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September 20, 2019

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Why Hampshire County Council does not provide for cycling

Why Hampshire County Council does not provide for cycling

HCC obviously does not believe that cycling is becoming more popular (chosen monitoring methods do not demonstrate this) and does not believe that more people would cycle if they could.  It is extremely difficult to cycle without a coherent dense cycle network designed to enable fast, direct safe routes from wherever you live to wherever you need to go –work, school, the shops.  The aim of HCC is simply to keep down their KSI (killed, seriously injured statistics) which is the ONLY way they measure safety.  Yet they like it both ways, they believe the roads are unsafe, so wherever possible they remove cyclists from the road and expect them to use short stretches of pavement.   This does not increase cycling safety, cyclists still have to use the carriageway and the pavement design is not safe either.   What it does do is prevent people cycling and make it much more convenient and safe to drive, it also removes annoying cyclists you cannot overtake safely as the road is too narrow or there are islands.

 

Government has two policies – one to increase cycling and one to decrease cycling. Which will win?

 

This is how Roger Geffen of Cycling UK explains it:

Hampshire county council  uses the predictions of DfT's National Transport Model (NTM)

 

<https://www.cyclinguk.org/category/tags/national-transport-model> as its background assumptions. It therefore assumes that motor traffic is going to increase and that cycle traffic will start falling - despite the Government's aspirations to double the number of cycling trips by 2025!

The problem is that this assumption then becomes self-fulfilling. If the overall picture is that road traffic is going to grow and cycle traffic is going to decline, then any attempt to provide cycle facilities at (say) a junction is going to be poor value for money. It will have few users, and it will reduce junction capacity for all those extra motor vehicles which will be on our roads by 2040. Cycling UK has described this as 'planning to fail'<https://www.cyclinguk.org/news/government-planning-to-fail-on-cycling>.

To be fair, DfT does now plan to revise the NTM<https://www.rand.org/randeurope/research/projects/developing-a-new-national-transport-model-for-the-uk.html> in the light of our and others' criticisms<http://nebula.wsimg.com/b694ec0d34d372b3f88d6895ecf7c225?AccessKeyId=F97BC0358FF57B78C7DB&disposition=0&alloworigin=1>. But they have been tweaking the NTM in response to criticisms since the 1970s. NTM really needs to be dismantled completely so that a new national transport model can be built to replace it. That model would need to be far better at responding to policy inputs, rather than simply predicting what is inevitably going to happen as a result of future developments in (a) economic growth (b) population levels and (c) fuel prices (these being the NTM's 3 main input variables which are assumed to influence transport demand). It is a totally fatalistic approach to modelling, which leads inevitably to the much-criticised 'predict and provide' approach to transport planning. The recent report from the Commission on Travel Demand<http://www.demand.ac.uk/commission-on-travel-demand/> has provided an excellent outline of what needs doing instead.”

 

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