Supporting smarter Travel

The election's over. Now the hard work begins.  Will this unique coalition of The Conservative Party and The Liberal Democrats

support smarter travel, walking and cycling, or continue to increase car usage?

There are many major disagreements between the two parties about the way transport should be run in the UK. One of the largest, the Liberal Democrat manifesto promise to a cancellation of the road building programme to free up money for rail, sits wildly at odds with the Conservative's  support for road building, a conflict that may be resolved by their combined desire to cut costs.

The other major disagreement could be more problematic and goes to the heart of the two party's views on local democracy and markets - the power that local authorities should have to regulate bus services in their areas is a hot topic in local government and industry circles. Having good bus services is critical to enabling people to make smarter travel choices - currently two-thirds of public transport journeys are made by bus. 

The cost of transport continues to be a problem for many people. Whilst the cost of motoring has fallen 13% in real terms since 1997, the cost of travelling by rail and bus has increased 7% and 17%, respectively. If sustainability is to be at the heart of the new coalition government's plans (and their agreement on the importance of moving to a low carbon economy seems to imply it should), then this trend needs to be reversed and more spent on increasing levels of walking and cycling.  

Funding, as always, is key.  The Conservative Party's commitment to put in place a Transport Carbon Reduction Fund and the Liberal Democrat's commitment to a Future Transport Fund, funded by lorry road user charging, bode well. But shaking up transport funding to divert more to walking, cycling and public transport is one big challenge, as is on-the-ground political will.

Over the coming weeks and months we look forward to playing whatever role we can in the hard work of putting in place a sustainable transport system fit for the 21st century.

Sustrans' Call to action - More Haste, Less Speed calls on all governments to invest in doubling the number of local journeys under five miles made by foot, bike and public transport to four out of five by 2020.

Source: ©Sustrans

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