the professional thoroughness of the plans described in the article. I can only hope that all the viable rail enhancements are taken forward with a visible champion, rather than previous transport corridor studies of decades back, which were used to gain justification for road building whilst rail improvements were ignored. In the meantime before these new railways get built, there could be a case for fast bus services integrated with the rail network. Graham Nalty Derby DE24

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Comment 27

Look back for lessons in managing uncertainties today

Your review of events since the launch of LTT (12 Jun) powerfully makes the point that much of what has happened in those 30 years was unforeseen at the time. In retrospect, and in spite of that, those years seem almost a period of calm continuity compared with what is now upon us, and coming over the horizon. It is paradoxical then that authors of much of the current content (news, comment and correspondence) seem to assume (or hope) that the future of transport should be as much like the past as possible. In response to climate change, some (both official and unofficial) want a return to conventional predict and provide provision of roads, while others deny it and seek an end of the ‘war on motorists’. I know where I stand on that one, but do not wish to pursue it further now. For me an uncomfortably parallel challenge arises from Covid-19. I have spent my entire career trying to create ‘compact liveable cities’, supported by good public transport and delivering agglomeration economies, environmental sustainability, quality of life and social cohesion. There is likely to be a continuing long-term need for infection control if the present pandemic ebbs and flows (and if it becomes endemic, even with an effective vaccine). That would pose huge difficulties for the integrated transport and spatial planning policies that I have long held dear, so how could that be reconciled? (I speak as a former chairman of Birmingham Health Authority, though thankfully no longer responsible for the city’s public health!) Conventional transport planning approaches, with their narrow focus on travel demands and modes and their dependence on modelling and cost-benefit analysis, do not work well in such an uncertain context. A philosophy of ‘planning as management of uncertainty’ (called Strategic Choice) was developed by the Institute for Operational Research in the late1960s. This was widely employed until the Thatcher government’s 1980s assault on strategic planning as an ‘outdated concept of the 1960s’. Harder-edged, economic and property-based ‘blueprints’ took over, and the job of planning became seen as creating certainty for these sectors (a forlorn hope, which has contributed to its decline). Strategic Choice briefly re-emerged in the early 2000s as ‘plan, monitor and manage’, the Labour Government’s attempt to deliver a better-managed supply of housing land. But it foundered on the hostility of builders, landowners and conventional economists to local authorities doing the managing. However, Covid, Brexit and the fragmentation of the UK mean that we are finding out the importance of local control the hard way, and Strategic Choice might allow us to grapple more effectively with the huge uncertainties we face. Strategic Choice identifies three types of uncertainty: about values (UV – our views on long-term social purpose), environment (UE – our knowledge about the physical and economic context) and relationships (UR – our understanding of the roles of the agencies involved). These uncertainties can be reduced by public participation, research and consultation respectively. However, uncertainty cannot be eliminated, so continuous monitoring and adjustment are needed.

> MORE ON P28

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Big spenders – but wisely? The Prime Minister and the Chancellor have been to the magic money tree again with their announcements in the last week. First came Boris Johnson’s ‘build build build’ New Deal for Britain, based on massive construction programmes, and then substantial new support from Rishi Sunak to forestall unemployment through helping businesses employ and retain young people. It would be tempting to think that if lots of schemes on transport and highway authority wishlists are now given the green light, then both the economy and our transport system will be the better for it. But is there not a danger of the money being ‘spaffed up the wall’, to put it in the PM’s language, if it is based upon erroneous assumptions about our future mobility patterns and needs, overlooks potential new behavioural and technological step changes, and does not reflect the resilience and adaptations to new circumstances we need in our existing systems? LTT’s online discussion theme last week was ‘Calling the Future: what are the surprises in store that we’re not even planning for yet?’. Obviously none of the contributors could claim they were certain about things, but each in their own way opened up areas where the watchword had to be flexibility and a readiness to adjust rather than putting all the bets on assumed future scenarios. Our contributor Peter Warman explores this conundrum further on page 14, and suggests that resilience and preparing for surprises has to be the best and most prudent way to proceed in such an uncertain world as ours. He explores the tools now available to understand and simulate all sorts of situations that might come up on the radar, including some we already know will be important but cannot be sure in what form. Vanity projects and big investment statements of confidence (a field in which transport schemes often loom large) might look like a suitable response to our current short-term economic challenges as we come out of the pandemic recession, but at some point the old solutions may need to be put aside in favour of more creative ones. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1933 New Deal measures may well have been suitable for its time, but we don’t live in that kind of analogue world anymore. There are lots of new challenges around now that didn’t exist then. The phrase ‘smart growth’ means different things to different people, but it could be time for us to think about the whole idea of conventionally measured economic growth, with the investment decisions embedded in it needing to be re-examined too.


