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Britain's public transport lags behind rest of Europe

Britain is falling shy of its European counterparts in its public transport and promotion of walking and cycling, while its roads are among the safest and cars among the cleanest.
The Commission for Integrated Transport (CfIT) hailed the UK as one of Europe's transport leaders in its latest report on transport statistics across Europe, but warned that key challenges remain.Some five years since it unveiled the first study, the CfIT has updated its findings in a report entitled Are We There Yet? A Comparison of Transport in Europe.The 2007 report shows that while the UK is sometimes seen as being behind Europe on many transport measures, it has improved since the first report was carried out. Freight tonnage is falling and is moving back to the railways, the aviation industry is booming and Britain's roads are among the safest and cleanest in Europe.However, the UK lags behind in its public transport, particularly buses and coaches, anf it needs long-term policies to promote walking and cycling, and must reduce pedestrian fatalities.Commission member Andrew Sentance, who led the working group behind the new report, said: 'In some aspects the UK leads the way - we have among the safest roads in Europe - and, while there is still more to do, we have to date been more successful than many other nations in reducing ground transport emissions. We also tend to make more efficient use of our cars and lorries. And our aviation sector is the most highly developed in Europe - although this also raises some important environmental challenges.'However, we also think that the UK could look to examples being set by other European nations in a number of areas. Despite our healthy overall record on road safety, pedestrians are more than twice as likely to be killed in the UK as in the Netherlands or Norway - a worrying trend that has persisted since our 2001 study.'We also travel less by public transport, foot and bike than many other nations. For example, each year cyclists in Denmark and the Netherlands cycle more than 10 times as far as Britons. Closing the gap could bring significant health and environmental benefits to the UK.'

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