Material dated: November 1997.
Cambridge Cycling Campaign promotes cycling and the interests of cyclists in the Cambridge area. From its formation in 1995, Cambridge Cycling Campaign now has about 400 members, which we believe makes us the largest local cycling interest group in the U.K. outside London. We have a place on the joint committee of Cambridgeshire County Council�s Cycling Liaison group with two local district councils and other interest groups. We are also a partner in the Cambridge�s Cycle Friendly Employer Scheme, now broadened as Travel for Work. We maintain a strong interest in both local and national transport policy.
Cycling is a very important mode of transport in the Cambridge area. Around 20% of all journeys in Cambridge City and around 30% of those originating within the City are made by bike. Safety is an important concern of those cycling and potential cycle users.
However, many existing cyclists in our area and elsewhere continue to be exasperated by the poor quality and decreased convenience of provision for cycles compared with the road, and the throwing together of pedestrians and cyclists. We promote the hierarchy of Cycle-friendly Infrastructure  para 4.3.2 which places a safer road environment ahead of construction of special facilities for cyclists.
Many cyclists do not have cars or use them much less because they already have an efficient mode of local transport. We are therefore often users of public transport, especially for longer journeys. Also, transfer of motorists and freight to public transport makes the roads safer and easier for cycling. Therefore we do not feel inhibited from commenting on the wider aspects of the proposed policy.
Incidentally, we thank you for making material available on the Internet. This is a very accessible source for us.
We welcome the general thrust of Developing and Integrated Transport Policy. Sustainable transport systems are in everybody�s interest.
However, we are deeply disappointed that cycling and walking are barely mentioned in the consultation document. We take particular exception to the omission of cycling and walking in question 20 of section 34 where allocation of road space is discussed.
We are dismayed that the National Cycling Strategy  is not mentioned once. This ready-made policy is a perfect fit with your aims, yet is omitted. We think it should be incorporated into transport policy arising out of the consultation, and that Government should reaffirm the targets set by it, putting measures in place to allow those targets to be met.
If a sustainable transport system is to work, it must operate across all Government departments. There is a clear role for the Treasury. However, Education is vital also. The Department of Trade and Industry was only a few years at the centre of Mrs Thatcher�s “great car economy”. If summoned for Jury service, one can claim expenses for car travel, but not for arriving by cycle. Government departments and M.P.s should be setting examples in they way they operate.
Issues to consider
We follow the questions in your section 34 in our response.
- Are the aims we have set ourselves in paragraph 10 the right ones? Do they miss anything important?
We support the aims of section 10. However, we would add:
- Reducing the impact of motorised transport. For example, children have lost much of their independence because of reliance on cars, and the road environment intimidates vulnerable users to the extent that they stop using it (and therefore do not show up in accident statistics and other formulae used to justify investment). It is ironic that our planning system can criticise a building for minor defects in its appearance while accepting without criticism the fact that it is set in a street lined with parked cars.
- Health promotion. The dominance of motor vehicles has led to a marked deterioration of public health, especially among children, partly because of pollution, but mainly because of lack of exercise.
What balance should there be between “sticks” and “carrots” to achieve our aims? Can we conclude that neither works without the other?
Clearly, both “sticks” and “carrots” are needed. If good alternatives to cars and lorries are not available, they cannot be used. But even if they are available, there is ample evidence that people will not use them while cars are so easy and cheap to use.
Road space must be reallocated in order for “carrots” to be successful, otherwise suppressed demand will simply put us back where we started.
Income from deterrent measures is required to finance promotional measures. Income raised in this way should be ring-fenced, not siphoned off into unrelated expenditure.
Personal cost is one of the main factors in deciding how to travel. So long as cars are so very much cheaper, people will continue to use them in the face of almost any impediments put in their way. A small rise in petrol prices at each budget irritates people but does not deter them.
Recognising that funding available from the public purse is strictly limited, how best do you think our transport systems could be improved?
Funding should be transferred from non-sustainable transport to sustainable transport. New road building should be very much the exception, and money saved transferred to public transport and urban traffic management. However, with relatively little now being spent on road building, there is not much to transfer. Public transport and cycling investment has been painfully low for years.
You should recognise that investment in cycling and walking is highly cost-effective.
