The Government’s plan to fast-track rental e-scooter trials across the UK will undermine active travel and may increase road casualties, the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) has warned.
Trials of e-scooter are due to commence later this month.
PACTS says: “From evidence and experience around the world, it is now very clear that the public benefits [of e-scooters] are illusory and the disbenefits substantial, at least in a European context.”
Most e-scooter trips were previously made by walking, cycling or public transport, or are new trips, it says.
It warns that the small wheels on e-scooters means they are “incapable of safely negotiating the ruts, potholes, and uneven surfaces of many urban streets”.
Virus a possible threat to light rail network funding
Any long-term drop in public transport demand arising from Covid-19 could upset funding arrangements for light rail network expansions, city-regions have warned.
Transport for the West Midlands said: “There are potentially challenges for us in terms of how we fund existing and new infrastructure, e.g. Metro extensions.”
Greater Manchester Combined Authority said any reduction in passenger demand “will impact the challenging growth assumptions on which the Metrolink funding plan is based”. Metrolink fare revenues help pay off the borrowing incurred for recent network expansions.
‘New structure for bus industry needed after Covid’
Local authorities and bus operators will need to forge a new relationship in the aftermath of Covid-19, according to a report by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.
It says: “Operators have to accept that greater public funding must come with greater public input to the design of and scrutiny of the product offer, whilst local authorities have to accept that franchising is not a panacea for all ills, because it does not of itself generate more funding into the system.”
Transport appraisal ‘at odds with decarbonising transport’
Transport project appraisal must be reformed to support the decarbonisation agenda, a consultant has said.
“Carbon emissions are pretty much irrelevant in the current system of transport appraisal,” said Keith Buchan, the director of skills at the Transport Planning Society, in a report submitted to the DfT. “We know what counts is the total warming impact [of CO2] between now and 2050. The measurement should, therefore, not be tonnes emitted [as now] but tonne years. This would make the reduction of CO2 now much more important.”
Recognise synergies between North’s rail projects – TfN
Transport for the North is calling for changes to major rail investment proposals in the north of England to ensure projects support rather than contradict one another.
TfN’s submission to the National Infrastructure Commission’s investigation into the rail priorities for the North and the Midlands says synergies between HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and TransPennine Upgrade are being missed because each has been planned by a different project team.
“For example, the HS2 routes into Leeds and Manchester have been designed around terminating stations, which presents significant operational challenges for NPR and TRU, which focus mainly on through services,” says TfN.
About the Author
This post was written by Andrew Forster. Andrew Forster edits the fortnightly magazine Local Transport Today, covering transport policy and practice from across the UK. To subscribe to Local Transport Today, click here.