TRANSPORT SECRETARY Alistair Darling is to appoint a multi modal studies tsar to deliver crucial schemes from the government's multi modal transport studies.
He told transport lobbyists last week that the move would boost the delivery of schemes from the studies.
'There is talk of the department restructuring, ' said one transport lobbyist. 'This could lead to the appointment of a head of regions. The new office would swallow up the government's Multi Modal Studies Unit into an enlarged, more robust directorate.'
Darling's move is understood to be in response to criticism that the government has been indecisive about choosing to go ahead with schemes recommended by the studies.
The Department for Transport has also been criticised for failing to ensure projects are delivered within the timescale of the government's 10 year transport plan.
Four of the 35 multi modal and road based studies carried out by consultants to find integrated transport solutions in large geographical areas are on Darling's desk awaiting approval. Another eight are expected to go before him by May next year.
The enlarged multi modal studies office could focus on delivering 'quick wins' throughout the country. This could include a big package of smaller projects like bus shelters, cycling and pedestrian schemes, coming out of the studies.
'He thinks smaller projects have their place and should be given more priority than they are given at the moment, ' said a lobbyist.
So far, the government has formed a Strategic Implementation Group made up of major delivery agencies such as the Highways Agency and the Strategic Rail Authority. These will work together to deliver recommendations from the Cambridge to Huntingdon study.
INFOPLUS www. dft. gov. uk