We think it is important to change the vocabulary. The Tory years have left us with an way of speaking that regards money spent of public transport as “subsidy” while road building is “investment”. Bus and rail are “profit making enterprises”, rather than services.
DBFO / DFI road schemes are harmful. They require operators to encourage private motor traffic in order to make their return, and put Government in debt for years.
Additional sources of finance need to be found: tolls, taxes on environmental damage, taxing hidden benefits. Developers need to pay the transport and environmental costs of their developments – recognising, for example, the impact of places effectively inaccessible other than by car. Oil companies and car manufacturers need to pay the cost of damage of their products in line with the “polluter pays” principle.
Profiteering from public transport in private hands is outrageous and must not be allowed to continue.
To what extent should we be looking at the potential for restraining use of the car, van or lorry? How would any such restraints operate, and what would the effect be on personal mobility or national and regional competitiveness?
Restraint needs to be applied first where there is greatest benefit in terms of relief, and where it is easiest to provide alternatives. This probably means town centres. However, the planning system must not allow this to be subverted by the movement of business and shopping to rural locations.
Existing law should be enforced much better to make existing restraints effective One restraint is on speed, and at present speed limits are widely ignored to the detriment of cycle and pedestrian safety. Speed cameras have been demonstrated to be highly cost effective but at present income from them is not used to finance more, so they are installed sparingly. This should be changed.
Road pricing (tolls) are likely to be extremely unpopular. We favour restraint by rationing space available for private motor vehicles, freeing up space for other modes, and restraint to reduce impact, for example by traffic calming. It is important that the effect of restraint is not simply to produce ever-longer environmentally damaging traffic jams.
- What roles should be played by pricing, fiscal policies, and regulation to achieve our aims?
The tax system is an important regulator, and can be used to redress the imbalance between cost of public and private transport.
- Company cars should be taxed to a greater extent. Some companies pay for unlimited private mileage – this should be taxed very heavily because it encourages journeys and means that any journey made by another mode is highly unattractive financially.
- Car parking spaces should be recognised as a taxable benefit. Some burden should fall on individuals, some on companies. Privately operated public car parks should be taxed because of the environmental impact they have. The system should be flexible enough to reward car sharing.
- Road pricing in urban areas should continue to be investigated. However, this could be counter-productive and is inequitable, and we are not particularly enthusiastic about it.
- Tax cars according to size (engine size, interior capacity, emissions or some such measure).
- Shift the burden of tax to use.
- Review tax on car allowances, and rates which are allowed to be paid. These are widely viewed as a perk, and therefore are clearly not just recompensing expenses.
- Allow tax relief on more sustainable modes. In particular
- allow cycle allowances to be paid at the same rates as private car use without attracting tax
- give tax relief on loans or grants for cycle purchase
- give tax relief on loans or grants for season tickets (up to some maximum).
- Encourage companies to take an interest in promoting sustainable modes of employee travel through the company tax system.
- For cycling schemes, bus priority and so on, some devolution of regulation would be useful. At present many schemes which are successful in European cities are not allowed by the DETR here, or have to be done in such a bureaucratic or complex way that they become too expensive. Flexibility for local authorities to apply practical measures on the ground would be welcome.
- Speed limits should be reduced in urban areas. More flexibility to apply 20mph zones is needed. Suffolk County Council�s blanket 30mph limits in all villages should be considered for adoption everywhere.
- What can we do to reduce peoples’ need to travel?
The planning system, technology and control of the transport system all play a part.
- Local facilities mean less travel. Larger and fewer hospitals, shops, libraries, schools, recreational facilities and so on increase the need to travel, so other Government departments need to be involved.
- Teleconferencing and tele-working are currently underused technological advances which reduce the need to travel.
- Home deliveries could be made more widely available. Utility shopping is a major traffic generator.
- Proper organisation of the transport system for schools is a priority. This includes comprehensive safe-routes-to-school initiatives, and proper co-ordination of school buses. In Cambridge, co-ordination of school buses among the many private schools has been hampered by having no control over the buses and by data protection issues in putting parents in touch with each other.
- The planning system needs to severely discourage developments in places which are not at the focus of public transport – i.e. not edge or out of town, and on a more local scale.
