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ICE calls for the government to get back on track with its 10 year transport plan

The ICE launches its State of the Nation report on transport today, calling for a 30-year plan to reduce national congestion.

ICE President David Orr said: "Our nation needs a vision for transport, with bold plans to enhance prosperity, to offer real choice for travellers, and to reduce car dependency.

"We need to see proposals like a step change in local public transport to make it an attractive alternative to the private car; a network of high speed rail lines to move people off the roads and reduce short haul air travel; and road user charging so that motorists see the real cost of car travel depending on location, distance and time of day."

The changes are wide-ranging and include: significant new capacity for rail services; improvement of bus services; new capacity for rail freight and short sea shipping; shifting costs from taxation to individual user journeys; integrated public transport and full information on travel options; a 30-year national strategy, delivered locally through integrated transport plans, managed by integrated transport authorities. A 10-step programme for the achievement of these objectives have been set out by ICE.

Political consensus tops the list. "One of the great advantages of a long-term transport strategy," argues the report, "is that it encourages longer term planning of infrastructure, and avoids the stop-start programming that has bedevilled the UK in recent decades." A clear political consensus on transport, runs the argument, "would provide consistency and financial stability, increasing industry confidence, speeding up delivery and allowing our transport network to grow and flourish."

The second step on the State of the Nation transport ladder is the implementation of a 30-year national transport strategy. On the subject of integrated transport authorities (ITAs), ICE welcomed the initiative but added the caveat: "In addition to handing over power, government must step back and allow ITAs to manage their own integrated transport solutions. In the context of a 30-year strategy, this method will be more effective and will avoid each authority making short-term plans without taking account of their impact on other areas."

Step four of the ICE transport plan is about keeping the public informed with the information they need to make effective use of the transport network. Faster infrastructure delivery is governed, said ICE by two critical factors: "The major scheme approval process overseen by the Department for Transport and the need to secure planning permission from the relevant authority."

Freight capacity by rail and sea are two areas which need addressing and ICE called for "investment in the capacity of the UK’s 120 commercial ports". More efficient use of existing port capacity and the creation of effective integrated transport hubs, reasoned ICE, "are key to encouraging freight off the roads and onto other forms of transport".

The report concluded with a call to link revenue and funding. ICE "suggests that a clear link between transport costs and transport funding is created, with at least a portion of the proposed money from any road user charging scheme being ploughed directly back into the transport network."

The 10-step plan:

  1. Political consensus on transport strategy

  2. A 30-year national Transport strategy

  3. Integrated transport authorities for urban areas

  4. Integrated information on journey times, cost and CO2 emissions

  5. Faster infrastructure delivery

  6. Integrated travel services and ticketing

  7. Enhanced public transport capacity and reputation

  8. Rail freight and short sea shipping capacity growth

  9. Changing public behaviour

  10. Link revenue and funding

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