Category Archives: West of England CA

WECA Head of Transport, walking and cycling not needed

Before attending WECA meeting today to do my speech (WECA 18 April March 2018 pdf) on behalf of Cycle Bath and Bristol Cycle Campaign, somebody made me aware that the West of England Combined Authority is looking for a Head of Transport. Within the job specification document the key responsibilities listed are:

  • Manage the Transport Team of the West of England Combined Authority.
  • Manage and lead on the strategic transport functions of the West of England Combined Authority including the Joint Local Transport Plan, Bus Strategy, Key Route Network and Major Transport Scheme programme and other transport projects and initiatives that arise.
  • Manage the West of England Combined Authority’s Integrated Transport Authority functions for concessionary travel, bus information, community transport and supported bus services, clean air zones and transitional arrangements with the constituent councils
  • Monitor and manage spend from the West of England Combined Authority’s transport budgets.
  • Lead and co-ordinate the development, adoption and enactment of transport policies and schemes that assist the West of England Combined Authority in making best use of its capital and revenue resources including the West of England Investment Fund.
  • Develop the future role of the West of England Combined Authority in taking on responsibility for new transport powers and functions.
  • Provide strategic transport advice to the Mayor and the constituent councils on transport and planning functions.
  • Provide a lead role in joint working with the constituent councils on developing and delivering transport schemes including leading on bids to Government and other agencies to maximise investment in the area.
  • Promote the role of the West of England Combined Authority as a transport authority.
  • Engage with a range of stakeholders including Network Rail, Highways England, bus and rail operators.

Continue reading WECA Head of Transport, walking and cycling not needed

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Where the **** is our Cycling and Walking Tsar?

Chris Boardman is Greater Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Tsar appointed by Metro Mayor Andy Burnham. Andy has been a Metro Mayor for almost 1 year. West of England’s Metro Mayor Tim Bowles has also been in the role for almost 1 year.

I am utterly disappointed with Tim Bowles. He appears to be way over his head and has no idea what he’s doing with transport. Casual observers might think he is utterly obsessed with junction 18A of the M4 or any scheme as long as it appears to make it better for motorised vehicles.

Continue reading Where the **** is our Cycling and Walking Tsar?

21 March 2018 / West of England Combined Authority Overview and Scrutiny Committee

My talk to the WECA Overview and Scrutiny Committee to be presented at the Guildhall, tomorrow, the 21st of March at 10:30am.

Just for reference this is how the Joint Spatial Transport Plan intended to allocate funding:

screen-shot-2016-12-18-at-11-22-01

Think about it. 61% of all car commuters in Bath and Bristol live within a 20 minute easy electric bike ride of work yet only 5% of the planned budget is to be spent on walking AND cycling.

Enjoy 😉

============

I am speaking on behalf of Cycle Bath and Bristol Cycling Campaign both of which actively campaign for better cycling infrastructure. As a software engineer and data scientist I have been able to leverage my skills to analyse the Census 2011 WU03EW “Location of usual residence and place of work by method of travel to work” data set. I can tell you that of the 153,623(125,908+27,715) Bristol and Bath car commuters, 18.9% [28,989 (24,396+4,593)] live within a 20 minute walk of work, 42.1% [64,678(56,277+8,401)] live within a 20 minute cycle of work, and 61.7% [94,800(83072+11728)] live within a 20 minute electric bike ride of work.

I have already had a meeting last year with Mayor Tim Bowles to emphasise these statistics, highlighting the work Transport For London are doing around Strategic Cycling Analysis (http://content.tfl.gov.uk/strategic-cycling-analysis.pdf) as well as presenting the www.pct.bike and www.cyipt.bike tools, both of which have been funded by the DfT.

Transport For London recently stated that cycle lanes move 5 times as many people per square metre as car lanes. A single bi-directional protected cycle lane is the equivalent of installing a 5 lane motorway through a city. The investment in gold standard cycle infrastructure in the City of London has resulted in the majority of traffic on the roads now being people cycling.

On top of this we have estimates that congestion is costing Bath and Bristol businesses £55 million per year and costing individuals residents upwards of £1,500 per year in time and costs. We’re talking congestion costs reaching almost £300 million per year across Bath and Bristol, and god knows what costs the NHS are incurring due to air pollution and obesity.

Yet WECA transport policy seems to be simply about junction 18A of the M4, buses, and trains. There is no recognition that walking and cycling play any role in tackling congestion. Unlike other regional mayors, there is no dedicated cycling commissioner. Funding for cycling has been bundled with walking, and combined, is only 5% of the budget, or a paltry £400m. The Greater Manchester Mayor has committed to invest £1.5 BILLION in cycling alone. If WECA did the same per head of population it would be £500M on cycling alone.

