Government should immediately reframe its local and national transport policies to encourage people to use new technologies as alternatives to journeys and also to stimulate travel at off-peak times according to a new report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
According to the Integrated Transport report reducing congestion by encouraging these changes would contribute to improvements in safety, public health as well as boosting economic growth.
Philippa Oldham, Head of Transport and Manufacturing at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and Lead Author of the report, said:
“The Department for Transport’s policies on the UK transport network make no reference at all to influencing demand for journeys, which is the most sustainable form of transport planning. With the advent of smartphones and videoconferencing, much more should be done by Government, the public and private sector to avoid unnecessary travel and, in particular, avoid travelling during the morning and evening peaks.
“A transport network that is over-burdened at peak hours and relatively quiet for much of the rest of the day is an inherently inefficient system.
“Government must show leadership and introduce policies that reduce demand on the transport network by encouraging car sharing, local commercial network collaboration by companies and more flexible working hours.”
The report calls for Government to reframe the UK’s local and national transport policy according to the Institution’s Transport Hierarchy:
- Priority 1: Minimise demand
- Priority 2: Enable modal shift
- Priority 3: Optimise system efficiency
- Priority 4: Increase capacity
Other recommendations in the report include
- Load spreading: By 2020 the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, supported by the Department for Transport and Her Majesty’s Treasury, develop a strategy to incentivise and support the private sector to break free from outdated, unnecessary working practices that leave our transport network congested in the weekday morning and evening peak periods.
- Low carbon: The Department for Transport should encourage the adaptation of local transport policy by 2020, to promote transport sharing schemes alongside its continued support for technologies that decarbonise and limit pollutant emissions from buses, taxis and other public transport modes.
- Upgrade systems not components: The Department for Transport needs to review of all current and planned infrastructure projects, with the development of a strategy to integrate them to deliver a planned resilient, optimised, “joined-up” network by the end of 2020.
- Users must share the blame: Freight companies must work with the Department for Transport to integrate road and rail freight networks, to maximise the off peak use of the transport network and also making use of the lowest impact mode of transport.
To read the full report: Integrated Transport