Government thinktank says Labour's 10 Year Plan for Transport is failing bigtime

The Commission for Integrated Transport today published its annual assessment report on the Department of Transport's progress in delivering the 10 Year Plan for Transport. This wanted to see a tripling of cycle trips by 2010. Cycle use has grown but it's not to target. And on Wednesday the government is expected to announce a huge, new road-building programme that will concrete the UK at the same time as the DfT devolves the cycle projects funding onus on to local authorities.
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And in today's report from the Commission for Integrated Transport, a government-sponsored thinktank chaired by pro-bike Professor David Begg, it's revealed that nearly half of all local authorities are already falling behind in delivering their Local Transport Plans and over a third of authorities have used less than 90 percent of their available funds for transport for the year 2001/02.

According to today's critique on the DfT's progress on its 10 Year Transport plan, the Commission for Integrated Transport suggests that more research is needed into the cumulative effects of small scale and so called 'soft' measures, such as workplace travel plans, bus improvements, cycle schemes and targeted marketing, "were these to be applied as a co-ordinated package."

According to a paper written by Transport 2000's Lynn Sloman, and cited in today's CfIT report, small-scale measures, marketed intensively, could reduce car travel demand by between 5-10 percent nationally, rising to between 12-26 percent in key areas. (Transport for Quality of Life (2003) Less Traffic where People Live: how local transport schemes can help cut traffic. Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, University of Westminster and Transport 2000 Trust.)

The CfIT argues that despite "substantial investment in measures for pedestrians and cyclists, local authorities have little confidence that this will lead to an increase in the use of these modes."

Worringly, the CfIT doesn't appear to up to speed on the latest cycle use statistics. In today's report it says cycle use in 2001 fell by 17 percent compared to 2000. If true this would, indeed, be a major dent in the government's stated target of tripling cycle use by 2010 and a gulp-inducing stat for the bike trade.

But, as this site, revealed in May, a Department of Transport traffic level bulletin had to admit that far from dropping "the estimates of pedal cycle traffic" has grown by five percent. This was a very important revision, bolstering the cause of cycling in the UK.

The CfIT used a different set of statistics, from the National Travel Survey, but in making no reference to the updated travel bulletin stats could be accused of omitting key facts. When government mandarins get it into their heads that cycle use is plummeting, it's a safe bet to assume that cycling will go even further down the political agenda.