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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (continued)

28 Comment

Planning should be instituting a process, rather than specifying an endpoint. Rather than the ill-tempered polarisation that has come to characterise policy debates in recent times, might this provide a framework for a more collaborative approach? Alan Wenban-Smith Birmingham B13

Transport priorities for a Covid-19 economic recovery

As the Covid-19 lockdown gradually recedes into the past, we have to look to the future. One result of the restrictions has been the demands for us all to move about less and, in a lot of cases, more efficiently. The experience of the Second World War gave some potential insights. Only travel if you must and walk instead of jumping on a bus for a two-stop journey. This time, the restrictions flagged up the options for home working and making purchases via the internet. Some people miss the interaction of shopping and/or meeting colleagues in person at places of work. An awful lot have realised the benefits of working from home with an associated reduction in time spend travelling and cost. Are we seriously saying that everything will go back to how it was before? I think not, so transport is going to undergo an upheaval the like of which we have not seen since nationalisation. This is in an era, recovering from Covid, that overlays the much more important issue of global warming, an issue we have no experience of and must, by definition, get right first time. The Government has, in my view, made a courageous decision in accepting that the various issues arising from the Covid-19 crisis require a ‘New

Improve Public Rights of Way, not only for walkers but cyclists and wheelchair users, says Brian Dalton

Deal’ approach. We are lucky, in that interest rates are at an all-time low so we can confidently borrow a larger portion of the required finance. As we are borrowing, the plan should extend to 20 years hence so we don’t just import staff and allow our own people to languish on benefits, which would be unhealthy. Yes that means the new deal must include provision for training. The new deal should include building new railways, improving existing ones, increasing

sustainable power generation and improving the existing road network, including cycleways alongside motorways. I would upgrade every Right of Way to include walking, cycling and wheelchair capabilities, coupled with equestrian provisions in rural areas. We must restructure our airports network so there is no capacity that stands waiting ‘just in case’ it’s needed. There has to be a certain amount of leeway on this, I know, however, airports should be connected to one another by rail. Electric bikes are not as good as human-powered bikes. Why haul an extra two stones of battery and motor just for the few moments of assistance? It’s better to get a bit more healthy and cope without. It is my belief that, in the 20 years to come, global warming will reach a crisis. It is up to us, as the cradle of the industrial revolution, to flag up the way to cope with its effects. During that period I don’t expect much international co-operation, as America seems to be in denial, and many view Brexit as a reversal. All we do, from here on in, must be assessed in terms of energy consumption and that must be supplied in a sustainable way so we can demonstrate how we can get out of this global predicament.

Brian Dalton Purley Surrey CR8

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Annual Conference of the Association for European Transport 09-11 SEPTEMBER, 2020

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The LTT Directory 31

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Demand Forecasts Analysis Strategy Policy Pricing Survey Design & Execution Management Plans Contact harry@parkingperspectives.com 01245 330370

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TRAFFIC + TRANSPORTATION

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

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

THE DATA COLLECTION SPECIALISTS

Contact Joe Maclaren or Jeremy Rowlands

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LTT802 10 July - 23 July 2020

32 The LTT Directory

The next issue of LTT will be published: Friday 24 July Advertising booking deadline: Tuesday 21 July

