Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Letter from the Minister

Gillian Merron MP, the Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Transport has written to the Chief Executives of all Local Authorities outlining the results from the Sustainable Travel Towns (Darlington, Peterborough and Worcester).

Our approach has been to champion smarter travel choices, and to promote individualised travel marketing, now in its third year. The results, as Gillian says, are startling;

Town Mode Impact on Trips

Darlington Public Transport + 14&
Peterborough Public Transport + 13%
Worcester Public Transport + 22%

Darlington Walking + 29%
Peterborough Walking + 21%
Worcester Walking + 17%

Darlington Cycling + 79%
Peterborough Cycling + 25%
Worcester Cycling + 36%

Darlington Car - 11%
Peterborough Car - 13%
Worcester Car - 12%

Hard evidence that the policies being pursued in Darlington are helping to cut congestion and promote transport trips which will reduce the town's carbon footprint. Across the country, local authorities are being strongly encouraged to examine how smarter choices could work for them.


miketually said...

(Of course, an increase from 1% to 1.79% of journeys being made by bike doesn't seem so dramatic...)

I think that we should see a more dramatic increase in cycling trips once the last few pieces of infrastructure slot into place.

At the moment, there is still at least one problem section on most trips made by bike.

For example, to get to the town centre from our house we have to make the decision between riding under the railway bridge on North Road or over the railway bridge on Haughton Road. Once the new foot/bike bridge is completed on Haughton Road, we won't have to make that decision.

Currently, we choose not to choose which road to ride on, by riding on the pavement (if we're pulling our child trailer - I always use the road if I'm riding on my own), but many others choose to not ride their bike.

I think the message still needs putting across more strongly that you don't need to use a car for the majority of journeys in Darlington - we've been car free for 3 1/2 weeks now, with no problems.

Darlington Councillor said...

You're right Mike. The Haughton Road cycle/foot bridge is due to be completed this year in January 2008. Work on the various options for linking the Skerne Valley path and Valley Street/the town centre are continuing.

The decision by you and your family to abandon your car is a really interesting case study - I would hope the Echo would pick up on it.

miketually said...

My wife might object a little to an Echo article. She meets a lot of Echo readers on a day-to-day basis and even me getting a letter in HAS causes lots of comment (half an hour with a Lib Dem candidate after the last one, apparently). I get to hide at work, where not so many read the paper.

Ian white, townliar.com said...

Can you explain how these figures were reached/calculated? They seem a bit guess worky.I for one have never been surveyed or anyone I know for that fact!We all know that statistics can be used in any way to the benefit of the cause you need to promote.

miketually said...

Ian, they were from a door-to-door survey carried out last year (I think). A thousand homes?

If it makes you feel any better, I've never been surveyed for this either, though I do use my bike for many more journeys now than I did when the initial survey was carried out.

We probably cancel each other out, so the survey must be accurate :)

ian White, townliar.com said...

Sorry Mike I didnt realise we were back to using "that" survey!

miketually said...

The survey carried out by the well-respected company, using the best techniques and analysis?

ian white said...

Hardly accurate knocking on a 1000 selected doors, remind me how many actual doors are in Darlington? Not really the latest and best technique in my opinion.

miketually said...

It's called sampling, it's a proper technique.

Did you see the Human Footprint programme on Channel 4 last week? They know how many pints of milk the average Britain drinks in their lifetime. No-one ever asked me.

ian white said...

You cant compare milk to cycling 99% of the population will probably use milk, but sampling just 1000 homes is not clear proof that cycling/walking has increased. I also think the area chosen will alter/reflect the figures drastically so if you wanted good figures you would pick your sample area very carefully!Which Im sure they have done.