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Author Topic: The Shape of Things to Come  (Read 578 times)
SandTEngineer
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« on: March 27, 2020, 04:50:51 pm »

From the BBC: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-52064509

The document referenced is here (its a long 80 page read): https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/876251/decarbonising-transport-setting-the-challenge.pdf

Quote
Climate change: 'Gob-smacking' vision for future UK transport

People in the UK need to shift from cars to public transport to address the challenge of climate change, the government says.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "Public transport and active travel will be the natural first choice for our daily activities.

"We will use our cars less and be able to rely on a convenient, cost-effective and coherent public transport network."

Transport campaigners have been astonished by his comments.

They are made in the foreword to the government’s De-Carbonising Transport consultation.

The document has been quietly published without notifying the media, and the veteran cycling campaigner Roger Geffen told BBC News: "It’s absolutely amazing.

"This makes Grant Shapps the first government minister in the UK to talk about traffic reduction since John Prescott tried (and failed) to achieve this aim in the late 1990s.

“There are some holes in the document, but it suggests that the government really does seem to be taking climate change seriously."

One such hole is aviation. Whilst making it clear that many car drivers will be expected to shift to public transport, walking or cycling if they can - Mr Shapps’ foreword appears to suggest that aviation emissions can be solved through technology.

This notion is strongly contested by aviation pollution experts.

Mr Shapps said the shift in emphasis away from driving - where possible - could improve people's health, create better places to live and travel in, and also promote clean economic growth.

He said: "We are perfectly placed to seize the economic opportunities that being in the vanguard of this change presents. The faster we act, the greater the benefits.

"Twenty-twenty will be the year we set out the policies and plans needed to tackle transport emissions. This document marks the start of this process."

Stephen Joseph, visiting professor at Hertfordshire University, told BBC News: "This is utterly gob-smacking. We're still digesting the document, but Grant Shapps' words really do seem to signify a radical change."

The Transport Department has come in for heavy criticism in recent years for failing to cut emissions in line with other departments.

Some campaigners say the government needs to start by reducing the sales of big heavy SUVs, which need more fuel than smaller vehicles and create a greater demand for materials – even if they are powered by electricity.

When I broke the news of Mr Shapps' comments to former Commons Transport Chair Lilian Greenwood she replied: "Wow. That's incredibly welcome if the rhetoric matches the reality.

"Right now all our energies are on tackling the coronavirus but when we come out the other side we have an equally serious emergency because emissions from transport have to be tackled if we are serious about turning around the future of the planet for coming generations."

"It's great if the first choice is to be public transport and active transport - but that does mean the government has to change radically investment."
« Last Edit: March 27, 2020, 04:57:24 pm by SandTEngineer » Logged

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rogerw
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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2020, 05:46:04 pm »

They are saying this but still proposing a very large road improvement programme. Will they be cancelling this or, at least, cutting it back
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2020, 02:58:26 pm »

Well with the whole World affected by a bad batch of Lemonade, Sorry, Corona Virus, and if the Government truly wishes to get people out their cars and into Buses and Trains, I would suggest as a "Thank you" to the British People, with the next issue of Polling cards for any local election, (to spread demand), enclosed with the poll card should be a "thank you" travel card, of a value of say £100 for each adult, £50 for each child in the house, that MUST be used by the person(s) on the electoral roll, with photo ID, to purchase Railway or Bus Tickets at a Railcard discount.

Many Many people never use public transport, they aren't sure how it works, believe me whilst using public transport might be SOOO easy for old hands, it's a frighting prospect for many.

Hopefully such action would bring many people back/or to the railway for at least pleasure trips.

Having a day out by public transport should be in the national curriculum for all school children when in their last year at school.
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2020, 06:50:45 pm »

When my other half spent some time (and some of the government's money) being a travel adviser, in general it appeared that Caversham was interested in public transport while Whitley not at all.

I know people at work who are of the opinion that they would rather be dead than use public transport. Might possibly be an attempt to get a bite from me!