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

For display and directory advertising please contact Jason on: 020 7091 7895 or email: jason@landor.co.uk


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The LTT Directory 33


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www.Jobs-in-Transport.com

Recruitment 35

The best jobs in transport Apply to these and further vacancies on the UK’s leading transport jobs board: www.Jobs-in-Transport.com

Traffic Systems Engineer Hove • £32,029 - £34,788 Ref: orbis/TP/25332/8056

This is an exciting opportunity to lead, develop and manage the city’s traffic control systems at Brighton & Hove City Council. You will manage the council’s contractor to keep the city moving and ensure the service area is run efficiently and to excellent customer service standards. We are looking for someone who will develop effective and robust procedures to manage the Traffic Signals contract, that keeps the systems and equipment working in the traffic control team. You will be working in partnership with contractors, the Police and other stakeholders in ensuring that all highway users can move freely in the city and as efficiently as possible, by supporting the city’s Transport Control Centre. You will also lead on the provision of specialist and technical support in the design, delivery and management of the city’s Intelligent Transport Systems. You are responsible for ensuring efficient traffic flows within and through the city, by using the systems and working with the city’s Traffic Control Centre to minimise delays on the road network. For an informal discussion, please contact Sean Power, Traffic Systems Manager on 01273 290544. To apply, please visit https://new.brighton-hove.gov.uk/jobs/search and search using ‘orbis/TP/25332/8056’. Closing date: 22 July 2020. Interviews likely to be w/c 3 August 2020. We welcome applications from all sections of the community.

new.brighton-hove.gov.uk

Transport Planner £33,456 - £36,674 What you’ll be leading on l Apply your specialist knowledge to provide transport planning based analysis on both major and small scale road schemes across the country both internally and through the supply chain l Ensure that the appropriate policies and procedures are followed in support of the strategic transport modelling and appraisal process

RECRUIT HERE

l Ensure compliance with the application of the analytical assurance framework to manage proportionate, risk-based analysis l Specify and assist in the management of research projects across aspects of transport planning, transport modelling and appraisal as and when required l Take part in the development of the next generation of the Regional Traffic Models. To be successful l Knowledge of the operation of highway and planning authorities and their interaction with the strategic highway authority. l A level of technical knowledge and experience that could be characterised by an MSc level degree in Transport Planning and experience of applying transport planning techniques.

To advertise please contact Jason on: 020 7091 7895 or email: jason@landor.co.uk

l Hands on experience of developing and using strategic transport models and an understanding of their strengths and weaknesses.

l Knowledge of how traffic models should be used in the development of evidence bases. l Intermediate knowledge of Excel and GIS software Closes: 17th July

APPLY NOW: https://bit.ly/3dshPBr


LTT802 back page.qxp_LTT759_pXX 10/07/2020 09:56 Page 1

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Published 24 July 2020

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LTT802 10 July - 23 July 2020

News

People

Fraud probe into council’s £3m loss on road contract ROADS

DUMFRIES AND Galloway Council is exploring if illegal activities contributed to the council losing more than £3m on a road maintenance contract. The probe focuses on the council’s former trading arm, DGFirst (later ‘Enterprising Services’), which was closed last February. Between 2013 and 2018 DGFirst was a subcontractor to the Scotland Transerv joint venture company (of Balfour Beatty and initially Mouchel) for the Scottish Government’s South West trunk road maintenance contract. The council’s role was to deliver winter service operations and repair carriageway defects. It had worked as a sub-contractor on the two previous contracts, from 2002 to 2013, and each time recorded an operating surplus. But the council lost £3.26m on the Transerv contract. An internal review identifies a series of failings. “The funda-

mental issue that had a significant impact throughout the arrangements for this contract was the culture of ‘DGFirst’, laterally ‘Enterprising Services’,” it says. Staff perceived they were “not part of the council and acted independently”. Consequently, the service “did not always engage with the appropriate professional advice and support, particularly in relation to legal, finance, procurement, risk management and internal audit.” Although DGFirst commenced work for Transerv in 2013, the two parties did not sign a contract until June 2018 – two months after delivery ended. An inquiry into possible fraud and corruption is now underway, focusing on DGFirst’s expenditure of £23m over the course of the contract with sub-contractors and material suppliers. “[DGFirst] relied extensively on external sub-contractors to deliver the contractual obligations but with no comprehensive competitively tendered or properly aligned contractual arrangements