Would transport policy be enhanced by adopting a range of transport “targets”, against which to assess progress? If so, what form should they take? Should they be national, regional or local?
Whether in the form of targets or not, there should certainly be objective measures of the success or otherwise of policies. Targets need to be both local and national.
Targets are only useful if they are supported by the means for achieving them.
Please recognise the targets in the National Cycling Strategy.
Please start implementing the Road Traffic Reduction Act and set national targets as envisaged in its successor Bill.
Should Government develop new funding mechanisms or income streams for transport? If so, what form should they take?
See 3 and 5.
- Against the background set out in paragraphs 15-24, which aspects of public transport do you think it is most important to improve in order to persuade more people to leave their cars at home and use public transport instead?
Every conceivable aspect of public transport has to be improved, as it is a highly unattractive prospect for most people today. It is expensive, inconvenient, often dirty and often late. But for many people public transport does not exist, either literally or because they have such a jaundiced view of it that they think it does not exist. For cyclists it should be, but is not currently, highly complementary.
- Integrated information. A public transport system is useless without information at all levels. While technology can play an obvious part, even the most basic information systems are lacking outside London. A free national enquiry system should be instituted. Timetables should be co-ordinated.
- Fares. Public transport fares must be more in line with private transport. A family of four travelling the four miles from the nearest village into Cambridge would currently pay around £7 for the return journey. The weekend return rail fare from Sheffield to Manchester is such that it is cheaper to hire a car and pay for its petrol.
- Provision of services where none effectively exist. Railway lines and stations need to be reopened. Buses need to serve all communities.
- Frequency. It is often difficult for Londoners to realise how inadequate services are outside the major cities. For example, the Cambridge to Ipswich railway has only a two-hourly service, which is useless for commuting say from Newmarket to Cambridge, while very limited bus services take an hour. Evening services must be available, otherwise work patterns do not allow many people to use public transport.
- Ticketing policies. For more than one person travelling together public transport fare structures are prohibitive: joint ticketing is desirable. Bus tickets bought off the bus are commonplace in Europe, reducing journey delays. Ten trip tickets on rail and bus also reduce waiting times, encourage use with discounts, without requiring a rigid travel regime. This is important for cyclists who choose to use public transport some of the time. Bus-bus and bus-rail transfers should be possible on one ticket. We are surprise that private operators have not instituted these innovations.
- Reliability. Public transport is chronically unreliable.
- Image. Buses need to be cleaner, inside and out and especially in terms of emissions. They need to be warmer and more comfortable. Rail companies need to stop regarding all customers as potential fare evaders and be more welcoming. Cyclists trying to take a bike by rail are treated as if they are being awkward – the attitude they are met with often turns them to carrying bikes on the back of a car.
- Interchanges. Public transport must connect, both in place and time. This requires effective co-ordination which does not exist at present.
Specifically from a cycling point of view:
- Public transport and cycling need to be integrated so that cycles can be carried. Secure cycle parking at transport interchanges is important. These extend the range of the public transport user.
- Public transport stops and interchanges should integrate with cycle routes.
- What practical measures would bring about more use of less environmentally damaging forms of freight transport such as railways, inland waterways and coastal shipping? Could the Government’s freight grants scheme be improved further, and if so how?
While much of this point is outside the scope of a cycling group, we offer:
- Freight interchanges allowing use of smaller, less polluting local delivery vehicles benefit cyclists, while maintaining the efficiency of larger long distance vehicles whether road, rail or water. Very large trucks in the urban environment are highly intimidating for cyclists and pedestrians.
- Many local deliveries and distribution are very small scale and could be achieved with the very efficient human powered vehicles, such as Brox .
How can the contribution of ports and airports to regional and national competitiveness be enhanced without detriment to environmental objectives?
Concentration in the south-east leads to chronic traffic problems. Rail corridors are underused and underdeveloped, for example Felixstowe to the west. Freight interchanges could reduce impact on urban areas.
How can we actively encourage more environmentally-friendly vehicles and fuels, the development of less environmentally damaging technologies and innovations which reduce the need to travel?
Cycling causes negligible pollution. Therefore the adoption of the National Cycling Strategy and much better provision for cyclists is desirable. Human powered vehicles can make a contribution in local deliveries. Gas and electric vehicles are already available which hugely reduce the local impact, and cause less net pollution – but power distribution systems need to be improved, and tax breaks made available for encouragement.
