DfT's crystalball gazing should set off alarm bells not kickstart JCBs

Parliamentary question forces minister to reveal DfTs transport model that predicts an obesity/congestion/pollution time-bomb.
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Parliamentary question forces minister to reveal DfTs transport model that predicts an obesity/congestion/pollution time-bomb.
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According to newly-revealed crystal ball gazing by the Department for Transport there's precious little point building HS2 or Crossrail because the only transport mode that is set to increase in the future is single-occupancy motoring. This is according to new National Transport Model figures projecting the average number and length of journeys in the UK. Bus and rail travel are set to decline, and walking and cycling look set to fall through the floor, if the DfT's model is seen as target rather than a warning.

The Government is frequently warned about obesity/congestion/pollution timebombs yet is hellbent on spending on yet more infrastructure for motoring. The long-ago discredited concept of "predict and provide" has been resurrected by the "greenest government ever" which is set on pandering to motorists despite evidence from induced demand studies that show that building more roads doesn't cure congestion it just creates more traffic.

This table – released earlier today – should therefore be seen as a stark warning that health, pollution and congestion costs will go sky-high if the transport model is correct.* And as the forecast is "per person", any unexpected rise in the population will skew the figures even further.

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The model was revealed following a written Parliamentary question at the request of CTC tabled by Dr Julian Huppert MP, co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group.

The figures show average amount of cycle trips is set to decrease from 22.1 per person annually in 2015 to 20.5 in 2040. Car driving is set to increase from 447.6 trips to 507. Inexplicably, the carrying of passengers is also predicted to drop.

Roger Geffen, Campaigns and Policy Director at CTC said:

“These figures show the glaring mismatch between the Prime Minister’s aspiration for a ‘cycling revolution’ and the DfT’s predictions where the ‘revolution’ has failed to start and is even rolling backwards.

“Public health professionals are flagging up an obesity time bomb. Big business is calling for investment in cycling. Now is the time for Government to provide the funding, leadership and ambition in their 10 year cycle plan that CTC has long been calling for.”


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* The model thas key bits of data missing from it, such as rail travel info and input from the new Cycling Delivery Plan.

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