The Welsh Government: National Transport Plan

Question 1: We have analysed a lot of data in developing the National Transport Plan.  Do you feel there are any significant gaps in the data considered?

Yes

If yes, please explain the reason for your answer

The Transport Plan has thoroughly outlined the current situation as regards modal share of transport across Wales. However, we believe the Plan has not adequately considered what people’s reasons are for their transport choices, what barriers there are to making different choices, and what would persuade people to make more beneficial choices.

In particular, it is worth considering research showing the benefits of active and sustainable travel, the desire among the public to walk and cycle more, and barriers in bringing this about, including safety concerns. Surveys commissioned by Brake have repeatedly found that various groups, including parents, drivers, commuters, children and young people, perceive traffic danger as a barrier to walking and cycling, and support measures such as safe walking and cycling routes and 20mph speed limits to help and encourage people to walk and cycle more often. For instance:

Local authorities in various parts of the UK that have implemented high-quality traffic-free walking and cycling routes and widespread 20mph limits have found these measures to be successful in achieving higher active travel rates. For example, walking and cycling levels rose by up to 12% following the introduction of Bristol’s 20mph scheme [1]. More data on the role of 20mph limits in increasing active travel can be found at www.brake.org.uk/go20.

Question 2: The Plan sets out the key findings from the evidence. Do you consider there are any key findings missing?

Yes

If yes, please explain the reason for your answer

Brake is pleased that the findings of the Transport Plan acknowledge both the capacity for, and desirability of, dramatically increasing the modal share of active travel.

Question 3: Do the interventions address the findings from the evidence base?

No

If no, please explain the reason for your answer

Brake is disappointed that the Travel Plan makes no explicit mention of 20mph limits, which are one of the most promising interventions the Welsh Government could undertake to increase active travel and thereby achieve many of the Plan’s long-term social, economic and environmental outcomes.

With the St. David’s Day devolution agreement having just handed the power to set national speed limits to the Welsh Government, there is an opportunity for 20mph to be set as the default urban speed limit throughout Wales. Brake, and our like-minded GO 20 campaign partners, believe that changing the national default is preferable to piecemeal local implementation as it would save on implementation costs for local authorities, avoid a postcode lottery in terms of road safety, and improve enforceability. This move would make cities, towns and villages across Wales safer and more pleasant for walking and cycling as a travel choice, and help and encourage individuals and families to adopt and embed healthier, more active lifestyles.

The benefits of widespread 20mph limits include:

  • Fewer casualties: at 20, drivers have far more time to react in an emergency. Studies show when 20 limits replace 30, there are fewer casualties among pedestrians and cyclists [2].
  • More walking and cycling: danger from traffic is a major barrier in enabling more people to walk and cycle. Town and city-wide 20 limits have resulted in more people walking and cycling [3].
  • Healthier, happier people: More walking and cycling means healthier people, and more enjoyable outdoors activity for children and adults. It helps communities interact and be communities.
  • Less pollution: 20mph limits mean lower emissions from vehicle journeys [4]. Plus if more people can switch their commute or school run to foot or bike, it means less polluting traffic.
  • Lower costs: Poor health from inactivity costs society dearly [5]. Road casualties cost even more, due to the suffering and burden on health and emergency services [6]. Preventing casualties and improving health means 20mph limits pay for themselves many times over [7].

Find out more about Brake’s GO 20 campaign and the partners in support at www.brake.org.uk/go20.

 Question 4:  Are the delivery timescales appropriate (Section 3)?

Not in a position to comment

Question 5: With regards to funding the interventions are there any other funding streams we should be considering (Section 4)?

Not relevant

Question 6: We have asked a number of specific questions.  If you have any related issues which we have not specifically addressed, please use this space to report them.

N/A


[1] Greater Bristol Cycling City, Bristol City Council, 2011
[2] For example, 20mph speed reduction initiative, Scottish Executive Central Research Unit, 2001;  20mph Speed Limit Pilots Evaluation Report, Warrington Borough Council, 2010
[3] Where widespread 20 limits have been introduced levels of walking and cycling increased by 20% Citywide Rollout of 20mph speed limits, Bristol City Council Cabinet, 2012
[4] Environmental effects of 30 km/h in urban areas – with regard to exhaust emissions and noise, The Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, 1999
[5] The annual costs of physical inactivity in England are estimated at £8.2 billion. At least five a week - evidence on the impact of physical activity and its relationship to health - a report from the Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, 2004
[6] Road casualties in Britain cost an estimated £34.8billion in 2011, due to the burden on health and emergency services, criminal justice costs, insurance payouts, and human costs. Reported road casualties Great Britain annual reports 2011, Department for Transport, 2012
[7] In Bristol, 20mph resulted in a massive return on investment because of cost savings to the health service through increased physical activity. They used the World Health Organisation’s Health Economic Assessment Tool to estimate the changes in costs. They found for every £1 spent they saw a return of £24.72 through increased walking and £7.47 through increased in cycling. Citywide Rollout of 20mph speed limits, Bristol City Council Cabinet, 2012.  Reducing speeds in urban environments reduces casualties. For each 1mph speed reduction, casualties decrease by 5%, The effects of drivers’ speed on the frequency of road accidents, Transport Research Laboratory, 2000, fewer crashes reduces the burden on the NHS, emergency services and local economy.  Each death on roads costs £1.7 million and each serious injury costs £190,000, Reported road casualties Great Britain 2011, Department for Transport, 2012