Existing powers need to be more rigorously enforced. Cyclists are made aware daily that buses and lorries are often appallingly maintained. The period between checks for public and private vehicles should be reviewed, and more roadside testing introduced.
The tax system (see 5) is important.
Encouragement needs to be given for tele-working, and arrangements made to simplify insurance, health and safety regulations and so on which make this difficult at present.
How can we integrate land use planning and transport more effectively, with a more strategic approach, so as to cut unnecessary journeys?
Land use planning is one of the most important aspects in an integrated transport policy. It is vital to stop out of town and edge of town developments which are effectively only accessible by car and lead to urban sprawl. Apart from the damage they do, they are highly inequitable, because cyclists, elderly people and poorer people cannot get to them and have to pay much higher prices elsewhere. They undermine the public transport system, and threaten cyclists with more cars. Even where they are within reach, the road environment is often such that they are dangerous and intimidating to access by cycle.
All new developments should not just take cycles and public transport into account as a mandatory part of the planning process, but actually prioritise them.
Developers will take the line which maximises their profit. Therefore taxing green-field sites to subsidise urban sites could shift the balance.
We offer other suggestions in 6 above.
How can we ensure, for example through the taxation system, that the prices faced by transport users more accurately reflect the wider environmental and social costs?
In order to reflect environmental and social costs, we must know what those costs are. The value of a good environment and the cost of the impact of vehicles on people�s lives is not presently quantified, and is treated as though it was zero. We must develop systems for quantifying these costs.
It will be easier in the short term to discourage the use of private vehicles rather than ownership by reflecting costs. However, we should not lose sight of the cost in terms of non-renewable raw materials and manufacturing pollution that vehicles also impose – this is at least as great as their use.
We reiterate that the marginal cost of travel for more than one person is a huge disincentive to use public transport when not travelling alone.
What is the appropriate role of national, regional and local levels for the provision and regulation of transport? What role should be played by passenger transport authorities or executives, or by voluntary co-ordinating bodies such as planning conferences?
We would like to see devolution of transport decision making to the most local level that is appropriate. The DETR concerns itself with a great deal of detailed traffic regulation, limiting the powers of local authorities to experiment and adding to costs in bureaucracy, when it would be much better occupied in strategic considerations. We are concerned that political structures lead to very local decisions on cycling provision in Cambridge City being made by councillors from fifty miles away who know little about the subject.
However, it is still essential to co-ordinate travel, for example by a national travel enquiry bureau, and to maintain a higher level strategic overview and framework.
We think that co-ordinating bodies should be more accountable (passenger transport executives, regional conferences).
What changes might be needed to the ways local authorities receive capital funding for transport, to encourage the development of integrated transport policies at the local level?
Package bids offer a more co-ordinated approach to transport financing at a local level, but the outcome of them needs to be more carefully monitored, and the preparation and content of bids made more accountable and democratic.
Revenue funding is often much harder to get than capital. This is particularly disadvantageous for cyclists who have to suffer more than most the appalling surface quality of many roads, as maintenance budgets are cut first.
Is there, as suggested in the previous Government’s paper “Transport The Way Forward”, a role for making greater use of economic instruments to influence how people choose to travel, such as increasing the price of public parking, possibly taxing companies’ car parking provision, and charging for the use of roads? How should the receipts from such sources be used?
See 2, 3 and 5 above.
In addition, while welcoming the National Cycle Network, we are uncomfortable that cycling is regarded as not being “real” transport to such an extent that it is funded out of lottery money rather than mainstream transport budgets. The non-lottery parts of the funding for the National Cycle Network often mean that local authorities must decide between national Cycle Network schemes and other local cycling initiatives. We would like to see a stronger financial commitment to the National Cycle Network which does not interfere with measures for cycle safety and convenience of the general road environment for cyclists.
- What should be the role of urban traffic management measures?
Urban traffic management measures are vital from cyclists point of view, since their safety is threatened by uncontrolled traffic. We think traffic management should:
- Reduce traffic
- Improve safety for all road users, but especially vulnerable road users, by calming traffic
- Reallocate road space to public transport and cycling
- Limit pollution, especially at peak times
- Improve the streetscape (consider Dutch initiatives in this area).