Not sure how you change attitudes like that. But if they are going to do it they ought to do it soon. Longer time for voters to forget? Too late to blame it on the EU at the next election.
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Reading General
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« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2020, 09:53:50 am »

When my other half spent some time (and some of the government's money) being a travel adviser, in general it appeared that Caversham was interested in public transport while Whitley not at all.

I know people at work who are of the opinion that they would rather be dead than use public transport. Might possibly be an attempt to get a bite from me!

Not sure how you change attitudes like that. But if they are going to do it they ought to do it soon. Longer time for voters to forget? Too late to blame it on the EU at the next election.

That's an interesting conclusion. The use and frequency of the buses to these areas suggests differently.

Whitley gets more buses per hour than any other area of town, bar the Oxford Road and Kings road to the Cemetery. It has two routes running parallel every 10 minutes or more, both with a long history, both less than 5 minutes walking distance apart. Plus it has other routes that skim the edge up on the Shinfield Road or drop down through Whitley from here.

Caversham meanwhile has always been a difficult place to serve each main road, which means there is no common route for all routes to filter into, leaving frequency sparse. Traditionally three of the four main corridors were joined to a route to the south of the town to retain frequency in the north, while the most main direct road (Peppard Road)had the least service.

I was told by a previous C.E.O when the current routes were controversially cut, that people in Caversham (I think he meant everywhere north of the Thames) simply didn't want to use buses they wanted to drive, and that was his reason for cutting them. While I argued that the poor service they were receiving was the reason and that north Reading had huge potential to leave the car at home if the company offered the same type of no nonsense, main road service seen in other parts of town, and joined to the other parts of town rather than finishing in the corner of the town centre by Friar Street Sainsbury's. I did put forward a plan to use the same amount of vehicles but provide a better service but this, controversially, would mean using buses colour coded for other routes, and some cross town running, not what the company wanted to do.

I've always argued that if we can get everybody to the north of the Thames using the bus to get to the Town Centre, Hospital and beyond then we will go a long way to tackling congestion in Reading, opening up a bigger possibility of transport priority crossing the river and put the town in the position to possibly move on from buses.

To change attitudes you have to offer the right kind of service to begin with, and I've found that the majority want something that moves quickly, doesn't keep stopping on every street corner or leave the main road to wind around a housing estate, or doesn't double back to where you were on the route 5 minutes ago. The way our bus services are set up needs to change if we are ever going to get people to trust in them.


EDIT: It is probably worth noting that if the two north to south trolleybus routes made it over the Thames in Reading, public transport use would have traditionally been much higher.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2020, 10:17:39 am by Reading General » Logged
eightonedee
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« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2020, 02:17:45 pm »

Based on the entirely unscientific and statistically insignificant sample of the two Caversham residents with whom I have commuted for some years who have (or would like to have) used the bus to get to Reading Station RG's analysis seems to hit the nail on the head.

Also bear in mind that the typical Caversham resident is (dare I say it!) well educated, middle class and eloquent, so much more likely to express a view on matters such as the adequacy of public transport, especially if they feel it's not
adequate.
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Reading General
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« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2020, 06:31:12 pm »

One difference over that side of the river is use on evenings and Sundays. It's noticeable driving the buses that you can split northern Reading into two types either side of the Peppard Road. Those most likely to use buses on evenings and Sundays on the east side, and those that don't on the western side. I couldn't tell you whether this was a wealth thing or not but it is an interesting situation.

Beyond the boundary of the Reading borough into the wider country, I think (before the Covid19 outbreak) we had reached a turning point with the perceived or real notion that people of certain wealth are unlikely to use public transport. I've never quite believed the theory as, back into the borough, Caversham Heights used to enjoy a fairly decent 15 minute frequency during the day and more on peak. I believe this theory has simply been used as an excuse to run services down.

The statement from Grant Shapps above is very encouraging but it will take much more than lump sums of public money towards bus companies. A tiered level of required service plan needs to be created, countrywide, with the busiest corridors aiming for something more than buses and areas where the bus is ideal being assessed to how best the vehicles move around, bringing an end to the stop on every street corner approach to a simpler more streamlined public service.
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