Ten ways to ensure UK transport projects are sustainable

Ten ways to ensure UK transport projects are sustainable

What government and the transport sector can do to improve public health and tackle climate change: our expert views

One of the problems of transport policy is that it is complex and piecemeal. Greater devolution of funding and power to cities will allow more comprehensive and ambitious integrated strategies to be put in place. I believe that greater local responsibility improves accountability and decision-making.

Greg Marsden, director of the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds

I would say that the Local Sustainable Transport Fund has been one of the big policy successes of the coalition. As an industry do we need to shout more about this so that the funding is continued (and maybe increased) up to 2020?

Jonathan Spruce, vice-chair of the national transport expert panel at the Institution of Civil Engineers

One big challenge is timescales. The big schemes are planned and funded over decades but the local schemes funding is shorter-term. We see the need to readdress this to allow for much longer-term planning with certainty over local transport systems.

Simon Warburton, head of policy and strategy for Transport for Greater Manchester

Vision is often sadly lacking. What kind of places do we want to be living in in 2050, and with what kind of transport system? This question isnt asked or answered often enough. We need a conversation that could lead to some consensus on this, and frame policy, rather than just throwing out mode-specific projects with multi-billion price tags.

Rupert Fausset, principal sustainability adviser at Forum for the Future

Set targets: we have a road safety target in London but there isnt one at a national level in my experience it does help focus minds. Force consultation and discussion early on, because sustainability issues tend to be raised at that stage.

I think the problem is that health/wellbeing is often an almost-accidental output or tick-box exercise from transport projects rather than the driving force behind them.

I think there is an emerging consensus that traditional transport business cases need to change. Interestingly, some of the recent rail franchise awards have started evaluating quality rather than purely the bottom line. But road management/building programmes still seem to cling to old methodologies.

Stephen Joseph, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport

For all too long the role of transport has been seen as serving society but I think the focus should be on how it can shape it, by integrating communities, supporting economic growth and improving health.

Susan Claris, associate director at Arup, an engineering and design consultancy

Large-scale infrastructure is crucial to creating the right conditions for our cities to be seen as places for commercial investment in new businesses and employment opportunities. We need to address the employment challenges faced by a new generation of job-seekers and those trapped in long-term welfare-dependency.

Simon Warburton

There is a false dichotomy in the transport debate between car and non-car. We will continue to have dependence on the car for lots of things. I think the way forward will be to take advantage of smart technologies, new working practices and shared mobility so we are less car-dependent for those trips where we genuinely can be.

Greg Marsden

Walking should be at the heart of all our decisions about the built environment, as walkable cities are better cities. Its the lowest-carbon, least-polluting form of transport. Its a great social leveller, and having people walking through urban spaces makes them safer for others. And best of all it makes people happy!

Susan Claris

Transport programmes under way include a £24bn road-building programme, £2bn per year having been allocated up to 2021 for local growth deals, the £15bn Crossrail project and of course some £40bn plus for HS2. But how much of this is going to really impact on the majority of trips that we make every day, that are local in nature?

Jason Torrance, head of policy at Sustrans, a charity which focuses on sustainable transport

Walking and cycling is never going to be a major mode for our passengers in Gatwick airport. However, for our staff and local residents it actually is. Therefore as part of our Gatwick Gateway plan we will be creating much better facilities, especially for cyclists, including a cycle hub and extra cycle routes feeding the airport.

A lot of the capital and operational transport spend on the London 2012 Games was designed to have very broad economic, social and health benefits and leave behind a broad legacy that classic transport planning would not have led to.

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Source: Guardian Transport