Traffic management measures have the potential to have a very significant impact on traffic mix.
How can we achieve economic growth which is less road traffic intensive, while still taking account of the role of national, regional and local transport policies in promoting national and regional competitiveness?
Public transport can generate jobs.
Economic growth is measured in a peculiar way that positively values pollution and accidents, building roads and so on. Our measuring systems are at fault when they do not take into account the impact on the environment and social well-being. Economic growth measured as we measure it now is a flawed concept.
It needs to be recognised that the centralised distribution mechanisms that the modern road network makes possible has the effect of sucking out the economic vitality of the communities that those roads are supposed to serve.
It is important to take advantage of the strengths of particular modes, for example cycling for local journeys, and rail for freight.
In circumstances where demand exceeds road capacity at certain times, what priority might be given to scarce road space and how might that be delivered? It has sometimes been suggested that priority should be given to emergency vehicles; buses, coaches and taxis; goods vehicles; and disabled motorists – are these the right priorities?
Where is cycling? Where is walking? We find it hard to understand why these are omitted in the discussion of road space allocation, especially when even in Cambridge cyclists are given so little of the road in relation to their numbers.
We are also seriously concerned that cyclists and pedestrians are treated as equivalent and are therefore thrown together, usually by being forced to share space with pedestrians, rather than taking space from the damaging modes. This leads to intense resentment and hostility where cycling levels are high as they are in Cambridge, York and Oxford, and this should be a lesson to other places when allocating road space.
Road capacity should not just be considered in terms of the ability to cram as many vehicles in as possible, but also in terms of an area�s environmental capacity and quality.
Restrictions at certain times of day make more efficient use of space. For example, deliveries can be restricted. Private cars can be limited around schools to discourage private car journeys to school.
We are not convinced that emergency vehicles should always be given absolute priority. It is clearly important that they should have excellent access. However, if a traffic management scheme reduces accidents significantly but imposes some potential delay to emergency services to implement it, there is likely to be a net gain. Also more local siting of emergency vehicles, and better technology to support calls should make it possible to at least partly address their problems in other ways.
Multiple occupancy vehicle lanes offer some incentive to car-share, though these should never be at the expense of bus or cycle facilities, or be newly constructed to increase car capacity.
How can we best take account of the differing accessibility needs of urban and rural communities?
Failure of land use planning has meant that many rural dwellers are urban workers. The image of the rural community being disadvantaged by tax penalties on cars is sometimes a false one – long journeys being created by people�s choices of lifestyle and dictated by housing costs, rather than by an indigenous rural population�s needs.
Many local journeys within Cambridgeshire villages are made by cycle and on foot, often by the older occupants, not the commuters. However, increases in traffic have discouraged this. Traffic management is as important in rural areas as in towns. Lower speed limits, restrictions, traffic calming and enforcement will all improve the rural environment and allow those who wish to cycle or walk the freedom to do so.
Making provision for cycling in rural areas also allows greater range for access to public transport – making viable more local park-and-ride schemes than just edge of town facilities.
Also, rural cycling is a huge potential and actual source of recreation, with the health benefits that brings. A truly integrated transport system takes health into account. Support for the National Cycle Network needs to be given.
Tourist “honeypots” need to be amply served by public transport and accessible by cycle.
How can we increase the awareness of transport users about the consequences of their choices?
Most significantly, financial incentives and disincentives are likely to have greatest impact in influencing people�s choices.
The Department of Health must draw attention to the unhealthy lifestyle created by the car.
In Cambridgeshire, Travelwise has been adopted, and while its public profile has not been as high as we might have hoped, it has been particularly successful in bringing people together in the transport arena. However, its budget is such that it could only ever do limited work.
Children need to be taught cycling and public transport skills. These have largely been lost, to an extent that a significant number of young adults have never actually used the public transport system at all and would not know how to do so.
The Government, parliament and departments should set an example, for example by not having personal ministerial cars as a matter of course, and by making cycle allowances available to M.P.�s, by arranging for human powered, gas and electric vehicles to make local distribution, and using electronic communication much more widely. It is also far too easy to think of public transport in London-centric terms. Public transport outside London is a wholly different and much poorer affair.
