Headlines: November 16th, 1998

The ‘what matters is what works’ ethos has moved into the Government’s thinking on travel, with the announcement of more money and more freedom for local councils to tackle localised transport problems in ways that best suit their areas.Transport Minister John Reid says local transport plans will be the cornerstone of delivering the Government’s New Deal for Transport.

Dr Reid has set out draft proposals and asked local authorities to work with the Government to deliver what he called a radical shift in transport thinking.

Dr Reid said: “Our draft guidance on local transport plans begins to put the flesh on the bones and sets out how our aim of seamless travel can become a reality.”

His comments come as the DETR published new information on the travel habits of people in Great Britain.

Focus on Personal Transport has used data from the National Travel Survey to find that the average person travels 6,666 miles each year, an increase of nearly a half since the early 1970s. Over three-quarters of the total distance we travel is by car. Car use is still increasing, but we are walking less and travel on buses outside London is still declining. Rail use has remained almost constant. Taxi and minicab use has increased, and for long journeys within Great Britain, the use of air travel is growing.

The new local transport plans will want to take on board that twenty-eight per cent of journeys are under one mile long, and though 80 per cent of these are made on foot, the proportion made by car is increasing.