A new Deal for Transport Better for Everyone The Government's White Paper on the Future of Transport Contents Foreword Acknowledgements Scope of the White Paper part I chapter 1: a new Deal for Transport part II chapter 2: Sustainable Transport Chapter

Transport's contribution to global warming14

Download 0.63 Mb.
Size0.63 Mb.
1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   ...   18

Transport's contribution to global warming14

Climate change is one of the greatest environmental threats facing the world today. Globally, the balance of evidence now points to a discernible human influence on the earth's climate through the emission of greenhouse gases. In the UK, transport's share of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the main greenhouse gas, has grown from around one tonne in eight in 1970 to more than one tonne in four in 1995, and is set to grow still further. Four-fifths are produced by road vehicles.

As we use cars more, we have made less use of public transport. Yet buses and trains can have distinct environmental advantages as highlighted by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. Buses require less road space per seat than cars and usually emit less CO2 per occupant. Emissions of CO2 and most other pollutants are lower per tonne-kilometre for rail freight than road freight. And emissions of CO2 and most other pollutants are generally lower per passenger-kilometre for rail than for road.

Travel Habits

We all know about noise pollution and road congestion around airports. But air traffic also has a global impact. CO2 emissions per passenger-kilometre are higher from air travel than from most other ways of travelling and fuel for air travel now accounts for one-sixth of transport fuel sold in the UK.

The New Deal for transport therefore sets the framework to:

  • reduce road traffic growth;

  • respond to the challenge of climate change;

  • minimise transport's demand for land, protect habitats and maintain the variety of wildlife;

  • limit the visual intrusion caused by transport;

  • reduce use of non-renewable materials/energy sources;

  • ensure that environmental impacts are taken fully into account in investment decisions and in the price of transport;

  • enhance public awareness of transport and environment issues.

A fairer, more inclusive society
Nearly a third of households in Britain don't have a car - some 13 million people. The number who rely on public transport, walking or cycling is even higher because in those homes where there is a car not everyone has regular access to it. Those who can't drive have to rely on lifts (over 4 in 10 women don't have driving licences) and in many families there is a main driver who has 'first call' on the car. In some places, poor public transport and lack of a car combine to produce social exclusion. For example, some families in rural areas have had to make great financial sacrifices to keep a car to avoid relying totally on the little public transport that exists.

Most users of public transport rely on buses to get about. The less affluent - students, retired (there are five million elderly people without a car) and unemployed people - use buses more than others. It is these people who have had to face bus fares rising by almost a third in real terms since 1980. At the same time, the standard of living of bus and coach drivers has fallen - on average by 4% since 1985, compared with a 20% increase in real terms in the average wage.

Being unable to afford transport can limit everyday life. Job, training and education opportunities are more limited and there is less choice in shopping, adding to the family budgets of those least able to bear the cost. An expanded road network has helped people travel further and faster than before. But it has also led to jobs, shops and essential facilities moving out-of-town, reducing the vitality and diversity of local facilities and hitting the less mobile and those on low incomes.

Road traffic has affected some people more than others, the poorest and most vulnerable in society often suffer more than most. Busy roads in towns have cut communities in half and heavy traffic can be a barrier to community life. Road noise contributes to stress and disturbs sleep: those living closest to busy roads bear the brunt. Some of our town centres have been ruined by major roads, putting people in second place to the car. Increased traffic and speed have spoilt streets. Fear of traffic adds to the isolation sometimes faced by older people.

Public transport is not available to everyone, and where it exists is not always accessible to disabled people. Although recorded crime levels on public transport are low, concern for personal security is a significant deterrent to travel, particularly for older people, women and ethnic minorities.

The New Deal for transport therefore sets the framework to:

  • produce better public transport and easier access to workplaces and other everyday facilities for all, especially people on low incomes;

  • reduce community severance caused by transport;

  • reduce the need to travel through better planning and technology;

  • promote better transport choice for disabled people;

  • reduce the fear of, and level of, crime on the transport system;

  • promote better conditions for those working in transport.

A modern, integrated transport system
Privatisation, deregulation and competition were key features of the last decade but they have failed to deliver an integrated transport system. This needs to change. We want to work in partnership with industry but the shift of Government's strategic responsibility on to the private sector went too far.


The legacy we inherited ranges from the competitive market of the deregulated bus industry to inadequate regulation of monopoly supply in the provision of railway infrastructure.

Whilst competition can bring benefits to some customers as suppliers compete for market share, the wider public interest must always be taken into account. In transport the problems of noise, congestion and pollution associated with individual travel decisions are often ignored and there is concentration on profitable routes at the expense of integrated transport networks which extend choice and accessibility.