How can we best ensure a high standard of safety across all modes?
Safety is a topic uppermost in cyclists� thoughts. Safety to us means improving the road environment in which we cycle, not marginalising cyclists by completely separating them from other traffic or cramming them into pedestrian space.
We must change attitudes towards speeding. Excessive speed is highly intimidating and increases severity and number of collisions. Speed cameras, other enforcement measures, stiff penalties, traffic calming, 20mph areas, road architecture, replacing junctions designed for speed all contribute to addressing this. Also, the disadvantage of public transport in respect of journey times is made greater by regular and persistent speeding on motorways, at the expense of safety.
Car advertising has to carry some of the blame for attitudes towards safety. Blatant macho advertising focussing on performance has given way to more subtle hints at the same thing, and also to the “cocooning” of car occupants. Vehicle safety is currently largely aimed at occupants to the detriment of more vulnerable road users.
Insurance could be based on mileage as well as other personal factors. Higher mileage must put people at higher risk.
Regular driving tests and compulsory driver education programmes are long overdue.
Cycle proficiency should be part of the curriculum. Roadcraft should be taught. Professional cycle training for adults should be available (as in York, for example).
Drivers should bear more legal responsibility for accidents. In particular, drivers should take responsibility where accidents involve children.
Street design is focussed all around cars at present. This should change. Residential streets would be safer and pleasanter if they were not primarily built with the car in mind. Consider, for example, the Dutch Woonerf.
Focus should be on primary safety (stopping accidents occurring), rather than palliative measures to reduce their severity.
Perceived safety is important as well as actual safety. People perceive cycling to be more hazardous than it actually is, and often use this as an excuse not to cycle. The method of measuring safety is important in its perception. The relatively much lower distances travelled by cycle make measurements per distance travelled an inappropriate measure.
Near misses are also frightening for cyclists, and put people off cycling. Good traffic management can reduce these.
We have observed that “comment on my driving” phone numbers on the backs of vehicles often lead to these vehicles being driven more considerately.
How can we ensure that policies designed to establish environmentally sustainable transport systems are compatible with the Government’s wider aims for social inclusion?
We think that environmental sustainability and wider social inclusion go hand-in-hand and are not in conflict as the question implies. Given the lack elsewhere, we would like to reiterate the importance of including cycling and walking.
How can we best promote the transport needs of disabled people?
Taking a cycling viewpoint: when cycling was banned, regrettably, in Cambridge City Centre, it became apparent that cycling is accessible to some people with physical difficulties, when driving and even walking is not.
Putting cyclists on the footway encourages illegal cycling elsewhere and blind and physically disabled people are intimidated and perceive that they are at risk. While there are undoubtedly some collisions, the perception is probably more important than the actual risk, but is nevertheless a real problem. This is another reason for properly integrating cyclists into the road environment, not forcing them into pedestrian space.
Wheelchair space and cycle space on public transport can be similar.
How can we best take account of the transport and accessibility needs of all sectors of society, including the young and the elderly?
Walking and cycling are particularly accessible to young people. Do not underestimate the capability of older people to cycle.
- What should the role of transport be in delivering the national air quality strategy, reductions in acidifying pollutants and our climate change commitments?
As the fastest growing source of air pollution, transport is clearly critical. Energy conservation is not just about home energy, but transport energy too. Benign modes of transport are particularly advantageous, but reducing the need to travel must also be central to a pollution reduction strategy.
We think that reducing need to travel, and using benign modes (reduction and conservation) are more important than technical fixes (catalytic converters, gas and electric vehicles). Alternative fuels have their part to play, and development of hugely improved petrol consumption is important too.
As mentioned earlier, enforcement of existing rules, and tightening them, would help. Buses need to be made less polluting, as well as private vehicles.
We also think that there is a public demand for change in the transport area, and it is easier to achieve a change with public support, than, for example, convincing industry to change.
 Cycle-Friendly Infrastructure, Guidelines for Planning and Design, Institute of Highways and Transport / Cyclists Touring Club, endorsed by the former Department of Transport, February 1996. ISBN 0 902237
 National Cycling Strategy, Department of Transport, July 1996.
 Brox human powered vehicles. www.brox.com.