- This is the summary of Smarter Cambridge Transport’s response to the Combined Authority’s initial consultation on its Local Transport and Connectivity Plan.
- The full response is available as a PDF document here.
There are many flaws in the current Local Transport Plan (LTP). Our comments submitted to the 2019 consultation did not result in substantial changes to the document. This time we hope the Combined Authority is taking a more co-creative approach.
The current consultation is high-level, and therefore appears uncontroversial. However, important concepts are obfuscated with jargon, such as “demand management”. The scale and pace of change required is not conveyed, for instance “reduce … the number of trips made by private car”: by how much, how quickly?
Neither business-as-usual growth nor painless technological innovation are going to save the day. So, it is imperative that local authorities speak the unvarnished truth about climate change, air pollution, road safety and biodiversity loss. Action to address these will entail trade-offs – large, and potentially difficult, changes from how we have lived and worked up until now. This is the most important conversation local authorities must have with residents.
The LTCP must be uncompromising in its commitment to de-carbonise local transport, not by 2050, but within a pro-rata carbon budget that is consistent with a maximum of 1.5°C global warming. Similarly, it must be uncompromising in its goals to reverse ecological damage and eliminate deaths from air pollution and road collisions.
Many of the current LTP policies aim to enlarge road capacity. These will increase the volume of motor traffic, and hence carbon and pollution emissions, and undermine efforts to induce a shift from private cars to modes of transport that are sustainable and accessible to all of society, not just those with access to a car. Policies must therefore channel travel demand into public, shared and active transport, and more efficient movement of freight.
The current LTP prioritises economic growth above all else. Economic and population growth are drivers for change, not end goals. The true end goals are social, environmental and public health outcomes – required by law or expressly desired by local communities that live, work and study in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Therefore, policies in the LTCP need to shape and channel how growth drives change to deliver those outcomes. The ‘doubling GVA’ target for our region should only be accepted if it is demonstrably more sustainable than investing in education, R&D and infrastructure in other parts of the country.
The main consultation on the new LTCP needs to reach deep into the communities, businesses, schools and other organisations that will be affected for years to come by what is included or omitted from the plan. The structure, content and presentation of the LTCP needs to be succinct. It must clearly articulate the choices and trade-offs people need to consider.
We have provided examples of transport interventions for the Greater Cambridge region. There are many more ideas that local communities and businesses would suggest if consulted in the right way.