We will therefore:

  • build a framework which retains competition in the market but provides for intervention where there is evidence that this is needed in the public interest. The ability of competition authorities to deal with anti-competitive agreements and abuses of dominant position will be substantially improved by the provisions of the Competition Bill. Where operators deliver efficient services in the public interest they and their employees can expect to share in the rewards of their success;

  • make increasing use of economic instruments such as pricing and taxation to send clear signals about the wider social and environmental impacts of travel decisions;

  • improve the planning framework in a way which recognises the interactions between transport modes, land use and economic development, and provides for a more stable, integrated and strategic background within which transport operators and others may make investment decisions.


How We Travel

Deregulation of the local bus market, outside London, caused substantial upheaval because of 'bus wars' and confusion over changing service patterns. There have been some good examples of innovation but frequent changes to bus services, poor connections and the reluctance of some bus operators to participate in information schemes or through-ticketing undermined bus services. In this climate, it was not easy for buses to match the levels of comfort, reliability and access offered by the private car.

Deregulation has not broken the spiral of decline in local bus use. Since 1986 bus use has fallen by about a quarter - by about one billion fewer journeys a year; in contrast with London, within a regulated market, where use has held up. More recently, there have been good examples of bus companies and local authorities working together in Quality Partnerships to change the image of bus services and stem, sometimes even reverse, the decline in patronage.


The previous administration supported the progressive liberalisation of access to the rail network by passenger train operators, who would compete with those already providing services. The Rail Regulator is legally committed to introduce greater competition from 1999. But open access with inadequate safeguarding of the public interest could lead to a loss of network benefits in areas like ticketing and timetabling. 'Cherry picking' of profitable routes could threaten local networks. This sort of behaviour has no place in our transport policy. The Rail Regulator has therefore set in hand arrangements to introduce limited competition subject to strict safeguards. Competition will not be allowed if it would undermine existing services supported by the taxpayer or reduce network-wide passenger benefits. The Strategic Rail Authority will be able to set the longer term policy framework for competition, ensuring continuing safeguards against erosion of a properly integrated network.

A healthy, growing economy has meant an increase in the number of rail passengers and this is welcome. But the privatised, fragmented railway that we have inherited is not making the most of this potential. And the privatised railway continues to receive vast amounts of public subsidy, with inadequate public accountability.

Some passenger train operators have gained new customers with better services and new products but the picture is patchy. For every train operator that has improved punctuality and reliability, there is another that has let standards slip: punctuality deteriorated in the year ending March 1998 in more than half the service groups operated and there were less reliable services in more than a third.

Passengers know that rail privatisation has not delivered the benefits claimed by its supporters. Figures compiled by the Central Rail Users' Consultative Committee indicate a substantial increase in the level of passenger dissatisfaction: in the first quarter of 1998 complaints almost doubled over the same period in 1997. The Committee had already expressed concern that there was "a gulf between what passengers can reasonably expect and what they receive and how it is delivered"15.

The Rail Regulator published on 1 July 1998 figures showing that there were nearly one million complaints direct to train operators in 1997/8. That is a huge number. What is even more disturbing is the Rail Regulator's view that these complaints do not fully reflect passenger dissatisfaction with the privatised railway.

In a recent report, the House of Commons' Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Select Committee highlighted the fundamental weaknesses in the organisation of the privatised railway16. These include the overlapping responsibilities of the Rail Regulator and the Franchising Director which leads to confusion about their respective roles; the inadequate sanctions when train operators and others perform badly; and the inconsistent regulation of key parts of the industry.

Critically, there is no good mechanism for long term strategic planning in the privatised rail industry. We will inject a strategic approach which will nurture the potential growth in rail patronage.

The New Deal for transport therefore sets the framework to:

  • promote the public interest;

  • produce better public transport, with easier, more reliable connections;

  • improve choice between different modes;

  • enhance public transport networks;

  • encourage more through-ticketing;

  • provide better travel information;

  • ensure more reliable and frequent services;

  • give the passenger a bigger voice in public transport.

Changing travel habits
Different ways of travelling

Using the car less is not as impossible as some think it is. Nearly three-quarters of all journeys are under five miles and 45% are less than two miles. Even though many of us could walk or cycle these short distances, or catch a bus, we have increasingly used our cars - a quarter of all car journeys are now under two miles.

A recent study for the RAC17 concluded that most car trips do not have to be made by car. Using a car currently seems the sensible choice because of factors such as physical and time constraints and the poor quality of alternatives. Some car trips (up to 30%) were judged to be hardly necessary at all or a perfectly good alternative was already available but ignored. This shows the potential for people to use their cars less without making great sacrifices - and often benefiting instead from the exercise, the stress avoided and the money saved.

We know that a very high proportion of people change their travel choices from day to day and year to year, showing a great adaptability in arranging their travel and their lives. The New Deal for transport will make it easier for people to choose different and more sustainable ways of making their journeys, helping them to make the changes in travel behaviour that are needed.

