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A new deal for transport: Other initiatives

A Commission for Integrated Transport will be established to provide independent advice to Government on the implementation of plans outlined in the White Paper. As well as monitoring developments across transport, environment and health the Commission is charged with refreshing the transport policy debate, fostering consensus among transport providers and identifying examples of best practice from abroad.

Local transport plans will be the centrepiece of Prescott's integrated transport proposals. Local authorities outside London will have to set out their plans for meeting road traffic reduction and pollution targets over a five year period. The plans will include investment proposals and strategies aimed at co-ordinating local transport, promoting more walking and cycling and reducing social exclusion. They will also set out 'quality partnerships' with transport operators, and proposals for road user charging and workplace parking levies.

Cleaner, faster buses are to spearhead the revival of public transport. Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has called for bus operators to spruce up stations, provide better information at bus stops, and improve access for push chairs and the disabled. Failure to meet with the new standards could mean reverting back to the days of bus regulation with the introduction of statutory 'quality contracts' on certain routes.

Powers will be given to local authorities to force bus operators to participate in multi-operator ticketing schemes and simplify fare structures. Rail and bus operators will also be encouraged to offer multi-modal through- ticketing between services.

Speed limits will be reduced to 20mph in residential streets and areas used by pedestrians and cyclists. Even lower speed limits could also be introduced in designated 'home zones' to emphasise the change in priority and improve the environment.

In the capital the Greater London Authority will be given a major transport role. The Mayor will produce a wide ranging integrated transport strategy covering land use planning and economic development issues. Through a new executive body Transport for London the mayor will manage transport services on a day-to-day basis. (NCE 5 May).

A UK airports policy looking 30 years ahead will be prepared reflecting the strategy for sustainable development and integrated transport. Plans will be put in place to improve public transport links and reduce pressure on congested airports by encouraging the re-routing of international flights to regional centres.

An integrated shipping policy will be developed to foster growth of the UK-owned merchant fleet, and improve regulatory control of UK ports and waters. The freight grant regime for both inland waterways and coastal shipping will be re-examined.

Nine 'daughter' documents will be published in the coming months to set out in detail the proposals in the White Paper:

Trunk roads policy (expected next week)

Railways policy

Bus policy

Charging policy - a consultation paper on road user and workplace parking charges

Shipping policy

Freight policy

Road safety policy

Guidance on local transport plans

eport on inland waterways

Three regional road traffic control centres and a new national transport information database were proposed. The centres will be developed under public-private partnerships to co-ordinate information from 26 police control centres. Real time route guidance systems are expected to be the first major development. Alongside the high-tech systems to help cars, are plans to develop a national integrated journey timetable. 'Our aim is for a public transport information system to be systematically extended across the country by 2000'.

'A new deal for transport: a better deal for everyone' is available from The Stationery Office priced £16.50

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