in place,” says the council review. The contractual arrangements left the majority of risk for performance failures with the council. “National contracts were available for the supply of materials and plant but were not used, despite potentially having more favourable terms and rates for the council.” The fraud inquiry is exploring issues including: whether all payments due to the council were pursued; whether firms were awarded a contract or preferred supplier status for reasons other than the council’s best interests; whether there were failures to address contract under-performance; and whether officials withheld/misrepresented information about the contract to the wider council. Findings should be reported towards the end of the year. “Police Scotland will receive the council’s full support including progressing matters to potential prosecution should illegal activity be identified,” says the council.

TPS helps members hit by Covid

SKILLS

THE TRANSPORT Planning Society is offering support to any of its professional development scheme (PDS) trainees who have lost their jobs because of Covid19. The Society’s skills team will work with affected members to find them a trained mentor, unless their existing mentor will

continue voluntarily, and give them full support while they are unemployed. This includes first, interim and final reviews. Keith Buchan, the Society’s skills director, said: “The TPS skills team is continually working to find ways to support our trainees in these difficult times. “The benefits for trainees of the retention scheme are clear. Not only will they be able to con-

tinue to progress their professional development and work towards Incorporated Transport Planner (IncTP), they will be able to demonstrate to prospective employers their commitment and motivation to pursue a career in transport planning and hopefully make an easier and speedier transfer back into paid employment.” Visit: www.tps.org.uk

Barker is DfT’s local transport deputy Caroline Barker has been appointed the DfT’s deputy director for buses, taxis and local transport. She was deputy director, programme, legal and communications, airports and infrastructure. Barker joined the DfT in May 2018 from Highways England, where she was head of the DfT client team.

Acklam is TfN’s smart travel director Jeremy Acklam has been appointed integrated & smart travel programme director at Transport for the North on a contract. He is a director of Ventury Innovators Ltd and dataX Software.

Schlebusch quits Jump for Dott Sebastian Schlebusch has joined new e-scooter and bike rental firm Dott as head of market development, based in Amsterdam. Schlebusch moves from Uber’s JUMP e-bike and escooter hire business, which he joined last September as head of market development for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He was previously director of bike rental firm Nextbike UK and director of its German parent company’s international business development.

Lucas joins Manchester from Leeds Karen Lucas has joined the University of Manchester as professor of human geography from the University of Leeds where she was professor of transport and social analysis.

Eastwood seconded to Transport Scotland Matthew Eastwood has joined Transport Scotland’s low carbon economy directorate on secondment from the Energy Saving Trust. He is working on the directorate’s ‘work local’ initiative, supporting post-Covid economic recovery by enabling a “digital and distributed workforce”. Eastwood was the Energy Saving Trust’s head of transport until last June, when he joined Uber as its head of cities for Scotland and northeast England.

New MaaS Alliance board The Mobility as a Service (MaaS) Alliance has announced its new board. Jacob Bangsgaard, chief executive of ERTICO, was re-elected president. Other members are: Krista HuhtalaJenks, vice-president – head of ecosystem and sustainability at MaaS Global; Aurelien Cottet – innovation project leader at Transdev; James Datson – principal technologist at the UK’s Connected Places Catapult; Jehan de Thé – public affairs director for the Europcar Mobility Group; Carme Fabregas – chief technology officer at ATM Barcelona; Pierre Gosset – chief technical officer at SYSTRA Group; Laurianne Krid – director general of FIA Region I; Eric Mink – programme manager for MaaS at the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management; and Joost Vantomme – smart mobility director at European motor manufacturers’ association ACEA. Sarah White has been appointed corporate marketing and communications manager at SYSTRA. She had been a bids and proposals manager at the company since 2011.