The struggle with transport is always the end-to-end journey and it is always too easy for the car to win out when this is not considered properly.

The DfT website mentions the latest campaign on reducing car use to cut CO2.  Gnawing at motoring consciences, DfT state that 40% of emissions are from what individuals do, and of this 40%, 26% is from personal car use.  This is interesting  because the implication is that DfT will not spend money to encourage car use, as the policy is to reduce it.  And here there is more encouragement, a document on the DfT website ‘Delivering Sustainable, low carbon travel: An essential guide for local authorities’.

What a stroke of luck, the DfT document includes handy definitions:
Sustainable travel is about understanding your local area and providing for its transport needs through a package of measures which promote attractive sustainable transport alternatives such as walking, cycling, public transport and sustainable car use, held together by a clear brand. The sustainable travel approach rests on three pillars:
●● creating positive choices for travellers;
●● a holistic package of measures, which ‘lock-in’ the benefits; and
●● local application tailored to local circumstances.

Not all this sustainable travel stuff could have just arrived, so I looked for local examples.  The examples that spring to mind are Selly Oak New Road, a huge car park at Longbridge (the new big roads come from other budgets), and a better travel experience above New street station.  Outside the conurbation, a brand new station will enable you to travel to a big car park outside stuffy old Stratford. Isn’t it amazing that the station for the town of Polesworth is down to one platform and one train a day, but a tarmacked field can have a new station.

However, Advantage West Midlands AWM had spotted something a while back, noting that bus services were in decline in outer urban areas and rural areas making car travel yet more attractive.  Money, they pointed out, cannot be found to fund such bus services.  Sources in the field, reporting no services to places such as Maxstoke, and non-existent or incomplete timetables at Inkford, Alvechurch, and elsewhere, sense a lack of motivation to act by AWM and others.  Decline is not inevitable; rail travel is up.


But LTP3 is supposed to be the answer.  It will be considered with all the other plans (the LTP is the only one NOT shown in the diagram), but must first build a “Vision” of what is needed.  A vision has been drafted, but it may not relate to the real experience of travel in the conurbation.  What is also needed is an idea of what is good and what is bad in transport and that is where the public can help out.

But what is the reality of transport.  Post Office closures in recent years have arguably required more travel than before. Travel without cars has worsened through the elimination of night buses, and though rail travel is easier to some distant destinations, within the conurbation it has mostly worsened.  Cycling has not greatly expanded though the range of off road routes has grown, and for pedestrians the kerb edge fencing have downgraded their priority and reinforced the perception that walking is not transport.

Contributions to the LTP are welcomed, this part, the ‘vision’ needing responses before December 17th 2009.  The website is at or you could phone CENTRO for a leaflet to be posted to you.

You may wish the Vision to reflect some Birmingham FOE ideas such as:
Local facilities included and maintained in all areas
Better conditions for walking, roads better suited to cycling
Easier storage for cycles, places to sit to break up longer walks
Some use of canals for freight
Protection of railway freight sites such as Longbridge and Duddesdon
More local stations as set out in the BFOE response to Regional Rail Strategy
Better conditions for bus users and bus drivers
Better residential streetscape with lower speeds and greenery
Taxibus and Postbus in rural areas connecting to bus and rail hubs
Retention of Ring and Ride to safeguard travel for the infirm

Go on, make the effort
John Hall