Cycling as a form of transport offers significant benefits to tackling congestion and improving public health. The Mayor can tackle congestion cheaply by simply identifying all Key Road Network routes where significant numbers are travelling to work by car that could travel to work by bicycle in under 20 minutes and prioritise the building of good separate protected space for walking, cycling, and driving along these routes over the provision of on-street parking.

When will WECA get serious about tackling congestion and improving the health of the population? Where is WECA’s cycling vision? Where is our Cycling Commissioner? Where is our Chris Boardman? Where is the commitment from WECA to deliver healthy streets? Why does the mayor seem obsessed with cars, buses and trains, when 60% of workers live within an easy electric bike ride of work? And while we’re at it, where’s the identification of key cycle routes to schools with upwards of 30% of rush hour traffic being the school run? Why is WECA’s transport policies not answerable to Public Health? Why is there nobody from the NHS invited to be involved in defining transport policy?

We are almost one year into Mayor Tim Bowles term in office and cycling simply does not seem to register on his radar as a solution for tackling congestion and improving the health of the population. I can only compare his progress to that of other Mayors and currently it feels glacial and very timid when looking at what other Mayors are achieving.

Working with the Metro Mayor on an evidence based approach to investing in cycling

Last night I was able to meet Mayor Tim Bowles and Cllr Tim Warren. I was able to discuss the use of cycle infrastructure as a strategic tool to tackle congestion on the West of England’s Key Road Network as well as present a proposal on how this could be achieved at a national level. I also presented with this document, an edited version of this article.

We discussed setting up MetroCycle, a body on equal footing to MetroRail and MetroBus.  There was little appetite for this. I suspect this is a no go for now.

We also discussed the importance of electric bikes at lowering the barriers to people cycling and how bike hire schemes (e.g. NextBike) really need to upgrade their systems to only use these. Exeter was highlighted as a great example where hire of bikes and particularly travelling to specific high elevation stations is not a problem.

During the meeting this quote was made, and I think it is rather appropriate for what is being proposed.

“In God we trust, all others bring data.” – W. Edwards Demming

What I would say is that this proposal is not *easy*, but if this comes off, the DfT, Combined Authorities, and Local Authorities will have a tool that allows them to use cycle infrastructure to target congestion and get more people cycling to work or to school.

Tim Bowles ask me to do a write-up of the High Return On Investment Routes proposal which I have copied below.

Note that the write-up focuses on the key remit of the Mayor, to tackle congestion. It is a given that tackling congestion by using cycling as a strategic tool provides health benefits through physical and mental well being and reduction in air pollution.


Hi Tim,
Apologies for the long write-up. Not quite the bulleted list you wanted.

The Problem: 

The way we deliver cycle infrastructure is based upon anecdotal evidence and asking people where they want to cycle. This usually delivers ‘nice’ leisure routes or improves infrastructure along existing routes where people are already cycling.
The Solution:
An evidence based approach to identifying High Return On Investment Routes on the Key Road Network enables West of England Combined Authority to utilise cycling as a strategic tool to tackle congestion while delivering significant modal shift from commuting by car to commuting by bicycle.
The Implementation:
  • Create the High Potential Modal Shift Network Map:
    • Use topography to calculate distance calculations equivalent to cycling 20 minutes/and or 20 minutes on an eBike.
    • Use Census 2011 Travel to Work Flow Data (WU03EW) at LSOA area filtered by “only commute to work by car or as car passenger” and “residence within 20 minute cycle/eBike ride of work”
    • Use DfT Traffic Counts for the road network to identify high volume roads.
    • Use School locations on or within (500m) of high traffic counts roads, recognising role of the school run in congestion.
  • Create the High Return On Investment Network Map:
    • Combine the High Potential Modal Shift Network Map with the Propensity To Cycle Network Map available through the DfT sponsored www.pct.bike/m/?r=avon
  • Identify High Return On Investment Routes:
    • Overlay the WECA Key Road Network Map onto the High Return On Investment Network Map to identify routes where investment in cycle infrastructure would have highest impact on congestion.
Suggested way forward:
The team behind the Propensity to Cycle Tool should be engaged via the DfT to expand their work to deliver both the High Potential Modal Shift Network and the combined High Return On Investment Network.
This would enable WECA to overlay the Key Road Network Map onto the High ROI Network Map and identify key investment opportunities within WECA that will significantly tackle congestion. Local Authorities should also be able to leverage this HROI network map to tackle congestion on their road networks.
Further the HROI Network should be something the DfT should take very seriously and provide funding to LAs and CAs to implement cycle infrastructure.
I hope this helps clarify my proposal. It was good meeting you. If you need anything further don’t hesitate to ask.
Regards,
Adam Reynolds