The North East Combined Authority (NECA)* is currently consulting on its “20 year Transport Manifesto for the North East”. It should take no more than 15 minutes to complete and your reply will help ensure our streets are safe and our air is cleaner for our children, friends and neighbours.
The Survey: Key Themes and Guiding Principles
Below we give a brief overview of the Manifesto and the survey with some suggestions for how to answer, including the economic, social and environmental benefits of walking and cycling.
In particular we would ask you to support an additional theme:
Considerate: Transport should be considerate of and respect the communities it serves and through which the transport passes. Residential streets should be quiet places where it is safe for children to play. Exposure to air pollution should be minimised and where there are major routes they should be made safe for walking and cycling.
What’s in the Manifesto?
The manifesto contains many things that are hard to disagree with: a desire for transport that is easy to use, affordable, reliable, and accessible. It contains guiding principles such as more sustainable travel, less road congestion, better air quality and lower carbon emissions, and healthy, active lifestyles. Many of these we covered in our post Billion Pound Issues on Gosforth High Street.
The manifesto also lists potential improvements. For walking it includes: attractive walking routes with better signage and crossings, improved walking links within and between communities, promoting walking to school, and new developments with “walking designed-in”. For cycling, the plan is to build a networks of strategic cycle routes integrated with important work, leisure, and other transport locations, improve streets and junctions to support cycling, establish cycle-friendly standards for neighbourhoods, promoting cycling as a healthy lifestyle, and reducing cycling casualty rates.
The survey is split into two parts. The first relates to themes for the transport system as a whole. The second to guiding principles.
A. Key Themes
NECA has set out four key themes for the future transport system in the North East. The first set of questions asks: do you agree with these themes.
Arguably walking and cycling are already the most easy to use, affordable, reliable, and accessible forms of transport. This in itself is a reason to support these themes.
You may however wish to clarify how these themes apply to other forms of transport. To do so you will have to choose no/disagree and supply your answer in the free text field.
1. Easy to use: It should be easy to plan safe journeys, find out the best way to travel, pay for tickets and get all the essential information for your journey.
|Making journeys safe is key to putting walking and cycling on an equal footing with other forms of transport. Everyone would then be able to choose how best to travel based on time, cost or other needs.
SPACE for Gosforth supports this theme.
2. Reliable: The transport network should be one that we can rely on to work, with buses and trains running on time and congestion at a minimum.
|SPACE for Gosforth supports reliable transport but with the following caveat relating to congestion.
Expert evidence on induced traffic suggests that investing to reduce congestion often does not achieve the time saving it intends and instead just leads to more traffic and reduced air quality.
The same evidence suggests that actions that might on the face of it seem to make congestion worse, such as reallocating road space to public transport or to cycling, make no difference to congestion but can help improve road safety and air quality and are more cost effective ways of increasing the capacity of our roads in terms of numbers of people transported.
SPACE for Gosforth would therefore like to suggest as an amendment:
Reliable: The transport network should be one that we can rely on to work, with buses and trains running on time and with existing road space allocated to maximise the people-moving capacity of the transport network.
3. Affordable: As far as possible, transport should be provided at a reasonable cost relative to the journey being made.
|SPACE for Gosforth supports affordable transport but costs should reflect how a journey is made as well as the journey itself.
SPACE for Gosforth would therefore like to suggest an amendment to better reflect the difference in costs between different modes of transport:
Affordable: As far as possible, transport should be provided at a reasonable cost relative to the journey being made and should take account of the full direct and indirect costs of that mode of transport to ensure economic incentives for journey choice are set correctly.
Indirect costs here would include costs such as pollution and dealing with accidents vs direct costs which would include road building and maintenance.
4. Accessible: Transport should run as near as possible to where people live and want to travel to, and should be usable by everyone.
|SPACE for Gosforth supports this theme.|
5. Considerate – An Additional Key Theme
Once you have answered for the above themes the survey will ask “Are there any other key themes you believe should be added to the list?
SPACE for Gosforth would like to suggest “Considerate”.
|5. Considerate: Transport should be considerate of and respect the communities it serves and through which the transport passes. Residential streets should be quiet places where it is safe for children to play. Exposure to air pollution should be minimised and where there are major routes they should be made safe for walking and cycling.|
You may wish to add your own experience and reasons why this is important to you.
B. Guiding Principles
The survey will then ask you to select and rank four guiding principles from a list of ten. While walking and cycling can enable all of these, we have selected the four below that we believe are most likely to lead to the further investment that is needed for walking and cycling.
Why is this important? Air pollution due to traffic is known to kill 29,000 people in the UK per annum. Inactivity has a similar effect and is reported to be a cause of 279 premature deaths each year for Newcastle alone. These are real issues that affect our communities. By enabling those that want to to walk or cycle, and to leave their car at home, we also free up roads (and car parks) for the businesses and people that need them most. Evidence also shows that installing cycle lanes and improving facilities for pedestrians can help revitalise local retail centres,
|Priorities||Potential Guiding Principles|
|1. Growth in economic activity|
|2. Equality of opportunity|
|*||3. More sustainable travel|
|4. Less road congestion|
|5. Good access to workplaces, services, shops and leisure|
|*||6. Healthy, active lifestyles|
|*||7. Better air quality and lower carbon emissions|
|8. Well-maintained, climate-resilient and safe transport networks|
|9. Efficient use of transport assets|
|*||10. Land use planning that favours sustainable travel|
The survey completes with a few optional profiling questions (e.g. gender, age, postcode and how you travel ).
SPACE for Gosforth
Thank you for taking the time to read this. We would like to encourage members of SPACE to respond to the consultation and share their views. Only by doing so can you help shape the future of transport in the North East. You have until Friday 8th of April to respond and can do so online here.
We also have the option of responding as an organisation, so if you have any other thoughts or ideas about the manifesto then please let us know in the comments.
* NECA brings together the local authorities of Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Sunderland, County Durham and Northumberland to work jointly on a number of issues in our region. Newcastle is leading on NECA’s strategic transport planning in the region, and the combined authority has produced a transport manifesto entitled ‘Our Journey’. This will guide broad transport policy in the region for the next 20 years.