Technology taking the strain
We can all do our bit to make a difference and this will be helped by advances in technology. We are committed to making the fullest possible use of new technologies to deliver the New Deal for transport. As technology works best when combined with other measures, for example, financial incentives to buy greener vehicles, we will bring forward packages of measures to get the most from technological progress.

Improvements in fuel and vehicle technology, for example, will make a significant contribution to achieving our targets for improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gases. And developments in information technology will produce more reliable and comprehensive information to help public transport users and motorists plan their journeys. Technology can also help to make transport safer through, for example, improvements in vehicle design and the use of CCTV.

The New Deal for transport - making a difference
We have embarked on a comprehensive agenda for change - a series of practical, carefully thought out reforms. Our new approach will work best when the measures are combined in packages, so that each reinforces the other. We set out the measures in the remainder of this White Paper. Together, these measures will deliver the change that is needed. This integrated approach is vital if we are to meet the objectives and targets in our New Deal for transport.

We have international and national targets for protecting the environment. The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution has produced two comprehensive reports on reducing transport's impact on our environment and proposed targets to drive the process. These have been key influences on our New Deal for transport. Challenging targets are helping to focus attention on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving local air quality and road safety, boosting rail freight and encouraging more cycling.

International and National Targets and Standards

  • current targets:

  • greenhouse gases - legally binding target to reduce emissions to 12.5% below 1990 levels by the period 2008 to 2012 and a domestic aim to reduce CO2 emissions by 20% by 2010;

  • air pollution - National Air Quality Strategy, encompasses health-based objectives for a range of air pollutants to be met by 2005;

  • EU vehicle and fuel quality standards - to reduce toxic emissions and noise from new vehicles;

  • cycling - from a 1996 base, double cycling by 2002 doubling again by 2012 (from the National Cycling Strategy);

  • road safety - existing target for 2000, new target for 2010.

  • targets for the future:

  • freight on the railway - endorsement of the industry's targets for growth;

  • EU vehicle standards - target to improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions by more than a third before 2010;

  • health - proposed targets in "Our Healthier Nation" for reducing all accidents by a fifth by 2010 and reducing death rates from heart disease and strokes amongst people under 65 by a third by 2010;

  • green transport plans - for HQ/other key Government buildings by 1999/2000;

  • walking - targets being prepared to reverse the decline in walking;

  • public transport - targets to encourage more use of public transport;

  • road traffic - assess impact of measures in this White Paper and consider national targets for the level of road traffic.

Making a difference: on climate change
Following the Kyoto climate change conference in December 1997, the UK has a legally binding target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 12.5% below 1990 levels by the period 2008 to 2012. This means a reduction equivalent to 27 million tonnes of carbon. We also have a domestic aim to reduce CO2 emissions in the UK to 20% below 1990 levels by 2010. We do not underestimate either the scale of the challenge or the huge potential for industry in the UK to benefit from improved fuel efficiency and win exports through developments in environmental technology.

We shall be consulting soon on options to meet our legally binding target and help move towards our domestic aim. The consultation will present an opportunity to assess savings from the transport sector in relation to measures which could be taken in other sectors. We will consider the balance of our programme in the light of public debate and responses during the consultation period.

Kate's story18

The New Deal for transport

My first job in the morning is to get the kids to school. By car, of course. It's too dangerous to let my nine year old, Sam, walk by himself - there is no lollipop lady where he needs to cross a busy road. Rebecca, who's 13, wants to cycle but I'm frightened that she'll have an accident.

We need two cars. David, my husband, drives to work as well. He really has no other option. There's plenty of buses but they're dirty and unreliable and take longer than the car. But he does find the drive stressful. The traffic gets worse. He arrives at the office wound-up.

On the way home, I sometimes pop down to the supermarket in the car. That allows me to get some shopping done without having to go out at the weekends. If I've time, I do it before picking up the kids. Trying to go round a supermarket with them is a nightmare.

We hardly ever use public transport. Or walk for that matter. David even drives the 500 yards to the paper shop on a Sunday morning.

We will work with local councils to make walking safer and to provide more cycle routes to schools. Schools will be encouraged to improve facilities for cyclists.

We will improve bus services. There will be investment in better information. New rules will improve the quality of the buses. And, by giving them priority in the rush 'hour', they will become more reliable.

Some supermarket chains are already introducing home shopping by phone, fax and the internet. This will be more convenient for many shoppers and reduce the number of car journeys.

We should all try to walk more - for our own health. Together with local councils we will help by making walking more pleasant, by cutting traffic and car speeds.

Share with your friends:
1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   ...   18

The database is protected by copyright ©essaydocs.org 2020
send message

    Main page