LTP3 and sustainable travel
One of the aims of Local Transport Plan (LTP3) is to reduce the environmental impact of travel by encouraging sustainable transport choices.
LTP3 contains several elements which can help achieve these aims.
Public transport information
To encourage greater use of the public transport network, it is important that route information and timetables are kept up-to-date and are made widely available. Increasingly, public transport users get their information from the internet, mobile phones or call centres. Therefore we are continuing to look at these avenues for providing information.
Furthermore, information delivered to the public is enhanced if it can be conveyed as real-time. This will be addressed by continuing to expand our real-time information infrastructure introduced during LTP2.
To make transport services more accessible, it is necessary to operate specialised 'niche' services with a comparatively low demand. However, these are necessary for people who find using accessing standard public transport services difficult.
This is particularly so in rural areas. Such services may link remote areas, outside of any public transport network, with, for example, education and health facilities. Community transport organisations play an important role in meeting this demand. They are usually owned and managed by a not-for-profit community organisation. The services can be in several forms including demand responsive dial-a-ride, volunteer car schemes and vehicle brokerage.
We must make travel by bus a practical and attractive alternative if we are to encourage car users to change their travel habits. Improvements to infrastructure for bus users will continue to influence the travel choice for those who may be considering the change. Investment over the first three years of the plan will be prioritised towards continuing improvements to bus stops and their immediate areas on the busiest routes. Where necessary, road markings will also be improved where car parking causes problems for buses gaining proper access to stops.
The higher levels of investment needed for bus stations and town centre interchanges will be dealt with through the 'whole-town approach' sector of the capital programme.
More punctual buses and journey times which are not significantly affected by congestion, will also make bus travel a more attractive choice. Transit 15 schemes often incorporate an element of bus priority, for example bus lanes.
We will also explore other opportunities in the county in liaison with the operators. This will include feasibility work, design and implementation of schemes such as:
- re-allocation of road space for bus lanes
- re-phasing of traffic signals
- bus gates to support the running of bus services in accordance with timetables
Taxis and private hire vehicles also have a role to play in the public transport system. The introduction of new, or the re-siting of existing taxi ranks to better locations, along with other identified improvements, will enhance the accessibility, safety and attractiveness of taxi use.
Regulated taxi and private hire vehicles are an important form of transport for certain groups of people who rely on them for safe and independent mobility, particularly where public transport is inaccessible or non-existent. The needs of this section of the population will be closely evaluated and the availability of wheelchair-accessible taxis encouraged.
Travel planning and attitude changes
Increasingly, journeys to work by car result in adverse effects, particularly in employment locations where fixed shift patterns are operating. Tackling people's attitude to use of the private car and reducing even a proportion of work trips by car, is a priority. We will do this by raising awareness of reducing your dependency on the car, and encouraging the use of alternative modes of transport, especially for journeys that are made on a regular basis and of a shorter distance. This will be done in parallel with infrastructure improvements, mentioned above, which will play their part in demonstrating that alternatives to the car can be practical. Advice will be offered in support of those wishing to voluntarily develop a travel plan.
Engineering works undertaken as part of the programme of Accident Investigation and Prevention (AIP), centre around remedial measures in line with the Casualty Reduction Strategy. These works are delivered as a mix of area, route, specific sites and mass action initiatives.
Required actions within County Durham vary from the need to reduce slight casualties to those involving vulnerable road users, especially children. All actions need to be tackled to maintain the downward trends in casualty reduction achieved under LTP2. Accident reduction measures will focus on actual accident problems while working towards the national casualty reduction targets.
Providing reliable information for drivers can assist the movement of traffic by helping drivers to make better decisions themselves.
Introducing an Urban Traffic Management and Control (UTMC) database in County Durham will be of considerable benefit in helping to provide reliable journey times, reduce congestion and assist people in making more sustainable travel choices. Initially, database users will be able to compare, in real time, the difference between making a car journey as opposed to public transport or Park and Ride. Local media will be able to gain precise information on any delays or disruption and pass that information to travellers, particularly car drivers who would benefit most from more timely information. One of the outcomes would be a greater ability to cope successfully with increased visitor numbers.
The demand for travel and economic/social activity are closely linked. Land-use planning and reducing the need to travel is the most effective way to address the problem of excessive demand.
Past attempts at restraining travel have included the introduction of punitive measures without addressing the need and requirement to travel for economic and social activity. A graduated approach that makes best use of the existing infrastructure to travel will be the primary aim of demand management. This includes reducing the need and requirement to travel where possible, followed by encouraging more sustainable modes of transport, and finally the application of more punitive measures to discourage the demand for travel by private car.
Electric vehicle recharging infrastructure
For both economic and environmental reasons it is important to assist the development of the low carbon economy with which the North East is fast becoming associated. An element of this new economic outlook is looking to more sustainable travel and support for a growing market for electric vehicles in the region. As part of this, we're providing public electric vehicle recharging points to provide the essential confidence for drivers arising from 'range anxiety'.
Air quality and noise
Air quality and noise are two environmental issues that can significantly impact people's living conditions and quality of life. At no point during the two previous LTP periods has air quality been a significant issue. However, following a series of air quality assessments in Durham City revealing high levels of nitrogen dioxide (a pollutant derived from vehicle exhausts), an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) is in place, incorporating the Highgate, Milburngate and Gilesgate areas of the city, extending to Dragon Lane.
As a result of the declaration of the AQMA, further monitoring and assessment is underway which forms the basis of the developing air quality action plan that seeks to reduce the pollutant levels in this area.
Walking and cycling
Walking and cycling are the most sustainable forms of transport, contributing not only to the reduction of carbon output but also to health improvements. Investment made in routes used by walkers and cyclists under previous plans will be continued to ensure that this travel choice can be encouraged, particularly in urban areas where 'utility journeys' (going to/from school, work and to services) are likely to be more frequent.
The pedestrian network will continue to be developed and improved throughout the plan period for the benefit of all users. The provision of light-controlled pedestrian crossings will be based on a priority needs assessment. Further development and operation of the urban and rural path network will be guided by the Rights of Way Improvement Plan.
The cycle network will continue to be developed for the benefit of existing users and to attract new users. Further development and operation of the network will be guided by the County Durham Cycling Strategy.
- Travel Planning
- Travel Planning
- 03000 265 309
Our address is:
- Regeneration and Local Services
- Sustainable Transport
- County Hall
- County Durham
- United Kingdom
- DH1 5UQ
- 0191 383 4080